Well folks its that time of year again were every hockey fan and or Canadian gets a extra spring in their step with the NHL playoffs starting this coming Wednesday on April 11th and with the season ending tonight we now know who is going to face who in the first round.
So with that said lets take a look at who faces who and who I, in my infinite wisdom, think will win each series. First off lets check out The Eastern Division.
(1) New York Rangers vs. (8) Ottawa Senators
The Senators really found their footing after a really crappy first half of the season but with The Rangers have been a force all year long, they finished first in The Eastern Division and are runners up to The Presidents Trophy. In short this is the Rangers series to lose.
My Prediction: New York Rangers in 4 games.
(2) Boston Bruins vs. (7) Washington Capitals
The Bruins are the defending Stanly Cup Champions but you wouldn't really know that with their streaky play this season. It seems as though they were either hot or cold with no in between. The Capitals might of just squeaked into the playoffs but they are still a solid team who have seems to hit their stride a little more as of late. Fortunately for The Bruins Alexander Ovechkin, The Capitals top player, has like them been either hot or cold this season.
My Prediction: Boston Bruins in 6 games.
(3) Florida Panthers vs. (6) New Jersey Devils
The Panthers have been very impressive and have had a breakout year not only making it into the post season for the first time in 12 years. Like a few other teams this year The Devils started out pretty bad but have since found their groove and are the team entering the playoffs with the best winning streak with 6 wins in a row. It might of been a great year for the Panthers but I think The Devils will get their due in this series.
My Prediction: New Jersey Devils in 7 games.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers
Its the battle for Pennsylvania with two damn fine hockey teams going at it. The Pens are stronger then ever now that Sidney Crosby is back and even without their marquee player have a powerhouse team with the likes of this years Art Ross winner Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal to name a few. The Flyers have are no slouches either with the likes of former Penguin Jaromir Jagr and Claude Giroux. The Flyers however have had a lot of injuries right now and are going to be fighting a uphill battle against The Penguins.
My Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins in 5 games.
Well that does it for the Eastern Division, now lets take a look at the Western division.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Los Angeles Kings
The Vancouver Canucks are The President Trophy winners for the second year in a row and that automatically makes them one of the favorites to win The Stanley Cup. That said The Kings are a scrappy team that are capable of a major upset. That said much like with The Rangers vs. Senators series this one is very much The Canucks series to lose.
My Prediction: Vancouver Canucks in 5 games.
(2) St. Louis Blues vs. (7) San Jose Sharks
Much like with the Florida Panthers who would of ever guessed when this season started that The St. Louis Blues would of been so damn good this year. The usually strong Sharks have taken a bit of a nose dive this year and just barely made the playoffs where as The Blues finished 3rd in the league in no small part to the amazing goaltending combo of Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak. In short The Sharks have a very hard road ahead of them.
My Prediction: St. Louis Blues in 4 games.
(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (6) Chicago Blackhawks
The Coyotes has been the Cinderella team that always just makes it into the playoffs who's story are always cut short when they make it to the playoffs. After winning The Stanley Cup a few years ago The Blackhawks have lost a step. Although they are still a very good team they don't seem to have that killer instinct anymore. The Coyotes on the other hand are a team with a lot to prove and I think this will be the first time since The Coyotes win a series in the post season since waaaay back in 1987 dating back to their days as the old Winnipeg Jets.
My Prediction: The Phoenix Coyotes in 7 games.
(4) Nashville Predators vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings
The Nashville Predators is a team that seems like it shouldn't succeed. The market doesn't seem like it would embrace hockey but they very much have and the team has responded by getting better and better every season. The Red Wings are the old guard. They are always a threat to win The Stanley Cup and with their 21st straight post season appearance in a row they are never to be taken lightly. That said I think that this will be the most hard fought series of the opening round but I think in the end the new guard just beats out the old guard.
My Prediction: Nashville Predators in 7 games.
So these are my predictions and I know a lot of you are probally thinking that I'm playing it safe picking only one lower seeded team to win, with The Devils beating the Panthers which can't even be seen as a upset anyways since The Devils finished ahead of The Panthers in points but I never intended to that is just my thoughts and I'm know I won't get them all right there are bound to be a couple of upsets and I welcome them.
Also for those wondering here's my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final. I think The Pittsburgh Penguins will defeat The Nashville Predators in 6 games. Well what does everyone else think? What are your predictions?