Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spin The Wheel: 2010 Playoff-Cup Predictions

1) Next in the prediction process is to use the projected/predicted order of finish and use these as a basis for playoff matchups. We will briefly predict these anticipated playoff matchups and determine this far out who will win each series culminating with the Cup winner. Two years ago we were very close to getting many of the matchup/winners dead on. Last season not as well as we had the Stars winning it all. Boy, were we off! Anyway, as we note in our season projections much of this is a dart throw. This is REALLY a dart throw in the dark! But hey, everyone else is making/publishing their Cup choice so why not make it interesting. Enjoy and feel free to tell us where we're off our rockers. LOL Let's Spin the Wheel!

2) First the East: Round 1

  • Philadelphia-vs-Florida: The fans of South Florida are finally able to see playoff hockey for the first time in almost a decade. The team that fought long and hard to get there puts up a valiant fight(sometimes literally) but in the end the fire power and fight of the Flyers over whelms the Cats. Flyers in 5

  • Boston-vs-Buffalo: On paper shouldn't be such a close series, but no playoff series is played on paper. The sabres behind stellar goaltending of Ryan Miller push the Big Bad Bruins for they are worth until finally succumbing in a long series. Bruins in 7

  • Washington-vs-NY Rangers: A repeat of the first round of a season ago. This time the boys from DC don't allow the rangers to get a 2 game lead and instead meticulously pick apart the defense of the Blueshirts. Despite amazing efforts by goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers go out relatively easily. Capitals in 5

  • Pittsburgh-vs-Carolina: Another repeat of a series last season. Last year the Pens outclassed the canes on route to the Finals and the Cup. this time the canes are up and ready for the Pens and behind the heroics of cam ward upset the defending Cup champs in a magnificent and sometimes chippy series. Canes in 6

3) Round 2, East

  • Philadelphia-vs-Carolina: Coming off a relatively quick first round the Flyers are fresh but rusty. After overcoming an opening game loss at home the Flyers storm back against the canes to again advance. Flyers in 5

  • Boston-vs-Washington: An epic battle of 2 of the east's powers. Ultimately Boston's depth at forward proves to be the decisive aspect here with the B's shutting down the caps top line and the Bruins 3rd line able to score key goals at the right time. Bruins in 6

4) Round 3 East

  • Philadelphia-vs-Bruins: As the top 2 teams this is the match up most expected. No one is disappointed as it goes the distance with each team showing its considerable depth at forward and toughness. A retro series with an unusual number of bouts for a 3rd round playoff series. In the end its the Bruins superiority in goal that makes the difference when Ray Emery gives up a couple of softies. Bruins in 6

5) Next the West: Round 1

  • San Jose-vs- Los Angeles: Like the Flyers Panthers series in the East the fans/players in LA are just happy to be here and it shows as the determined Sharks take the inexperienced Kings apart. Sharks in 4

  • Chicago-vs Anaheim: Unlike last year no one is taking the hawks for granted. Ditto the Ducks. This series goes the distance with Hawks having the home ice and edge overall in forward depth take the series, but questions remain how far Huet can carry them from here. Hawks in 7

  • Calgary-vs-St. Louis: The Blues return once again to the [post season ,but show again that they are not quite ready to compete with the big boys. The Flame defense and Kiprusoff shut down the Blues and win in relatively easy fashion. Flames in 4

  • Vancouver-vs-Detroit: The marquis series in the first round. The old guard and winners of the west the past couple of seasons verses the Canucks/Luongo who had a great regular season but with questions on their ability to win in the spring. Those questions aren't answered as the Wings and their veteran filled team upset the Canucks. Wings in 6

6) Second Round-West

  • San Jose-vs-Detroit: The true test for the Sharks. Can they defeat a real team and advance or doomed to repeat their previous years performances. Finally Shark fans have something to celebrate as the Sharks overwhelm the Wings and Nabokov outplays Osgood to have the sharks, at least partially, exorcise their playoff demons. Sharks in 5

  • Chicago-vs-Calgary: What many felt was going to be a long fascinating series devolves into a clinic put on by the Flames trapping and helped by the less than stellar goaltending of Cristabal Huet to allow the Flames to score when they need to. The scores will be close, but the series will not. Flames in 5

7) Third Round-West

  • San Jose-vs-Calgary: Number 1 vs number 3 in the West. Have the Sharks done enough to get the monkeys off their backs? To the media/fans not yet. Nothing less than a Final appearance will suffice. The expectations in Calgary although not quite as high, are nonetheless intense. The series turns out to be a classic. The Sharks offense vs the Flames trap and opportunism style. Both goalies put on a show and no game features more than 5 goals combined. It comes down to 20-3 OT games to decide the series. In the end Brent Sutter's group prevails to advance to Finals. Flames in 6

8) The Finals:

  • Calgary Flames-VS-Boston Bruins: Not exactly the ratings bonanza that Gary Bettman would have asked for, but it doesn't disappoint real hockey fans across North America. Neither team is willing to give an inch and tries to play its own style. At home the B's persevere and win with their characteristic style accompanied with grit. In Alberta the Flames are more able to stifle the Bruin attack and frustrate their offensive stars. So in the end it comes down to home ice. The decisive game in Boston in June will long be remembered by the New England faithful. Their first Cup since Bobby Orr's famous score/dive a full 39 years earlier. Bruins in 7

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