2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Begin
Washington with a late pushed grabbed the number one seed in the East. And unlike last year, New York Rangers won their last game and the last playoff spot in the East. Washington has developed into a well rounded team this year. Although the team was not leaders in scoring, power play, or points this year, they found ways to be prepared to win in the playoffs. I see the Captials winning in 6 games.
In reversal of last year, Philadelphia was a top of the East until a recent skid saw the team finish with the number 2 seed. Buffalo’s Ryan Miller got hurt towards the end of the year, but the Sabers found ways to secure a playoff spot. With the Flyers missing Chris Pronger, I feel that this could a upset in the making. Sabers in 6 games.
These are two original Six teams which do not like each other. Although Montreal won the season series 4-2, they sure do not look like the Canadiens team who have own the Bruins in the playoffs. Matter of fact, they have not looked like a good Canadien team against the Bruins the last two meetings. With Tim Thomas having a rebound season, the Bruins are going win this series in 4 games.
In this 4 vs 5 matchup, it is difficult to pick someone to win. The Penguins have played through much adversity this year that they could be a difficult team to beat with Sindey Crosby. But, the Lightning under General Manager Steve Yzerman have come together to become a strong contender this year. But, with recent playoff experience, the Pen will pull out the series in 7 games.
A rematch of last year’s Conference Semi-Finals, the Canucks are due to win this series. Although a Blackhawk fan, I would agree that Canucks are the best team in the league and will win this series. But being the best during the regular season does not guarantee results in the playoffs. The Hawks are not the same team last year and may not be able to pull out the same results 3 years in row. In the end, the Hawks will give the Canucks trouble, but Vancouver will pervail in 6 games.
This should be an interesting series in the West involve 2 of 3 California teams in the playoffs. The Sharks have last year’s winning goaltender, Antti Niemi, in net as well as two scoring lines and solid defense. The Kings are one of the best young teams in the West. Although I have not seen these two teams on TV this year, another 7 games series will occur in the West with the Sharks winning it.
In another rematch from last season, this could mean different results for these two teams. Although the Red Wings won the Central Division, they have not been consistent on the ice this season. Injuries have plagued them and missing two key players could put the Wings in the hole early. The Coyotes are another young team who are hungry to show their fans some great playoff hockey. This series will go 7 as well, and Coyotes will be the second upset team in the quarterfinals.
In a match up of two teams nobody wanted to play in the first round, somebody is going to advance. The Ducks have the best goal scorer in Correy Perry, however, goaltending may be suspect in Anaheim. But, Nashville have one of the biggest goaltenders in the league and looking to win their first playoff series in franchise history. With a team effort, the Predators owned the Ducks in the regular season. I see the trend continuing with Predators winning in 6 games.