5) Pittsburgh (4) vs- Philadelphia(5) REGULAR SEASON SERIES (4-2 Pens) The battle of Pennsylvania! Probably the series to watch and will be the most exciting from a fans perspective. Two very talented teams that don't like each other much. They faced off last season in the Eastern Conference Finals when the Pens won in 5, but that Flyers team was banged up pretty well, especially on the back line. Both teams can throw multiple dangerous scoring lines out there. Arguably the Flyers possess more 'grit', but will have to restrain some of that 'enthusiasm' (leagues most penalized team) if they want to advance. Keys: Which Francophone goalie will carry his team? Both Fleury and Biron played very well in last years post season, with M-A playing a tad better. Can Selke likely nominee Richards hold down Crosby/Malkin? In the end we believe this Flyers team is built for playoff wins, but none will come easy. Enjoy folks!Flyers in 6
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
2009 Playoff Predictions- East
1) Welcome to the NHL's second(real) season. We would argue that there is NO better all around tournament in all of pro sports. Let the games begin! We will go through each series; dissect what the most important factors are, and come up with who will win in how many games. We hope to do even better than our regular season predictions. First we will do the unpredictable East. Followed by the power house West. Enjoy.
2) Canadiens (1) vs. Bruins(8): REGULAR SEASON SERIES (5-1 Bruins) Can't be the post season without these two original 6 squaring off?! They meet for a fourth time in past seven postseasons. In the past it doesn't seem to matter where either club is in the standings. The teams trade spots from last season, when Boston held the 8th spot. Despite the positioning we see this as a much closer series than many might predict. Keys: Can Carey Price play up to the expectations and trade save for save with Tim Thomas? Can the trio of Alex Kovalev with Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay get it done? Will the Habs' best defensemen, Andre Markov play? With Savard, Kessel, Bergeron, etc the B's have the best balanced scoring in the East. In the end the Bruins should win this old Adams division battle, but not in a cake walk.
Bruins in 7
3) Capitals(2) vs. NY Rangers(7): REGULAR SEASON SERIES (3-1 Capitals). These are NOT the same Rangers that snoozed through the middle portion of the season. With the trade deadline additions, new coach and Sean Avery they are a much more dangerous team/difficult team to play against. Not to mention Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best in the business. Keys: This series pits the Rangers poor PP/offense and good goaltending vs the Caps top PP and average at best net minding. Can the Rangers more veteran team overcome the Caps youth/inexperience? Normally we'd say the best goalie will win, but here we believe in the end the Caps fire power will overwhelm the Ranger's defense, but there won't be any blowouts here and perhaps a couple OT games deciding the outcome of the series.
Capitals in 6
4)New Jersey (3) vs Carolina (6): REGULAR SEASON SERIES (3-1 Hurricanes). Probably the least compelling first round match-up. However should be quite a close, hard fought series. Up front both teams posses stud forwards and grizzled vets. Staal-vs Parise will be the focus of opposition defenses. Keys: The goaltending match up is interesting. We have maintained that in the past Brodeur's playing 70+ games was a detriment to his post season now that he's 35+. His injury forced him to 'rest' so will he be the key? On the other side Cam Ward is playing every bit as well as he did when he was the 2006 playoff MVP. Can he carry that into the playofffs? We feel this will be a multiple OT series. We'll put our faith/money on a rested Marty.
Devils in 7