NHL Playoffs 2012: Previewing and Predicting Monday's Games
So yes, there have been others coming to the forefront to predict games and perhaps more accurately than I have been doing. Yet, some of these folks enjoy hoops, baseball and what else have you. Not me my friends, I am hockey to the core, hockey to the bone. No sport other than this game takes priority in my heart or in my thoughts.
Keeping pace since last Monday, I am a meek 12-11 with predictions, and in tonight's contests there are two teams with their seasons on the line, and we will see two teams eliminated.
It has been the underdog teams taking games so far this postseason, and with parity comes excellence. Yes, it is possible that two No. 1 seeds will dust off their golf clubs and enjoy a long summer. This will happen tonight in Ottawa.
The Chicago Blackhawks have had their own problems generating anything in their own building, and this theme will also ring true this evening.
Let's get at it.
Rangers vs. Senators
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The Rangers look stuck, not being able to score in their last five periods of hockey. Nobody would have thought at this point that Craig Anderson would be winning the goaltending battle against Henrik Lundqvist.
Do not expect tonight's game to be anything less than a barn-burner in Canada's capital city. Sure, is it a risk to bet that the Senators can beat the Rangers three times in row? Yes, but we have certainly come to expect the unexpected in the postseason.
The New York Rangers will have Carl Hagelin back in the lineup, and while that is exciting to some supporters of the "Blue Shirts" they are still missing arguably their most important player.
When Sens forward Chris Neil took a run at Brian Boyle it knocked him out of action and perhaps for the rest of the postseason. With his three goals, no Ranger player has had more of an impact on the series. He will be sorely missed, and that could alone be the difference in tonight's contest.
The Sens are confident and finally have their big guns contributing. At last, Jason Spezza asserted his presence in the series with the game winner and an empty net tally in Game 5.
Prediction: After the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated on Sunday night, Canada will still have the Sens moving on. Fueled by their home fans the Senators get on the board early and shut the trap door closed.
Senators win 3-1.
Coyotes vs. Blackhawks
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What will it be? Make a call with your head or with your heart? I'll have to go with the head on this one, partly because my heart is exhausted after watching five straight overtime games between these two clubs.
The 'Hawks stayed alive on Saturday night, thanks to an absolute snipe by captain, Jonathan Toews. The 'Hawks kept up with the same theme of tying the game late. How that has happened in three games in Phoenix is beyond me.
The Coyotes were not great in Game 5 and only tested Corey Crawford with 19 shots on goal. Still, my money is on Mike Smith to win this goaltending battle, and as long as he is in the pipes the Coyotes will be in any game, against any team.
Similarly to the two overtime wins in Chicago, the 'Yotes will be looking to Smith to keep them in the game, while they continue to be opportunistic late in the game.
Prediction: While the 'Hawks will supply most of the pressure the Coyotes will wait for a defensive let down from a 'Hawks defenseman, which is bound to happen. In yet another OT thriller, the Coyotes win the series.
Coyotes win 3-2 in OT (again).