Capitals – Rangers
On paper this prediction makes me crazy. And to be honest I jumped back and forth with this one. The Caps had the better season. But the Caps always have the better season and are yet to perform at that level in the post. The Rangers work harder and are used to fighting for their lives. Just like Montreal last year, that type of gumption and unrelenting fortitude will undo the Dirty Russian and the rest of the Caps.
Rangers take it in 7
Flyers – Sabres
Flyers will murder the Sabres. They’ve got more talent and experience. Not that I care either way, which is why this synopsis is so short. I refuse to care about the Flyers. I’m hoping if I ignore them, they will go away. (Yes, I’m a 12 year old).
Flyers take it in 4
Bruins – Canadiens
This one is hard for me. According to my Hab-obsessed fiancé, the Canadiens have only fallen to the Bruins 7 of the 24 times they’ve met in playoffs. But my burning concern is Carey Price. He’s been known to turtle under pressure and Halak is not there to save him, or the team when they start slow like they tend to do. But I will throw caution and fear to the wind and go with my fiancé and my other Habs guru – my dad. My dad says Habs in 5 so I say Habs in 5. Let’s hope father knows best.
Canadiens take it in 5
Penguins – Lightning
This one is probably the biggest guess of all, theoretically. The two teams have never met in playoffs before. I know some people are saying it’ll be Lightning because Stamkos and Lecavalier aren’t playing against Crosby or Malkin. But they ARE playing Kennedy and Staal. Talbot and Kunitz and most importantly Marc-Andre Fleury. Penguins have shown all year that they don’t hang their hope on The Kid and Russian Frankenstein and that won’t change in post. They’ll grind and dig and shoot and push and Flower will stand on his adorable French Canadian head.
Penguins take it in 6
Canucks – Blackhawks
First things first, if this was a shirtless player competition, Kesler would annihilate Kane. (See photographic evidence to the right) But since it’s not I have to use different logic and here it is: Canucks aren’t the team they were in previous years – they’re better. On top of that, and maybe more importantly – Hawks are not the same team. Sure they still have Kane and Toews but gone is they’re giant, annoying secret weapon against the Canucks – Dustin Byfuglien. Sure they’ll stick the next fattest person they have in Lu’s face but Lu has tweaked his style, sitting back farther in his crease. Most importantly, the Vancouver Canucks’ mindset is a very different beast this year. Canucks come back from behind, push through bad losses and never give up until the final buzzer. The Hawks, without head games and big fat Buff, won’t threepeat raining on our parade.
Canucks take it (finally!) in 5
Sharks – Kings
This one is simple for me. Sharks all the way. Although they do, like clockwork meltdown at some point in the playoffs, it won’t be against the Kings. The Kings have raw talent in Quick, Doughty, Simmonds and Stoll but the key word is “raw”. LA won’t have the emotional aptitude to be a real threat to a bunch of veterans who are no strangers to this dogfight.
Sharks take it in 4
Red Wings – Coyotes
I want the Coyotes to win this. But they won’t. The Wings have age as both an asset and a deficit. It means they’re like to suffer injury and exhaustion before other teams, but it also means they’re players play smarter than a team stack with youngins’ like the Yotes. Although Coyotes will put up a might good fight because they are young and tough and because they’ve played the Wings in playoffs before. But in the end, even without Zetterberg, the Wings will prevail.
Wings take it in 6.
Predators – Ducks
This is the hardest match-up in the West for me to predict. The Predators are a defensive wall. They shut down and wear down their opponents. The big question is will they be able to do that to Corey Perry, one of the hottest streaking scorers in the league? I say yes. Barely but yes.
Preds take it in 7