29 April 2013

2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 1st Round Predictions

The 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs has cometh and we shall enjoyeth, he said. Not sure where I was going with that first sentence but regardless, the battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is here. Who will survive the 1st round and keep their dreams alive? Here are my 1st round predictions.

TV Schedule

(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) New York Islanders
It really is a big achievement for the Islanders to get back to the postseason considering how awful they have been in the last several years. John Tavares has developed into an elite player and leads a talented offense, while Evgeni Nabokov was a little up-and-down in net but he turned it on late. But it is going to take a whale of an effort to take out the Penguins, even with Sidney Crosby's return questionable, and Nabokov is going to have to be lights-out.
Pittsburgh in 4

(2) Montreal Canadiens  vs. (7) Ottawa Senators
Man, what a job Michel Therrien has done this year with the Habs, especially considering how awful they were last year. But while one one hand they were inconsistent down the stretch, while the Sens were able to move up and avoid Pittsburgh, the Sens have also had their injury troubles. If Craig Anderson is anywhere near as good as he was last year against New York, Ottawa would probably win this series but while he has been magnificent this year, Carey Price has been fantastic as well. I just do not see Ottawa's offense getting cranked up enough for the upset.
Montreal in 6

(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) New York Rangers
These two teams always seem like they are playing each other in the postseason and considering how both teams finished (Washington: 15-2-2; New York: 10-3-1), this series should be wild and fun. While I did pick the Rangers to get to the Finals before the season, I like the Caps to take this series. Washington's superior offense and their electric power play will prove the difference.
Washington in 7

(4) Boston Bruins vs. (5) Toronto Maple Leafs
Original Six hockey, eh? This should be a fun one. For me, the key in this series will be how consistent Toronto goalie James Reimer is in net because if he is lights-out, the Leafs have the offense to take out the Bruins. However, I am just not that sold on him against a very deep Boston lineup, one of the deeper lineups in the league. Give me the Bruins.
Boston in 7

(1) Chicago Blackhawks  vs. (8) Minnesota Wild
Minnesota had to fight hard just to get to the playoffs, but they are going to have to play perfect hockey if they want to pull off the upset against the best team in hockey all year long. Outside of the high profile acquisitions Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the team does not have a lot of depth and there is too much pressure on goaltender Niklas Backstrom. It's a good matchup for Chicago and they will move on without breaking too much of a sweat.
Chicago in 5

(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings
I think the Ducks could be in real trouble in this series. Yes, they have a top-notch offense, underrated defense and solid play in net. But after jumping out to a big lead in the Pacific, they really sputtered down the stretch and their offense really slowed down. Therefore, I am feeling an upset. Yes, Detroit is going to need to get much more offense in this series than they have gotten all year long but I feel that Jimmy Howard, who has been really good in net this year, is the kind of guy that can get hot and shut down the Anaheim offense.
Detroit in 7

(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
The Canucks have been put in a less-than-ideal situation in net after they were unable to move Roberto Luongo before the trade deadline, but to this point, they have made it work. However, I think it will be a cause of concern as I think the Canucks will be upset once again in the first round as San Jose's deep and talented crop of forwards will prove to be the difference.
San Jose in 6

(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings
If you told me that both of these clubs have been marred by inconsistent goaltending all season long. I would have smacked you silly. And yet, that is the case as both Jonathan Quick for the Kings and Brian Elliott for the Blues have been disappointing this year, and St. Louis's Jaroslav Halak has battled injury issues this year. While I think it will be a close series, I like the Kings considering their offense is a little bit better and they come in having won eight in a row against St. Louis.
Los Angeles in 7


  1. Craig anderosn has been significantly better than price this year, over 4% better sv %, and more than a full goal less allowed per game

  2. Goaltending is the key to the Capitals Rangers series id take the Rangers in 6 because of Lundqvist.