NHL Playoff Bracket 2012: Top Teams that are Ready to Roll in Round 1

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 9, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 06:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers deflects a shot on goal during the second period against the New Jersey Devils on March 6, 2012 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

That pungent smell permeating the air around you can only mean one thing: The 2012 NHL playoffs are about to commence, and testosterone is being produced at optimum levels all across the USA as the players prepare for battle while we fill out our brackets for the office pool.

There are sure to be some upsets in store, but the purpose of this post is to examine which of the top-seeded teams are ready to roll over their competition.

Here are the three top teams ready to crush their opponents in Round 1.

 

New York Rangers (1) Will Beat the Ottawa Senators (8)

The Rangers are huge favorites to win this series, and rightly so. 

They possess a stifling defense that blocks shots like Dikembe Motombo. If the defenders don't block the shot, then Henrik Lundqvist will.

Conversely, the Senators struggled to defend the puck all year long, finishing the season ranked 24th in that category and giving up almost three goals a game.

It's tough to sweep in hockey, but the Rangers just might do it to the Senators in this highly unbalanced first-round matchup.

Prediction: Rangers in five games

 

Boston Bruins (2) Will Beat the Washington Capitals (7)

OTTAWA, CANADA - APRIL 5: Linesman Scott Cherrey #50 prepares to drop the puck for a faceoff between Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators and Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on April 5, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontari
Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

The Bruins enter the postseason having won seven out of their last 10 games. 

They are a prolific scoring offense, finishing the season ranked second in that category with 3.2 goals per game. Combined with the fact that the Bruins are also one of the best at stopping opponents from scoring, this matchup should be over sooner rather than later.

On the other side, the Capitals gave up more goals than they scored during the regular season, and they rank in the bottom half in many key statistical categories—the most crucial being their 21st-ranked goals against stat of 2.8 goals per contest.

This matchup will be the most lopsided of all in the first round.

Prediction: Bruins with a clean sweep

 

Vancouver Canucks (1) Will Beat the Los Angeles Kings (8)

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 7: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period in NHL action on April 07, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defea
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The only chance the Kings have of winning this matchup with the Bruins is if Jonathan Quick manages to pitch a shutout every night.

He's capable of doing so against lesser competition, but the Canucks are the most complete team in the NHL and won't be denied, not to mention they have a goalkeeper of their own that isn't too shabby.

Ranking in the top five in goals for, goals against and power play percentage, as well as sixth in penalty-killing percentage, there isn't a weak link in the Canucks chain.

The Kings won't be able to keep up with the high-scoring action, and this series won't last long.

Prediction: Canucks in five games

 

Thank you for making Bleacher Report your premier source for NHL news, reaction and analysis.