NHL Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference
1 Montreal vs 8 Boston
Is there any more one-sided series than the Canadiens and Bruins. Boston was brutal against Montreal this regular season and not a lot of signs are pointing at Boston making the second round. Savard and Bergeron are playing banged up and Carey Price is unstoppable lately. With all-do-respect for the Bruins, this will be the only sweep in the first round. Habs in 4.
2 Pittsburgh vs 7 Ottawa
You can call it throwing the game, but I see it as very strategic play. The Penguins obviously stack up way better against a dysfunctional Sens squad. If Pittsburgh had won their last game of the season against the Flyers, they would face them again in the playoffs. Philadelphia is a much more physical team than Pittsburgh is, and that could take its toll on the Pens in a best-of-seven series. Ottawa is going to have to get stellar goaltending by whomever it may be (Gerber or Emery) in order to make round 2. No Alfredsson and no Fisher makes the task even more challenging, but this series is far from a sure thing for the Penguins. I say Penguins in 6
3 Washington vs 6 Philadelphia
The Capitals are flying high these days and I see no stop in the near future. Hot teams tend to go far in the playoffs, and that's why you can't not like their chances of advancing. I'm not saying they will win the Cup or even make the finals, but they should get through the first round. Philadelphia has been a back-and-forth team all year looking good at times and downright horrible at times. Biron has been shaky in net lately and Briere isn't 100%. I don't see much depth in the Flyers and I believe the Capitals will "fly" by them. Capitals in 6
4 New Jersey vs 5 New York
This is one of six division matchups this year in the first round. New York took the regular season series handily, and I see little reason to that changing in the postseason. Brodeur is still a top-notch goalie, but you have to score to win. New Jersey lacks a scoring punch and Lundqvist was great for the Rangers. Final pick: Rangers in 5
The greatest time of the year is about to begin, and I for one can't wait. To quote the voice of the Calgary Flames Peter Maher, "PLAYOFFS...YAAAAA BABY!!!"
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