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What Is Up With the Playoffs?

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 28:   Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates after his game-winning goal at 19:28 in the third period against goaltender Martin Brodeur #30 and Mike Mottau #27 of the New Jersey Devils during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Prudential Center on April 28, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. Tghe Hurricanes defeat the Devils 4-3  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Heather ParryCorrespondent IApril 30, 2009

You would think that having ten years of avid NHL fandom behind me would give me a slight advantage over my rookie housemates in the annual Stanley Cup prediction game.

You'd be wrong.

The reason for this, I think, is that during the season all teams are relatively relaxed, and just go with the flow; they have plenty of time to make up for their mistakes.

When the post-season rolls around, however, they all sh*t their pants and go crazy.

Look at San Jose. They completely dominated the west all the way through the year, then went out in the first round in a haze of bad penalties, missed opportunities, and Joe Thornton's abject hatred of Ryan Getzlaf.

Despite having one of the best goaltenders in the league, they lose to Anaheim who've been battling goalie inconsistencies for a while.

Surely no one saw that coming.

It's the same with New Jersey.

Their 'boring', or as I prefer it, 'solid' style of play is perfectly suited to post-season hockey, hence why they consistently make the playoffs and have won Lord Stanley's mug three times in the last 14 years.

Brendan Shanahan is back with the boys and Brodeur finally broke Patrick Roy's record for the number of career wins just six weeks ago - giving rise to the awful phrase 'winningest goalie' which I'm sure isn't proper English, but I digress.

With all that in mind who would have predicted a few weeks ago that they'd allow two goals in 90 seconds to bomb out in the first round?

Not me.

Then there's the whole Rangers/Capitals debacle.

Laughable up until Tortorella's appointment, and then laughable again for their signing of league goon and general idiot Sean Avery, the Rangers never even looked like they were in contention for most of the season.

Washington, on the other hand, have been getting better and better. Building a core group of young players around the explosive Alexander Ovechkin has paid off, and even their problematic goalie situation has seemingly begun to resolve itself in the form of enigmatic rookie Simeon Varlamov.

So how did they get taken to a tense game seven by New York?

About the only result I could have guessed right was the Boston-Montreal series, and even then I would have thought that Koivu's crew would have put up a little more of a fight.

So it looks like my well-thought-out predictions are already screwed, and I'm going to lose out to rookies, leaving me with enough egg on my face to leave me completely unrecognisable, which will be useful to hide my shame.

The playoffs are crazy.

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