Last year I posted my 2011 NHL Hockey Playoff Predictions, and I ended up going 7-1 in the first round. I came up with Vancouver playing Boston in the finals, but my finals prediction ended up failing. Still, a pretty good showing.
With the playoffs getting set to start on Wednesday, it’s time to give my predictions for this year’s playoffs. Everything after the first round is a bit of a crapshoot because of the way the NHL reseeds the teams before the next round. But, whatever… here we go:
Round 1 – Western Conference
Los Angeles Kings (8) vs Vancouver Canucks (1)
Last year I voted with my head when I picked my beloved Kings to lose to the Sharks. Well, this year, I’m going with my heart. I think Jonathan Quick is going to steal this series for the Kings.
Winner: Kings in 6 games
San Jose Sharks (7) vs St Louis Blues (2)
If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that the Blues would have been within 1 game of winning the Presidents trophy as the best overall team in the league, I would have ruptured something laughing at you. But, here we are. All I can say is, good luck Sharks. Wait, I hate the Sharks. It’s going to be fun watching them live up to their annual playoff disappointment!
Winner: Blues in 5 games
Chicago Blackhawks (6) vs Phoenix Coyotes (3)
The Coyotes goalie has been INSANE recently and I have a feeling the Blackhawks are going to have a tough time getting pucks behind him. Never bet against a hot goalie.
Winner: Coyotes in 6 games
Detroit Red Wings (5) vs Nashville Predators (4)
I think these are the two teams that nobody in the west wants to play right now. It’s nice that only one of them will make it through to the second round. Nashville is a gritty team and their power play is one of the best. Detroit is just getting back a bunch of healthy players. This is the series to watch in the west in the first round. It’s going to be a great one.
Winner: Predators in 7 games
Round 1: Eastern Conference
Ottawa Senators (8) vs New York Rangers (1)
Last year I picked the Rangers in the #1 slot to get upset by Washington. It was my one error in last year’s opening round. I made the biggest mistake. I bet against the hot goalie. Dumb. This year is different though. Lundquist isn’t standing on his head like last season. I think this is going to be a really tough, high-scoring series. And, as much as I’d like to say we’re gonna see another 8 knock off a 1, I just can’t.
Winner: Rangers in 6 games
Washington Capitols (7) vs Boston Bruins (2)
Tim Thomas has kinda come back down to earth after his amazing season/playoffs last year and Washington finished the regular season strong after playing pretty mediocre most of the year. But sadly for the Caps, they’re goalie situation is a mess.
Winner: Bruins in 4 games
New Jersey Devils (6) vs Florida Panthers (3)
Congrats to the Panthers for finally making it to the playoffs. Enjoy the next few games. They’re the only ones you’ll be playing in the playoffs this year.
Winner: Devils in 4 games
Philadelphia Flyers (5) vs Pittsburg Penguins (4)
Holy crap, it’s like Christmas in April. If you don’t already have a DVR, go get one. Now. These teams hate each other. This series should be the most entertaining of the first round. Hell, maybe of the entire playoffs. I know there’s not usually many fights in the playoffs, but I’m gonna say this series breaks that rule. Oh, and for my prediction, I’m going with goalies on this one.
Winner: Penguins in 7 games (man, I hope it goes 7 games)
Round 2: Western Conference
Kings vs Blues
The Kings played the Blues really tough this year. But, I still think the task may be a bit too big this time around.
Winner: Blues in 6 games
Predators vs Coyotes
I think the Preds are gonna wear down the Coyotes and score a bunch on the power play.
Winner: Predators in 6 games
Round 2: Eastern Conference
Devils vs Rangers
This should be a pretty fun series to watch. In the end, the Rangers are gonna be too much for the Devils
Winner: Rangers in 5 games
Penguins vs Bruins
Let me just say, I think this series is going to decide who wins the cup this year. I’m going to go with the Penguins to light up Tim Thomas for a bunch of goals. If I’m wrong and the Bruins win this one, you can switch my picks to Bruins to repeat.
Winner: Penguins in 6 games
Western Conference: Round 3
Predators vs Blues
This should be a pretty good series. I think it’s going to be a really close one. I’m gonna go for the upset here.
Winner: Predators in 7 games
Eastern Conference: Round 3
Penguins vs Rangers
The media circus around this series should be an absolute blast! How about this for a great finish: game 7, overtime, in New York… Crosby scores and immediately points at Tortorella on the bench who’s head explodes.
Winner: Penguins in 7 games
Stanley Cup Finals
Predators vs Penguins
You may not think so, but I think this would be a really entertaining final. In the end, I’ll have to go with playoff experience to come through.
The Champs will be: Penguins in 6 games
So there ya go. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Oh, and if you have your own predictions, leave ‘em here, too.