Well, I used to do this on another site but I decided to bring my act here. Mind you, this is all for laughs only so please do not make any monetary decisions based on my predictions. That said, here it goes:
(8)NY Rangers vs. (1)Washington Capitals-Interesting match-up here. Last season, the Rangers missed the playoffs on the last day of the season on a shoot out. The Caps are a contrast in success. Year in and year out, they're either #1 or close to it in the conference. They had their troubles but in the end, they got hot when it counted. The last 3 seasons, they were first but couldn't get past the conference semi's. As for the match-up, the Rangers have handled the Caps pretty well this season. In 4 games this season, the Rangers won 3-1 and outscored the Caps 18-6. I actually see the Rangers stealing this series. My Pick: Rangers in 5
(7)Buffalo Sabers vs. (2)Philadelphia Flyers-This series, of course, is close to my heart. One look at my current avatar should show you that. But what gets me is that from October until the middle of February, with scant few exceptions, the Flyers were bar none the best team in the NHL. A hot rookie goalie, stifling defense, great scoring, the whole package. They lost only 2 games in January. But it's not the losing that gets me. It's the way that they lost games. Late period goals. Late game goals. Get this team in a shootout and it's an automatic loss. The goaltending down the stretch has been shoddy and the defense has been near non-existent. Perhaps Pronger being injured has something to do with it but the team has been playing in quicksand even before Mr. Made-of-Glass got hurt. On the other side, Buffalo is getting hot at the right time. They are playing like the Flyers did last season and as we all know, that carried us into the finals. Miller is healthy and he's one of the best goalies in the league who did everything he could to win a gold medal last year in the Olympics. The team's split the season series with the Sabres winning the last 2 games including the other night clinching themselves a playoff spot. That said, My Pick: Buffalo in 4
(6)Montreal Canadiens vs. (3)Boston Bruins- 2 of the 5 'Original 6' teams to make the playoffs(Toronto being the odd team out) and these teams have faced each other countless times in the playoffs over the decades. The history of these teams is a living history of the NHL. The storied Canadiens with their 24 Stanley Cups against the Bruins with their, well, 5 but this is a new era. Gone is the Forum and gone is the Gahhden. Both teams have been up and down all season. The Canadiens made the conference finals as the 8th seeded team(against the 7th seeded Flyers) last season. The Bruins, however, have to try to avenge on of the biggest playoff collapses in, not just NHL history, but in sports history blowing a 3 games to none lead to the Flyers which included blowing a 3-0 lead in game 7. Both teams are playing well and this, IMO, will be the best series of the 1st round. My pick: Bruins in 7
(5)Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (4)Pittsburgh Penguins-2 teams I give a flip about. The Penguins with the league's #1 crybaby and the Lightning in a blasphemy ridden existence in Florida and who's making their first playoff appearance in 4 years. Throw a dart to pick a winner. My pick: Penguins in 5
(8)Chicago Black Hawks vs. (1)Vancouver Canucks-The Hawks are the defending champs and the Canucks are enjoying their finest season winning the Presidents Cup. The Hawks just eked back into the playoffs while the Canucks breezed through the season. However, with the Presidents Cup comes a curse. An early exit from the playoffs. Wait, that's just for the Sharks. These teams split the season series and the Hawks have lost far too many players to compete with Vancouver in a 7 game series. That said, My Pick: Canucks in 5
(7)LA Kings vs. (2)San Jose Sharks-The perennial chokers against the Kings.(Sorry Zathara, I had too) Seriously, the Sharks' playoff woes are well documented and with the talent they have, they should be able to handle the Kings, who've only been to the finals once in their 44 year history. The Sharks just can't seem to get over that playoff hump to that next level, however, they at least can get past the first round. My Pick: Sharks in 6
(6)Phoenix Coyotes vs. (3)Detroit Red Wings-This is a repeat of last year's first round but the difference this season is that the Wings are the highest seed. When it comes to playoff choking, the 'Yotes make the Sharks look like the Canadiens. Since the NHL/WHA merger of 1979, the Coyotes/Jets franchise has won exactly 2 playoff series and haven't advanced past the 2nd round since being the final champion of the now defunct WHA. The Red Wings, another of the 'original 6' are another story. Squeaking into the playoffs last season, they didn't play around this season. Always a threat, they won their division and are a team to watch in this round. So, with this said, this one is a no brainer. My Pick: Red Wings in 5
(5)Nashville Predators vs. (4)Anaheim Ducks-Another who cares series. The Preds and Ducks, 2 ridiculous names in 2 ridiculous markets. I mean Nashville? Really? And a Disney team? You can imagine my disgust when the Ducks actually won the whole thing a few years ago. Shame that there are hockey starved cities like Winnipeg, Hamilton, Ont, Quebec City among others who the NHL won't grant a franchise to but they put teams in areas like these 2 with people who wouldn't know a puck from a golf tee. Anyhoo, my pick: Ducks in 7.
Well, that's it. See you in the 2nd round.