My Foray into the NHL Playoffs
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know as much about hockey as I’d like to, nor do I know as much about the sport now as I did 10 years ago, when I was a pretty hardcore Wings fan and (roller) hockey player. That’s not going to stop me from trying to outsmart and out-pick the hockey heavyweights (Walker and Hunter) here at Put Away the Whistle. I’ve been paying attention, so here goes my best effort:
1. New York Rangers vs 8. Ottawa Senators
Offense: Advantage Ottawa.
Defense: Advantage New York.
Goaltending: Advantage New York.
Power Play: Advantage Ottawa.
Penalty Kill: Advantage New York.
I guess we’re about to find out if the Rangers are as real as the 1-seed might indicate. Ottawa possesses decent scoring ability between Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Milan Michalek. However, they can’t play defense to save their collective lives, so go ahead and give me…
Rangers in 6
2. Boston Bruins vs 7. Washington Capitals
Offense: Advantage Boston.
Defense: Advantage Boston.
Goaltending: Advantage Boston.
Power Play: Push.
Penalty Kill: Advantage Boston.
Ovie has really fallen off this year, only managing to scrap together 65 points this season. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not awful; however, it is disappointing for a player of his caliber. Tim Thomas is, in fact, a boss, and I believe the Bruins are capable of admirably defending their title from last season. I’ve got…
Bruins in 5
3. Florida Panthers vs. 6. New Jersey Devils
Offense: Advantage New Jersey.
Power Play: Advantage Florida.
Penalty Kill: Advantage New Jersey.
I can’t believe in Florida when they have Jose Theodore in net; I also can’t believe in Florida when they don’t really have any particularly dynamic goal scorers. Thus, by default, give me…
Devils in 6
4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs 5. Philadelphia Flyers
Offense: Slight Advantage Pittsburgh.
Goaltending: Advantage Pittsburgh.
Power Play: Push.
Penalty Kill: Advantage Pittsburgh.
I’ll channel my inner Mugatu – Bryzgalov is SO HOT right now. The guy was 11-3-1 in the final month of the season, with four shutouts and a .939 save percentage. The bad news for him and his Flyer brethren is that they’re going up against the highest-scoring team in the NHL in the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’ll take…
Penguins in 5
1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 8. Los Angeles Kings
Offense: Advantage Vancouver.
Defense: Advantage Los Angeles.
Power Play: Advantage Vancouver.
Penalty Kill: Push.
It’s hard to pick against the Sedin twins; however, Daniel’s recovery from the concussion he suffered in March has made me second-guess the confidence I had in this pick. Jonathan Quick’s tremendous ability to keep the puck out of the net made me third-guess my second-guess. In the end, by the smallest of margins, I’m gonna pick…
Canucks in 7
2. St. Louis Blues vs. 7. San Jose Sharks
Offense: Advantage San Jose.
Defense: Advantage St. Louis.
Goaltending: Advantage St. Louis.
Power Play: Advantage San Jose.
Penalty Kill: Advantage St. Louis.
When you have a goaltending pair like Halak and Elliott, you have to feel pretty good about your chances in the playoffs. However, St. Louis has had some trouble scoring against good teams this season. Nonetheless, the Blues need to be careful, because you never know when douche-of-a-captain Joe Thornton is gonna take a few more pathetic dives like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=defOE1Ewxsk. What a Nancy; I can’t pick any team he captains, so I guess that means…
Blues in 7
3. Pheonix Coyotes vs. 6. Chicago Blackhawks
Offense: Advantage Chicago.
Defense: Advantage Phoenix.
Goaltending: Advantage Phoenix.
Power Play: Advantage Chicago.
Penalty Kill: Advantage Phoenix.
The Blackhawks have the second worst goals against mark of all playoff teams, which is scary. However, they combat that problem with some great offensive firepower in the form of Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews. That being said, I think that Mike Smith is the difference-maker in a very competitive series. I’m gonna pick…
Coyotes in 7
4. Nashville Predators vs. 5. Detroit Red Wings
Power Play: Advantage Nashville.
Penalty Kill: Advantage Nashville.
I hate to say it, but the Wings are old and haven’t been able to win consistently on the road this season. Pekka Rinne is a monster in the net, but I think it’s actually special teams that makes the difference in this series. Thus, I have…
Predators in 7
Author: Joe Cook