Predicting the playoffs inevitably involves carefully weighing a number of factors including point production, past head-to-head matchups, key injuries, coaching style, and all sorts of other criteria.
What is rarely (if ever) taken into account is team names.
Let's break down the NHL Eastern Conference first round playoff matchups using that as our sole criteria.
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
Bruins are bears. Bears are fierce wild mammals with formidable jaws and fierce claws. Canadiens are the French-Canadian inhabitants of Quebec, well known for its freezing cold climate and delicious poutine.
While Canadiens are clearly a hearty and resilient breed of human, not even the warmest winter-weather gear can protect them from a hungry Bruin. They could try feeding it poutine, but that would only delay the inevitable.
Human vs. bear: always, but always, bet on the bear.
Prediction: Bruins in six.
(2) Washington Capitals vs. (7) New York Rangers
A Capital is the political centre of a political state. A Ranger is a gamekeeper and park warden.
A one-on-one battle in this case is totally hypothetical, but if you imagine a bunch of bearded forest-dwellers with an encyclopedic knowledge of poisonous berries and animal droppings trying to effect political change in the corridors of power, you can imagine it would be quite ineffective.
However, if you imagine a bunch of pampered politicians trying to speechify and legislate their way to survival in the unforgiving wild terrain of a national park, you can also imagine how terrifying that would be. Especially with spotty cell phone reception.
In this case, home ice will be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Capitals in six.
(3) New Jersey Devils vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes
Devils are the incarnation of evil, in direct opposition to the forces of Good. Hurricanes are a tropical storm, crafted by Mother Nature.
Tiebreaker: Devils aren't real.
Prediction: Hurricanes in seven.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers
Penguins can't fly. Flyers can—that's what their name means.
However this isn't a flying contest, it's a hockey contest. Having said that, penguins probably can't skate either. Although they do flourish in cold climates.
Prediction: Flyers in seven.
Well, there you have it. The bears, politicians, tropical storms, and aviators all trump their competition to make it to the second round.