2011 NHL Playoffs Predictions: Top 10 Pre-Playoff Questions

Kamal PanesarCorrespondent IApril 13, 2011

2011 NHL Playoffs Predictions: Top 10 Pre-Playoff Questions

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    With the start of the 2011 NHL playoffs only a few hours away, the anticipation and excitement has reached fever pitch!

    The playoffs is always a great time of year, as the play on the ice is—generally speaking—superb and the enjoyment off of it is equally spectacular. In addition, the playoffs tend to spin off a lot of story lines as the teams wage war in the trenches.

    So before the puck drops tonight, I thought I'd steal out of my Hockeybuzz.com colleague's (Eric Engels) book and throw out my top 10 pre-playoff questions.

    Read them, love them and post your answers in the comment section!

    So here we go, in no particular order...

1: Vancouver Canucks/Chicago Blackhawks

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    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Can the Vancouver Canucks get past their playoff nemesis—the Chicago Blackhawks—in the first round?

2: Roberto Luongo and the Canucks

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    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Can Roberto Luongo silence his critics and lead the Canucks to the promised land?

3: Another Miracle in Montreal?

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Do the Montreal Canadiens have another miracle run in them or will they be a "one-and-done" team this year?

4: Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Can Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks finally make a legitimate playoff run, or are they destined to be a regular-season success that fizzles in the postseason?

5: Who's the New Jaroslav Halak?

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Will Pekka Rinne be this year's Jaroslav Halak? And if so, how far will he lead the Nashville Predators?

6: Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Are the Washington Capitals really a changed team and can their new style of play lead them to a championship this year?

7: Guy Boucher and the Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Can and will Guy Boucher's turnaround of the Tampa Bay Lightning continue in the postseason, or will the cracks start to show?

8: Chris Pronger and the Philadelphia Flyers

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Is the loss of Chris Pronger too much for the Philadelphia Flyers to overcome?

9: A Repeat for the Chicago Blackhawks?

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Can the Chicago Blackhawks—minus Dustin Byfulgien, Andrew Ladd and others—repeat after backing into the playoffs?

10: Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Can Pittsburgh get it done without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby?

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