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:

Eastern Conference

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.
Defense: Push.
Goaltending: Push.
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.
Defense: Push.
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
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Western Conference

1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 8. Los Angeles Kings

Offense: Advantage Vancouver.
Defense: Advantage Los Angeles.
Goaltending: Push.
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

Offense: Push.
Defense: Push.
Goaltending: Push.
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

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Author: Joe Cook

NHL Playoffs Round 1

Goals, fights, blocked shots, broken noses, lost teeth, bruises, collisions, speed, sacrifice, determination. All of these things and more are what people think of when they hear the words “the NHL playoffs”. I know that I, along with many others, are very excited to see the playoffs start and just wanted to give a quick rundown of the matchup and who will win.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1 New York Rangers v.s. 8 Ottawa Senators

RANGERS in 4. Clean sweep for the rangers here. Basically Ottawa is garbage and found themselves to be a little bit better than the bottom of the barrel in the East. New York will take it to the Sens early and often, won’t be a very entertaining series.

2 Boston Bruins v.s. 7 Washington Capitals

BRUINS in 5. This series is very simple to explain. Bruins have Tim Thomas and Washington has Holtby, Neuvirth, and a banged up Vokoun. Enough said. Next!

3 Florida Panthers v.s. New Jersey Devils

DEVILS in 6. Brodeur plays great and leads the devils to the 2nd round. It’s not like there are enough Florida Panther fans that care anyway.

4 Pittsburgh Penguins v.s. 5 Philadelphia Flyers

PENGUINS in 6. Should be the best series to watch along with the wings-preds. Although I hate to see cindy crybaby win, I don’t see Philly taking this one. Pens have too much talent. However it will be fun to watch this rivalry possibly taken to a whole new level in this series.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1 Vancouver Canucks v.s. 8 Los Angeles Kings

CANUCKS in 5. Canucks will choke, but not yet. Canucks are too good offensively, defensively, and in the goaltending department. That usually adds up to a series win.

2 St. Louis Blues v.s. 7 San Jose Sharks

SHARKS in 7. This will be a fun one to watch. Youth versus experience. The sharks offense will show up and Niemi will play great. They will sneak by the blues with my biggest upset in the first round.

3 Phoenix Coyotes v.s. 6 Chicago Blackhawks

BLACKHAWKS in 5. Another upset in the works here. Although it’s not really an upset at all to me. The firepower the hawks possess is undeniable. They will take this series from a very overrated Coyotes team. The hawks are a playoff performing team, the coyotes are not.

4 Nashville Predators v.s. 5 Detroit Red Wings

PREDATORS in 7 (even though i’m rooting for the wings). The best for last. Everyone will have their eyes on this series. Can the predators finally take the next step after the moves they have made? Or is this the same predators team who will fall flat on their face and let the almighty wings take this series from them? I believe this is Nashville’s time. They have home ice, which kills the wings chances. They have built a team now that will quite possibly be as good as it will ever become. Predators and Rinne get by the wings in 7 and make a deep playoff run this year. Give Barry Trotz the coach of the year award and David Poile the GM of the year award. Both have done a great job with this team.

BRING ON THE HATE  WINGS FANS!!