Thursday, April 30, 2009

NHL Playoffs - 2nd Round

So, I did pretty good last round in that I picked the winners in 6 of the 8 match-ups. And if you factor in that I mentioned that the two match-ups I missed were the ones I thought could go the other way, I feel pretty good about that. Especially since the Devils were 1:28 from moving on... Jeez.

So, I'll make this quick.

Boston (1) vs Carolina (6) - Boston in 6. Carolina got lucky in getting by the Devils. Boston is better.

Washington (2) vs Pittsburgh (4) - Washington in 7. This should be a great match-up. I am extremely interested in this series. In the end, I think Ovechkin will win.

Detroit (2) vs Anaheim (8) - Detroit in 7. I think Anaheim is confident enough to take Detroit to the limit, but Detroit is more talented and playoff-tested.

Vancouver (3) vs Chicago (4) - Vancouver in 6. Luongo has taken it to another level. Chicago is playing well, and Khabibulin is as well, but Vancouver is stronger than Calgary and Goaltending will be the difference.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NHL Playoffs - 2009 Edition

So, it's that time of year again. For me, a little bitter-sweet. I love NHL playoffs, but it's very odd not to see the Stars in the postseason. I'm hoping that this year was an aberration, but that is another column. Today, I'll be going through the 8 different match-ups for the first round, and giving a couple thoughts as to who will win and why. Let's start with the East.

Boston (1) vs. Montreal (8). The classic rivalry is ignited again. The Bruins have been a consistent force all year, but the Canadiens have faltered down the stretch and limped into the playoffs. Boston has been getting great goaltending all season, the defense, which lacks star-power other than Chara, has been great, and the forwards have been great. Kessel and the return of Bergeron have been huge for this team. Montreal's goaltending can be spectacular, but Price can also be ordinary. The defense is injured and as such not as effective. The forwards can be fantastic, but if they cannot keep the puck out of their own net, then it won't matter. Boston in 6

Washington (2) vs NY Rangers (7). This is a case of opposites. Defense and Goaltending vs. Scoring. One of the best talents in the game, Ovechkin makes those around him better. Washington's Achilles will be Theodore, but if he can regain his form, not even NY's Lundqvist will be able to stop them. Washington in 5

New Jersey (3) vs Carolina (6). These two teams are more even than the records indicate. Cam Ward has been playing out of his mind and Brodeur has been shaky since becoming the all-time wins leader. The speed of Carolina will be a problem, but the defense and timely scoring of New Jersey will be enough. Brodeur will be back to form. NJ in 7

Pittsburgh (4) vs Philadelphia (5). This will be a fantastic battle. These two teams are so evenly matched, and they really don't like each other. Every category is a push except in forward talent which is why I'm going with Pittsburgh in 7.

San Jose (1) vs Anaheim (8). I hate the Sharks, and I'm not a big fan of Anaheim, but this should be a very good series. Selanne doesn't have to be the top guy since the emergence of Ryan and Getzlaf. Anaheim is also starting an untested Hiller against a fiercely talented offense including a rejuvenated Marleau. Sharks in 5

Detroit (2) vs Columbus (7). Hitchcock is a great equalizer and will get the most out of this Blue Jackets team. But, this is Detroit and Columbus won't stay with them long. Detroit in 5

Vancouver (3) vs St. Louis (6). St. Louis has been on a roll going into the playoffs and while Vancouver hasn't been as strong to the finish, they have all the pieces necessary to move on. Vancouver in 7

Chicago (4) vs Calgary (5). These teams are also incredibly matched up. Dynamic scoring (with an edge to the Hawks, solid defense (with an edge to Calgary), and great goaltending. But, Khabibulin, who has the best name in hockey since Nikolai Borschevsky, will be the difference maker. Chicago in 6.

So... I picked all favorites... I don't think I like that, but it's what makes the most sense. The two series where I could be way wrong. Carolina and NJ, and Sharks and Ducks. But, I'm sticking with my picks.