Eastern Conference picks:
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 New York Rangers. The pick: Capitals in 6.
I’m a lifelong Rangers fan, and for some reason the Caps have always given the Rangers fits, at least when I watched them, and especially during the playoffs. I just can’t see the Rangers, beating the Caps, not while they are missing the heart of the team, Ryan Callahan.
#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #7 Buffalo Sabres. The pick: Sabres in 7.
Call it a feeling, call it a hunch. The Flyers will be less of a power against Ryan Miller and the Sabres without Chris Pronger, and even if he comes back less than 100%, he won’t be the determining factor he would otherwise be. Giroux and Briere won’t be enough to get the Flyers out of this round.
#3 Boston Bruins vs. #6 Montreal Canadiens. The Pick: Bruins in 5.
The Bruins are a very good team. The Canadiens are a very good team. With a major flaw. Carey Price, the young man has played a lot, and it showed at the end of the year. He got lit up for 4 or more goals in 4 games in March leading up to the playoffs. Put that up against the numbers that Tim Thomas has been tossing out there this season, and you have the makings of a first round blowout of the Canadiens by the Bruins.
# 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning. The Pick: Penguins in 7.
The Lightning showed a lot of strength this year, hitting the 100 point mark, when only 2 years ago they were 10 games under .500 and a 66 point team, and last year they were a .500 80 point team. They have improved dramatically. And what do they get for their trouble? The Penguins, a power house even without Sid the Kid. And the kid will play in this series, even though he’ll miss the opener. Lightning’ll play them tough, but there won’t be enough.
Western Conference picks:
Seriously. The Blackhawks, defending Stanley Cup Champs though they are, are not the team that made that magical run last year. And the Canucks are hands down the best team in the league this year. I’m being generous making this 6 games, I could just as easily go 4 here.
#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Los Angeles Kings. The Pick: Sharks in 5.
The Kings are short Anze Kopitar, their star forward, and Justin Williams is Questionable at this point. Antii Niemi is hotter’n hell at this point, 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts. Put the two together and you get yourself a quick exit by the Kings.
#3 Detroit Red Wings vs. #6 Phoenix Coyotes. The Pick: Red Wings in 6.
The Wings are one of the best teams in the league. The coyotes are a very good team. There are a ton of very good teams in the NHL, but only a few are strong enough, offensively and defensively, to handle the Wings. The Coyotes are not one of them. They’ll stick with them for a bit, but they can’t beat’em.
#4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Nashville Predators. The Pick: Predators in 7.
Pekka Rinne, The Preds goalie is 11-3 in his last 14 games. Jonas Hiller has not been nearly as good, but his offense has been doing the job covering the slack he has left. I think that offense, good though it is, won’t be enough to beat a better defensive Predators team.
That’s it from here, America. G’night!