Unlike my Aunt, who is a professional prognosticator for Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy, I received no such family ESP skill. However, after following the 2008-09 NHL season from day one, I shall provide some predictions to how round one of the playoffs will play out. Hopefully it goes better than my March Madness pool.
San Jose – Anaheim
The way the Ducks are made up, they will be no pushover. They have veteran leadership and a potent top line. But the Sharks simply have too much.
Sharks in six.
Detroit – Columbus
The grizzled post-season veterans versus the new kids on the block. There isn’t a bigger contrast in organizations battling in the first round. Columbus wins its first playoff game ever, but otherwise gets rolled by the Red Wings.
Detroit in five
Vancouver – St. Louis
If you run down the ‘things you wish you had come playoff time’ list, Vancouver would have more than half. Goaltending, depth, grit. But don’t count out the wild card Blues, who are playing with house money and will take down the ‘Nucks.
St. Louis in six
Calgary – Chicago
The tightest series in the West, Calgary will need Jerome Iginla to wake up from his post All-Star game slumber and come alive to win the series. Mikka Kiprusoff will be good but the Flames’ power play will struggle and the young kids from Chi-town will take the series, resulting in Calgary coach Mike Keenan being fired.
Chicago in five.
Boston – Montreal
A brutal series, Boston takes out the mistake-ridden Habs in five.
Boston in five.
Washington – New York Rangers
Rangers head into the playoffs playing their best hockey of the year. Can’t say the same for the Capitals. New York needs a hero to lead them offensively, if not, the Caps will simply out-gun them.
Rangers in six
New Jersey – Carolina
As the oldest team in the league, Jersey’s vets put aside a bad finish to the season and come out strong. Carolina is a good matchup for the Devils, but Marty Brodeur is on and the Devils cruise.
Devils in five
Philadelphia – Pittsburgh
Very close, tough series. The Flyers have the depth to steal a game in the Steel City, sending the Penguins into panic mode and taking them out of their game. Flyers shutdown Evgeni Malkin and beat the Pens.
Flyers in six