It took me quite awhile to figure out what to write about in my first article. Seeing as I've been told a few times that I'm a loud mouth and can be quite opinionated at times, I figured I may as well show my arrogance and spoil the Stanley Cup playoffs for everyone.
Forget about the suspense and intrigue of the NHL's second season, because I will tell you EXACTLY how it will play out (OK, maybe not exactly, but I'm going to say that my predictions will be pretty damn close). So, without further adieu, here are my predictions all the way to the Stanley Cup winner.
Eastern Conference: Round One
Montreal Canadiens (1) vs. Boston Bruins (8)
In case you've been hiding under a rock since the lock out, the Habs have essentially owned the Bruins, winning 11 straight. No reason for this domination to end now. Both teams have key injuries, but I feel the Bruins' injuries affect the team more than the injuries that the Habs are facing. I say Habs in five.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. Ottawa Senators (7)
The Ottawa Senators lost their heart and soul when they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs last Thursday, as hockey fans witnessed Mark Bell beat down the Sens on his own. When the Sens lose this series the Pens should send Bell a fruit basket or some potpourri as a thank you for giving them a huge assist.
Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher are huge components to the Sens success, and with out them, Ottawa will tank. The scary part about this whole situation is not the problems that Ottawa is facing at this moment (that's an article for another day), but we've yet to see the Penguins firing on all cylinders this year. I say Pens in five.
Washington Capitals (3) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (6)
The Capitals are flying high, and the Flyers, to me, are looking just average. This year is not the Flyers' year. Their youth needs to grow, then they will be a force to reckon with.
Yes, I know the Caps are just as young, if not younger, but they have all the momentum in the world and they will be this year's sweetheart team. I say Capitals in six.
New Jersey Devils (4) vs. New York Rangers (5)
Even though these are two of the lower-scoring teams in the league this past season, I feel this will be one of the better first-round matchups. We have a heated cross-town rivalry in one of the biggest markets in the NHL.
I love Marty Brodeur. I think he's the greatest goalie to ever live, but I just think the Rangers are just too strong for them. There's a reason why the Rangers beat the Devils seven times this year. Even though I threw that stat out, don't be fooled you. This will be a long series. Rangers in seven.
Western Conference: Round One
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. Nashville Predators (8)
Detroit is once again looking to prove that they can make it in the playoffs. Nashville is spent from battling for a playoff spot. I say the Wings walk right through the Preds in five, once again proving that Nashville is nothing more then a playoff contender and not a Stanley Cup contender.
San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Calgary Flames (7)
Yes, the Flames owned the Sharks this year, but the Sharks have been one of the hottest teams in the league the last two months. Plus the Sharks have something to prove as they have been nothing more than a playoff disappointment the past few years. I say Sharks in six.
Minnesota Wild (3) vs. Colorado Avalanche (6)
Honestly, I'd have to flip a coin to pick a winner in this series. Both teams have the ability to surprise a team or two in the playoffs, but both teams have had to deal with inconsistent goaltending this year. I say Wild in seven, only because I'll be rooting for them.
Anaheim Ducks (4) vs. Dallas Stars (5)
The curse on Marty Turco will continue this year. The Stars have been free falling since the trade deadline, and the Ducks have a lot going for them. They have arguably the best D-corps ever put together on an NHL team. They are the defending Stanley Cup champs and if need be, they'll just beat the crap out of you. I say Ducks in six.
Eastern Conference: Round Two
Montreal Canadiens (1) vs. New York Rangers (5)
Do you believe in miracles? At times I do, but more so, I'm very superstitious and I believe in the ghosts of the Forum. I also think Montreal's miraculous come from behind game in February will haunt the Rangers. It's a shame that these two teams have to meet in the second round, as this would be a phenomenal conference final. I say Habs in seven.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. Washington Capitals (3)
This is the NHL's dream matchup. They will be able to market this one like there is no tomorrow. Crosby vs. Ovechkin could be the NHL's version of Magic vs. Bird. At least that's what the league is hoping for.
Plus, factor in that these two teams faced each other in the playoffs a number of times throughout the '90s, this has the makings of being THE series of the playoffs. So, who to pick here? I see Crosby besting Ovechkin where it matters the most ,and that's the wins column. I say Penguins in six.
Western Conference: Round Two
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. Anaheim Ducks (4)
The Ducks are just too physical for this fragile Red Wings team. With Anaheim crashing the net the way they do, Hasek will be at his finest, which is flopping around like a sniper just hit him from the nose bleeds. I say Ducks in six.
San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Minnesota Wild (3)
I'll be cheering for the Wild, but this is as far their run will go. San Jose is just too beastly and they will tame the Wild. Sorry for the cheese-ball joke. I say Sharks in five.
Eastern Conference: Round Three
Montreal Canadiens (1) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
The ghosts of the Forum will haunt Crosby and the Penguins. This may be the start of a classic rivalry that will last many, many years as both of these teams are full of premier, youthful talent. I say Habs in seven.
Western Conference: Round Three
San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Anaheim Ducks (4)
The Sharks will finally get the monkey off their back. The Ducks will run out of gas after a long season which saw them have a short summer, and a trip to Europe. The Ducks just aren't as offensive as last year. I say Sharks in six.
Stanley Cup Final
San Jose Sharks vs. Montreal Canadiens
The Sharks are big a team with speed to burn. The Habs are probably a faster team, but they will have a tough time defending against the size of the Sharks. While I've been preaching that the Habs will have history and the ghosts of the forum on their side throughout the playoffs, the Sharks will have a greater desire to win this because their window of opportunity is quickly closing. I say Sharks in five.
There you have it readers. My comprehensive Stanley Cup playoffs predictions. No need to watch the playoffs now that I have ruined it all for you. Enjoy!