FIRST ROUND/CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
The Bruins are known for choking, but they proved that this year they would not. The playoffs are a completely different season and atmosphere.
I think they will have some trouble at first but come out in the end.
Bruins in six.
(2) Washington Capitals vs. (7) New York Rangers
This is a battle between the speedy Caps and the slow, defensive Rangers. In the end, I think all the offensive firepower of the Caps will be too much for the Rangers.
Capitals in five.
(3) New Jersey Devils vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina won the season series, but most of the games were NOT against Marty Brodeur. Even still, I don’t think the Devils will get it done, and I’m calling my upset pick here.
Hurricanes in seven.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers
I don’t think the Flyers have the right personnel to hang in with the high power offense of the Pens. I’ll give them one win in the series.
Penguins in 5
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Anaheim Ducks
Now I see why Detroit didn’t try harder to get the President’s trophy this year—they would have had to play the Ducks in the playoffs.
Wow, the Ducks have been playing hard as of late and are getting Francois Beauchemin back just in time for the playoffs. They are a rough and tough team. They are going to beat on the Sharks.
Even though I have the Sharks winning in seven, I still think the Ducks will do enough damage to deter the Sharks’ Stanley Cup hopes.
Sharks in seven.
(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (7) Columbus Blue Jackets
I think the Wings will have some trouble with their shaky goaltending and give up two wins, but they will pull it off as they have too much experience and skill against a first-time playoff team in Columbus.
Wings in six.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) St. Louis Blues
This will be the most defensive series for sure. Luongo is too good, and Vancouver has more offense with the Sedin brothers.
Canucks in seven.
(4) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (5) Calgary Flames
The Blackhawks owned the Flames in the regular season. With this being their first time in the playoffs in seven years, they aren’t going to waste it.
Blackhawks in five.
SECOND ROUND/CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes
The Bruins get a rest this round when they dominate the Canes.
Bruins in five.
(2) Washington Capitals vs. (4) Pittsburgh Penguins
This is going to be a great series for the NHL. Hopefully it will be nationally televised and everyone can see that hockey is the greatest sport on the planet.
Ovechkin, Crosby, and Malkin—what a great series. Washington is more consistent though, and the Pens are a bunch of whiny punks.
Caps in six.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (4) Chicago Blackhawks
This is a tough one, because Chicago will be coming off an easy five-game series and San Jose will be coming off a brutal seven-game series with the Ducks.
Chicago has been playing great and “won” the season series 2-1-1, but one was still an overtime loss, so I consider it a tie. It is really a toss up.
Sharks in seven.
(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks
This is a really tough call as well, because Vancouver killed the Wings in the season series 3-0-1. Detroit has not shown good goaltending all season long, while the Canucks have a great goalie in Luongo.
Part of me says the Wings will step it up because they are the Red Wings, and it’s the playoffs, but another part of me says that the Wings survived all season long with their great offense, scoring 3.5 goals a game, but still giving up three goals a game.
If Luongo can stop the high-powered Wings offense even in the slightest, then the Canucks have this series, no doubt. But Luongo has limited playoff experience and has not proven himself when he has been in the playoffs.
Good series either way. As a Wings fan, it kills me, but the Wings have not been consistent enough. I hope I’m wrong, but...
Canucks in seven.
THIRD ROUND/CONFERENCE FINALS
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (2) Washington Capitals
What happens when an unstoppable force (Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, the rest of the Caps' high-powered offense, and defenseman Mike Green) meets an immovable object (Zdeno, Chara, the Bruins defense, and Tim Thomas in net)?
This will be a great series, no doubt. I’m going to go with the Caps, because they won the season series and are hungry for the Cup.
Capitals in six.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks
At this point, both teams will be coming off of two seven-game series’, so there is no handicap there. But as I said before, I think the Ducks will have an affect on the Sharks because they will rough them up pretty good.
Anyway, thanks to the Ducks and some possible injuries they cause to the Sharks, the Canucks take this one and go to the Cup just in time for the Winter Olympics in 2010 to be held in Vancouver.
Canucks in seven.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
(2) Washington Capitals vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks
I am probably way off here because the Capitals' defense is not this good to get them to the Cup—but hey, anything can happen, it’s the playoffs.
Anyway, I’m totally taking the Caps here because they will have had shorter series and Ovechkin’s passion will carry this team. He will win the Conn Smythe and be named Captain next year. (Hopefully, it all depends on how well his English gets!)
My dream Stanley Cup Finals would be Red Wings vs. Capitals.
Capitals in 6
2009 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS: WASHINGTON CAPITALS