Stanley Cup Playoffs: Day 12 Predictions

Chris BouthillierSenior Analyst IApril 26, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 23:  Johnny Oduya #29 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 23, 2009 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Sunday has a pair of games that could see two Southeast Division teams eliminated from the postseason.

The Washington Capitals travel to New York for a lunch date with the Rangers, while the Carolina Hurricanes will take on the New Jersey Devils at home in Raleigh. Games will be at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET respectively.

Chris' record after Day 11: 21-14

Eastern Conference

Washington (2) @ New York Rangers (7)—NYR lead 3-2

As I watched Game Five on Friday night, I couldn't help but notice that the flow of the game was similar to every other game in the series. The only difference: The Capitals needed to win just to avoid elimination.

Every Capital has outplayed every New York Ranger other than Henrik Lundqvist in this series and will once again need the first goal before the King can put up the wall.

Sean Avery is likely to be added back to the lineup, but that won't guarantee anything. In the third and fourth game, Avery took 22 PIMs, some of which proved costly to the Rangers in Game Three.

For Caps fans there are many reasons to be optimistic. Simeon Varlamov has held his own in the series, going save for save with Lundqvist. Though the Rangers net minder has had more work—including 30-plus shots from NHL goal leader Alex Ovechkin. Varlamov has picked up two shutouts in his last three starts.

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The suspension of coach John Tortorella should spark the Rangers, but how much of that spark will turn into a burning path to the penalty box for the returning Avery?

Tune in at 2:00 p.m. for your answer.

Game Six Winner: Washington

New Jersey (3) @ Carolina (6)—NJ leads 3-2

If an unnoticed trend continues in this series there is a good chance we will see game seven action.

No team has won more than one game at a time as the tide shifts to Carolina to pick up the win in Game Six. The Hurricanes were shut out 1-0 Thursday night in a battle between goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward.

I can place a safe bet and say that this game could turn into a goaltender duel once again, but the Hurricanes won't be going lightly. All bodies will be heading to the top of the blue paint. The 'Canes need to find a way to get the Devils' legendary goalie off his game.

At the other end, Cam Ward just has to be Cam Ward. He has played well throughout this series and has certainly held his team in during times when they would have been down and out.

Dare I say this game might even need overtime to solve its question?

Game Six Winner: Carolina


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