Playoff time! I know the Stars aren’t in it, but I watch the playoffs anyway. Why? Because there is nothing in sports like the NHL playoffs.
The playoffs bring amazing stories. Think last year’s Cardiac Canes. Ovechkin vs. Crosby. Ray Bourque. Cinco de Morrow. Game 6 in Buffalo. Unforgettable moments that you appreciate as a hockey fan.
Now, I’m not one to make predictions. I’ll leave that one to the experts. Rather, I analyze each team’s chances. Here we go…
Washington vs. Montreal
Why Washington Will Win: They have the best offense in the entire league. A team with such superstars as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Semin is bound to be. They’ve shown in the regular season that you can win with pure offense. Jose Theodore has fought personal demons (his son’s death) all year long and has a great chance to win the Masterton. He’s seemingly back to his 2002 Hart Trophy form. He’s had shaky playoffs in recent years, but who’s to say that that will continue? The Caps are the real deal and I could see them winning not only this series, but the Cup.
Why Montreal Will Win: Special teams could spell a Habs victory. Their powerplay is second only to the Caps’ and they have a much better PK than Washington. Jaroslav Halak has been magical at times and he could steal the series. Don’t count on the Habs taking the series, but you never know. Stranger things have happened.
New Jersey vs. Philadelphia
Why NJ Will Win: They have Martin Brodeur, pure and simple. That should be enough to take a playoff series, don’t you think? Having the awesomely amazing Jamie Langenbrunner doesn’t hurt, either.
Why Philly Will Win: They have a great regular season record against the Devils and that could very well translate to a postseadon victory. Brian Boucher could steal the series, as he stole Game 1. This series is an upset waiting to happen.
Buffalo vs. Boston
Why Buffalo Will Win: Besides the Ryan Miller factor, don’t you think they’re about due for a Cup? I’ll maintain my position that it was a goal, but maybe there is a curse on Dallas. You know, they won’t win another Cup until Dallas does. I’m personally pulling for a Sabres Cup for that reason. It’s selfish, I know. But I honestly like Buffalo and their chances.
Why Boston Will Win: Knowing Buffalo, something always goes wrong. Always.
Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa
Why Pittsburgh Will Win: They’re the Pens. They win everything. Having Bettman and the rest of the NHL front office to back them up doesn’t hurt either. The Pens can count on another postseason full of free calls, free everything. It’s how they roll.
Why Ottawa Will Win: The Pens have played to the Cup final for two straight years. That’s a lot of hockey and they could get tired quickly. Wear and tear has already shown on Evgeni Malkin and others. The Sens could take advantage of a flat Pens team and steal some games. Like Game 1, for instance. Plus, you’ve got the Brian Elliott factor. Elliott’s a youngster and he could shine a la Cam Ward.
That’s my East analysis. I’ll find some time to do a West one.
Make it happen.