Posted by qbert1387 on 11th April 2012
The gauntlet, the marathon, whatever you want to call it…the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight! A slug-fest in the battle of Pennsylvania starts it all off when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin host the Philadelphia Flyers in the only Eastern Conference game. The two other games feature Western Conference battles for supremacy including the always popular Detroit Red Wings against the Nashville Predator, and the L.A. Kings look to shock the defending Western Conference Champs and President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. Top to bottom in both the Eastern and Western Conferences there are very exciting and tough matchups. So, before the chase for the Cup gets under way, here is how I predict the playoffs to turn out.
#1 New York Rangers OVER #8 Ottawa Senators- 7 games
#2 Boston Bruins OVER #7 Washington Capitals- 7 games
#6 New Jersey Devils OVER #3 Florida Panthers- 6 games
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins OVER #5 Philadelphia Flyers- 6 games
#1 Vancouver Canucks OVER #8 Los Angeles Kings- 6 games
#2 St. Louis Blues OVER #7 San Jose Sharks- 7 games
#6 Chicago Blackhawks OVER #3 Phoenix Coyotes- 5 games
#4 Nashville Predators OVER #5 Detroit Red Wings- 7 games
#1 New York Rangers OVER #6 New Jersey Devils- 7 games
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins OVER #2 Boston Bruins- 6 games
#1 Vancouver Canucks OVER #6 Chicago Blackhawks- 6 games
#4 Nashville Predators OVER #2 St. Louis Blues- 5 games
Eastern Conference Final:
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins OVER #1 New York Rangers- 5 games
Western Conference Final:
#1 Vancouver Canucks OVER #4 Nashville Predators- 6 games
STANLEY CUP FINALS:
VANCOUVER CANUCKS OVER PITTSBURGH PENGUINS- 7 GAMES
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Posted by qbert1387 on 9th April 2012
The NHL season has finally come to an end, and now it everyone’s favorite time of year…playoff hockey. The New York Rangers did lock up the Eastern Conference title, but a loss to the Caps on the last day changed the course of the playoffs. Instead of the Rangers playing the Capitals in the first round, the Caps jumped the Ottawa Senators in the standings causing Ottawa to play the Eastern Conference’s #1 team. Judging how the Caps put a beat down on the Rangers, I’d say the Blue-shirts dodged a bullet before the playoffs even started. However, do not underestimate this Sens team just because they are the 8th seed, they beat the Rangers in 3 out of the 4 regular season matchups this season, which leaves Rangers fans a little weary. But, this should be a clean slate because neither team is surging into the playoffs. The Sens are limping in as they lost 7 of their last 10 games of the season, while also relinquishing the #7 seed they had all but locked up. The Rangers, though they’ve won 6 of their last 10, they lost two straight to Pittsburgh and Washington to close out the season, and close the door on their hopes of the Presidents’ Trophy. The Rangers are the #1 team in the East, but this matchup is too close for comfort, so here are some of the keys to this series, and who will move on to the next round.
1) Goaltending- Henrik Lundqvist claimed the Rangers’ end of season team MVP, and is a shoe-in for the Vezina Trophy, but the regular season is over, and he must continue his Vezina status where he has come up short in the past…the playoffs. He single handedly kept the Rangers in every game, and that trend can’t stop now. Craig Anderson was an after thought coming into the season, but he’s turned into a surprising strength for the Sens. But, for Ottowa to stand any chance, he’ll need to pick his game up staring into the face of the league’s best goalie on the other side of the ice.
2) Scoring Depth- Both the Rangers and Senator have phenomenal #1 scoring lines, but after that, they take drastic dips. The Sens line of Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Daniel Alfredsson is as good as any in the league. While the Rangers have “Broadway” Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, and Carl Hagelin on their side contributing to most of the Rangers, at times, anemic offense. Two things are for sure. First, these lines will obviously need to be up to par. But more importantly, whichever team can find more secondary scoring will be heading to the next round.
3) The Captains- Ryan Callahan is the New York Rangers. Captain Cally exemplifies how the Rangers play and sets the tone in each game with his play. For that reason he is the heart and soul of the team. The Rangers lost Cally to injury prior to the playoffs last year, and they looked like fish out of water. The Rangers will need Callahan to show Ottawa why he get to wear that C. Daniel Alfredsson has shown this season, at age 39 that he still has plenty left in the tank, with 27 goals and 32 assists in 75 games. But, now in his 15th season, how many more opportunities will he have to try and hoist the Cup? He is a proven playoff threat, and this postseason, he will look to make this one, one to remember.
Tags: Eastern Conference, first round, keys to the series, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs, Ottawa Senators
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