With the playoffs only about 10 hours away it’s time we here at SB Nation New York give you your playoff predictions! Here they are:
No. 8 New York Rangers vs. No. 1 Washington Capitals: I went over what the Rangers would have to do to down the Capitals here yesterday, so I’m not going to go into crazy details about what the Rangers need to do to win. Although Washington is obviously heavily favored, I think the Rangers have too much life to count out.
My prediction: Rangers in 7.
No. 7 Buffalo Sabers vs. No. 2 Philadelphia Flyers: Personally I believe that Buffalo is one of the most dangerous teams int he playoffs this year, especially with how they had to fight just to get into the post season. But the Flyers are a very talented and experienced team, who’s only weakness seems to be their goaltending. The Flyers do have one weapon though, Chris Pronger, who can keep the big opposing scorers away from the net, and Philadelphia will have to use that to their advantage in this series. But, like with the Rangers, the Sabres have a goalie in Ryan Miller who can steal a series by himself. Still, I think the Flyers have too much talent to go down in round one.
My Prediction: Flyers in 6
No. 6 Montreal Canadiens vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins: It’s fitting that one of hockey’s best rivalries will be a first round matchup in this year’s NHL playoffs. Although Montreal fluttered a bit down the stretch, they have a good young team with tons of potential. The Bruins, who have been an elite team in the East since the beginning of the season, will look to crush their hated rivals with ease. I don’t think it will be that easy but Boston has had the Habs number this year. I think Boston’s blend of offense and superb goaltending win them this series. Tim Thomas has simply been too good to count out this season, and the Canadiens are still charged up over the Zdeno Chara hit (and we all saw how that effected them, getting routed 7-0 the next time the two teams met).
My Prediction: Boston in 5
No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 4 Tampa Bay Lightning: The “four v. five” matchup in the NHL playoffs has always been a great one, and this year’s competition will probably fit that mold. The Penguins are still down Sidney Crosby, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have firepower on their roster. As for the Lightning? They probably hold the edge in scoring with Martain St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos. The goalie edge? Miles and away to Pittsburgh, so this series might end up hinging on special teams play.
My Prediction: Penguins in 7.
No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 1 Vancouver Canucks: The Stanley Cup defending Blackhawks managed to sneak into the playoffs as the eight seed, their reward? Going up against the league’s elite team since the beginning of the year. Daniel and Henrik Sedin have destroyed better defenses than Chicago all season, and with the Blackhawks moving some many core pieces of that cup winning team this past off-season I just don’t see the upset happening.
My Prediction: Vancouver in 5
No. 7 Los Angeles Kings vs. No. 2 San Jose Sharks: Both the Kings and the Sharks boast big name players in this series. The Sharks have Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Danny Heatley (among others), while the Kings have Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Ryan Smyth. I still think the Sharks simply have too much firepower to fall in this matchup, but it won’t be easy.
My Prediction: Sharks in 6
No. 6 Phoenix Coyotes vs. No. 3 Detroit Red Wings: In a rematch between last year’s first round matchup, the Red Wings and the Coyotes will once again do battle in the playoffs. This series was such a great one to watch last year and I’m expecting more of the same this time around. I think both teams have the same type of firepower on offense, so this series might come down to special teams and goaltending. Just for the sake of Ilya Bryzgalov I might call an upset here.
My Prediction: Coyotes win in 7
No. 5 Nashville Predators vs. No. 4 Anaheim Ducks: Another great matchup in the “four v. five” slot. The Ducks, who have been energized by Corey Perry’s 50-goal and 90-point performance this year, have one of the best offenses in the league. Although the Predators have a good defense I think Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne and Lubomir Visnovsky will be too much for them to handle.
My Prediction: Ducks in 5