It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Every second of every shift is analyzed, every goal replayed hundreds of times, every coaching decision scrutinized; all for the right to hoist a giant silver cup. It's the NHL playoffs.
The experts have made their picks, and now it is time for me to make my selections, for mockery and/or ridicule.
SERIES: Bruins vs Habs
Bruins have the depth up front and on D, Habs are missing their best player. More analysis on game day tomorrow.
PREDICTION: Bruins in 6
SERIES: Caps vs Rangers
My major upset pick; Rangers have the only PK that can stop the Caps PP, and they have one of the only goalies capable of stealing a series by himself.
PREDICTION: Rangers in 6
SERIES: Devils vs Canes
I just can't bet against Martin Brodeur. Devils have the edge up front, and both teams are built similarly on D. Ward will need to outplay Brodeur, which I don't see happening, but stranger things have happened.
PREDICTION: Devils in 5
SERIES: Penguins vs Flyers
2 evenly matched teams. I am projecting a 7 game series, which means I'll take the team with the home ice advantage. No other explanation. If Flyers were the 4 seed, I would choose them.
PREDICTION: Penguins in 7
SERIES: Sharks vs Ducks
The Sharks are likely less than thrilled to be facing their state rivals. It's a tough matchup for the Sharks, but at the end of the day, I don't see the Ducks winning in 6, meaning I'm taking the Sharks.
PREDICTION: Sharks in 6
SERIES: Wings vs Jackets
The Jackets were impressive this year, but they can't match the star power, the defense or the experience that Detroit has.
PREDICTION: Wings in 5
SERIES: Canucks vs Blues
The Blues have a tough matchup, because containing Vancouver's top 2 lines will be next to impossible with their defense. Chris Mason might steal a game or two, but I expect the Canucks to come out on top.
PREDICTION: Canucks in 5
SERIES: Hawks vs Flames
This was the toughest series to call. You've got Kipper in goal with the Flames, and a lot of power up front. On the other hand, the Hawks have a goalie who won a cup, very good depth on the blueline and lots of speed and energy from their forwards. This has the makings of a 7 game series, and in a 7 game series, go with home ice.
PREDICTION: Hawks in 7
Right now, I'll go with a final four of Bruins-Penguins and Wings-Sharks, with the Wings and Bruins coming out of their respective conferences. I like the Wings to repeat; although I will say that if one of the top 3 seeds comes out of the West (Wings, Sharks, Canucks); I expect that the eventual Stanley Cup winner will be from the Western Conference.
Tomorrow's blog will feature a series preview of the Bruins-Habs, and why I feel that the Habs don't have much of a chance.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.