April 14, 2009

Playoff puck picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey, Picks

If there’s a best time of the year for the NHL, it’s the playoffs. I prefer the offseason since I don’t have to watch any games, but if forced to; I’d pick playoff time as the best action the NHL has to offer. In the East there’re two classic rivalries that could get ugly and in the East there could be some Cinderella surprises. Let’s get to it then.

Western Conference
San Jose vs. Anaheim
The Ducks are a shadow of the Stanley Cup champs they were two seasons ago. The Sharks are a powerhouse all over the ice and should be figured to win this battle of California.
Pick: Sharks in 5.

Detroit vs. Columbus
I’ve seen a lot of people take the Blue Jackets to upset the defending champs and personally, I can’t see why. The argument is the Jackets superior goaltending but this is a match up that an experienced team like Detroit just won’t lose.
Pick: Red Wings in 5.

Calgary vs. Chicago
The Flames choked in the last week of the season and fell from third place to fifth, giving them a very unfavourable matchup. Firstly, they’re below .500 on the road and secondly, they lost the season series to Chicago 4-0. They’ve been bitten by the injury bug recently, too. Things aren’t looking so hot for Calgary.
Pick: Blackhawks in 6.

Vancouver vs. St. Louis
Believe it or not, but the Blues were one of the hottest teams in the league for the second half of the season. Vancouver didn’t exactly wow anyone after landing Mats Sundin but still have Roberto Luongo between the pipes. i wouldn’t be surprised to see momentum take the Blues to the second round, but I think that they don’t have the firepower to beat Luongo.
Pick: Canucks in 7.

Eastern Conference
Boston vs. Montreal
A classic rivalry that won’t generate a classic match up. The Bruins are superior in ever aspect of the game and it’s a shame that the Canadiens have fallen off so badly during their centennial season.
Pick: Bruins in 5.

Washington vs. New York Rangers
This should be quite the close series despite the fact it’s 2 vs. 7. Alex Ovechkin and company can no doubt put the puck in the net, but at the back end, they have Jose Theodore who is far less than special. The Rangers have talent all over, can defend well enough and have an x-factor in superpest Sean Avery. I think they can disappoint a lot of playoff pool people by bouncing Ovechkin early.
Pick: Rangers in 7.

New Jersey vs. Carolina
The Hurricanes are another team that got hot at the right time and goaltender Cam Ward is not to be messed with right now. But on the other side you have Martin Brodeur, the all-time leader in wins, behind a solid defence core. This series should be a lot of low scoring games with some solid action between the pipes.
Pick: Devils in 7.

Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia
There’s nothing like a good cross-state rivalry and this one is no exception. The Pens have been on an absolute tear after firing their coach and have gone 19-4-3 under Dan Bylsma. The Flyers have the grit but not enough skill on the back end to contain Pittsburgh.
Pick: Pittsburgh in 6.

1 Comment

  1. [...] Hate to say I told you so about the Capitals. Actually, since I like being right, I do enjoy I-told-you-so-ing. Losing Game 1 at home can be quite demoralizing; now it’s up to them to decide which way they’ll go next game. After Game 2 they’ll either hit the road feeling weak and beaten or come together and have good bounce back. I think they looked awful last night and the first possibility is a real one. [...]

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