So the day is finally here and the puck drops on the greatest two month tournament in the world of sports. Time to pull out the Preds jersey and get ready for our first round match against ...
Oh right, I forgot. We're on the sidelines watching. As a consolation prize, we got to participate in the greatest thirty minutes of nothing broadcast ever where they announced the draft lottery picks and nothing changed. What a bunch of hype over nothing.
Anyway, here's our picks...
Buddy's Very Sterile 500 Word Synopsis
Wednesday marks the beginning of two months of pure nirvana for hockey fans everywhere as the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway. In spite of the Predators being out of the playoffs for the first time since 2003, I am excited to watch the other sixteen teams go through four rounds of best of seven competition.
The first round offers very attractive match ups with four games on most nights over the next two weeks for your viewing pleasure. I will be surprised if there are any sweeps in this year’s opening match-ups. Here are my predictions for the first round going.
Starting in the East, Montreal (8) will close out the celebration of its 100 years of hockey on a sour note when they lose to Boston (1) in five games. Boston is superior in every aspect of the game and should have little trouble with the Canadians whose season was not what they had planned.
Washington (2) will overcome its questionable goaltending to dispatch New York (7) in five games. The best bet here is that Sean Avery will create controversy but it will have little effect with the superior Capitols team moving swiftly to round two.
The higher ranked New Jersey Devils (3) will continue their recent slide and lose to the red hot Carolina Hurricanes (6) in six games. It is sad that Marty Brodeur fought back from injury to have the Devils season come to an early conclusion.
The toughest series in the East will feature the cross-state rivalry of Pittsburgh (4) and Philadelphia (5). I’m not sold on Fleury in goal for the Pens but Sidney Crosby’s trade deadline acquired line-mates should help him lead the team to victory in seven games.
In the West, the California rivalry between San Jose (1) and Anaheim (8) should be a close series. If the Ducks play as they are capable, they will push the Sharks to seven games when San Jose will win on home ice.
In a match-up of divisional rivals, Detroit (2) and Columbus (7) will be closer than it would look on paper. Rookie Steve Mason will keep the Blue Jackets close but, the Wings will prevail in game seven.
St Louis (6), the Cinderella team of this year’s playoffs, will play Vancouver (3), who is a team that can go deep in the playoffs if they play up to their potential. The Blues likely have played their best hockey down the stretch and will have little left to resist the Canuck attack. Vancouver will win in a short five game series.
Finally, Calgary (4) has struggled down the stretch, while Chicago (5) has played very well since settling on Khabibulin in net. Six weeks ago, I had written Chicago off but now with improved play, they should be able to move to round two after five games.
Jackson's Less Stuffy Picks
Boston - Montreal: Boston in 7. Boston is done fooling around and really needs to make it past the first round.
Washington - NY Rangers: NYR in 6. "I just get that feeling"...(Office Space)
New Jersey - Carolina: New Jersey in 7. Lots of people are talking about how New Jersey has fallen off the map and will get blown out in this series. I think New Jersey has got it in them to make a comeback.
Philly - Pitts: Pittsburgh in 6. I've heard even Philly fans doubting the Flyers.
San Jose - Anaheim: San Jose in 5. It's time for San Jose to cut the crap and get down to business. Before they can leap that 2nd round obstacle, they must get past the 1st.
Detroit - Columbus: Detroit in 5. Columbus just doesn't match up with Detroit at all.
Vancouver - St. Louis: Iffy on this one. St. Louis has been on a roll and I think it really comes down to Roberto Luongo and Chris Mason as to who will go into the next round. Personally, I'm pulling for the Blues, but I'm picking the Nooks in 6.
Calgary - Chicago: Chicago in 5. Kipprusoff has fallen off the world in the last month of play. Chicago has really pulled out the mojo down the stretch.
Well there it is! Jackson beat me in picking which sixteen teams would make the playoffs (he got 12, I got 11) so now this is my chance to make a comeback. Within a couple of weeks we'll know for sure.
Buddy and Jackson Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass