NHL Predictions Are Like... (Opening Round Thoughts)
The time where one stays up all night watching a game two five-OT 1-1 game, wall-to-wall hockey coverage across the board, and TSN finally lets the monkey out—I'm talking to you Pierre McGuire!)
The season brought some surprises—and like it or not, there's a 50 percent chance your favorite team is out of the playoffs.
However, those odds increase greatly if you are located in a Canadian Province starting with the letter O.
The Eastern Conference (or as NBC refers to it: The NHL Premiership)
No. 1 Boston vs No. 8 Montreal
Yes we all fully understand the tradition of these two teams, and how this may be their 802nd time meeting in the postseason.
But look at the stats. Tim Thomas is playing amazingly, even if its because he knows Bigfoot (err...Zdeno) will eat his face if he doesn't. (Seriously, ask one Patrick "Missing Person" Lalime).
Look for a Boston sweep, and a Kostitsyn brother in cement shoes.
Boston in four.
No. 2 Washington vs No. 7 New York Rangers
What a difference a year makes. After scraping into the playoffs last year, the Caps have been on fire all year long.
By contrast, the Rangers have looked lost most of the year, until Glen Sather went bankrupt, and John Torterella decided to stop making James Duthie cry and instead coach Sean Avery.
Look for Markus Naslund this series, because odds are you wont be able to find him.
Washington in five.
No. 3 New Jersey vs No. 6 Carolina
Zach Parise has been a man possessed, and looks to join a huge list of players who will be yelled at by Lou Lamarillo for not playing defensively enough. Too bad the defensive corps is a shadow of its old self.
Carolina is a place where no one plays hockey. Ever. Therefore:
Carolina in six.
No. 4 Pittsburgh vs No. 5 Philadelphia
The battle of Pennsylvania will catch fire again, as these two teams could actually murder each other. Look for Mike Richards to catch Gino Malkin with his head down again, and Daniel Briere to catch fire and carry Philly on his back.
Philly in six.
The Western Conference (AKA who?)
No. 1 San Jose vs. No. 8 Anaheim
The battle of California finally begins, and the big question mark of Joe Thornton will be answered fully this time around. Added with Evgeni Nabokov and Dan "the Lion-Hearted" Boyle this team will be a juggernaut.
Unless Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermeyer play like there aren't a combined 87 years old, this one could get nasty quick.
San Jose in five.
No. 2 Detroit vs. No. 7 Columbus
The defending champs should have a handle on their division rival, who probably aren't even aware they need to show up for the playoffs. With the Blue Jackets being a team with good defence, a superstar sniper, and the hottest goalie around, they should be content rolling over for the Wings.
Detroit is a team that will either surge hard to the finals or burn out quickly to a inferior team. Too Bad Chris Chelios is still a douchebag, Marian Hossa is a born loser, and Ty Conklin will never win anything.
Columbus in five.
No. 3 Vancouver vs No. 6 St. Louis
Two teams that most had missing the playoffs have been the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break.
Many question still arise from both sides. Will Luongo and Mason be able to put up with the boring play of both teams? Will Keith Tkachuk suddenly become aware he is still playing for the Blues?
Or at worst, will Alexandre Burrows realize he as to carry the clutch-less Swedish twins?
Vancouver in six.
No. 4 Chicago vs No. 5 Calgary
The Flames will finally be able to ice a team of more than eight players, after Darryl Sutter once again screams things up. And while Iginla's greatness should offset Bertuzzi's laziness, the fact that Mike Keenan is their coach should equal bad karma.
On the other side, two young guns are riding high on a team that now doesn't draw 40 percent attendance on a given night. All hail whatever killed Wirtz!
Chicago in seven.
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