Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 NHL Playoff Preditions: Round 1

This year, the NHL has a few new faces in the playoffs. Columbus and St. Louis have turned things around. They need to look good for their fan bases. I also noticed that a few old faces didn't make the cut this year too. Colorado really tanked it. Anyway, here is my predictions for round 1. Oh, and I got some help with my predictions this year. Rinkotology.org (from those fine folks over at The Pens Blog) are also helping out the Mario Lemieux Foundation. You can get a view of the whole bracket at the bottom of this blog. Lastly, a shout out to m'bud, Wes who is going for another championship and did his own prediction blog over at his Cabana.

Western Conference

San Jose v. Anaheim

The Ducks were lucky just to make it in at the 8th spot. Now they face a Sharks team that is so hungry to obliterate their choking stigma. Look for Nabokov to have a great series. Also, look for Pronger to get suspended as his physicality always gets incontrollable.

Prediction: Sharks in 4

Vancouver vs St. Louis

Seriously? the Blues are in the playoffs? Weren't they terrible just a season ago? Even when I couldn't name the starting goaltender for the Blues, I am glad that a fresh face made it into the playoffs this season. Jack Johnson should be talked about and Vancouver wants to show their fanbase that they are worthy of being the dark horse for the Stanely Cup finals. Be aware that the ultimate Slovak Pavol Demitra and the slick Swede Mats Sundin were acquired to get the Canucks out of the mediocrity pool. I smell an upset.

Prediction: St. Louis in 6

Detroit vs. Columbus

Another fresh faced team is the Blue Jackets who had to win to prove to their Columbus fans that it was worth coming to their games. I hope the city embraces the Blue Jackets more as it is a really great city for the NHL to be in. Rick Nash may weigh his free agency options, but lets see if he can stick it to the defending champions first. Detroit will just pick apart a rookie goaltender and park themselves in front of the net for many garbage goals.

Prediction: Detroit in 5

Chicago vs Calgary

Chicago is another legacy franchise that needs playoff experience for their young stars Toews and Kane. Their goaltending have been consistent and I bet the Capitals wished they didn't let Huet go. Calgary wants Iginla to win a Stanley Cup in his career, but the window on that is closing with each passing season. Look for the young Hawks to out hustle the Flames.
Prediction: Chicago in 7

Eastern Conference

Montreal v. Boston

Again? But then that is what shapes rivalries. Look for Montreal to play for the pride of their 100th year. To fade out like this at the end of the year means they might cost their GM/Coach his job. Boston has done well rebuilding so quickly. Look for Recchi to lead a scrappy Boston team that will out muscle anyone in the NHL.
Prediction: Boston in 4

Pittsburgh v. Philadelphia

The Battle of Pennsylvania lives again once more after a great regular season and last years conference finals. Look for Jeff Carter to score shorthanders and try to psyche-out the Penguins elite players. Malkin will step it up knowing he has the media spotlight on him. Is he worthy of those scoring titles and awards? Sid Crosby better be cool as a cucumber when playing the Flyers. They know how to get under Crosby's skin.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5

Washington v. NY Rangers

At least we know the Penguins can do something that the Capitals cant - beat Philly. The NY Rangers are re-tooled to help out Drury and Gomez. Antropov looks to be really enjoying the new blues of broadway instead of the TML blue and white. Will Sean Avery behave himself? Look for Ovechkin to take a run at Avery's head too at some point during the series.
Prediction: Capitals in 6

New Jersey v. Carolina

Carolina is one of the hot teams going in to the playoffs, but did they peak at the right time? Ron Francis is behind the bench with Coach Maurice this time around. But can you coach against the NHL winningest goaltender Martin Brodeur?
Prediction: New Jersey in 7
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