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Playoff Predictions?
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Jehuty Niemi
League Admin

Whales
Posts: 97

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Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012

These are always fun, right?

As many of you probably know by now, the Stanley Cup playoffs are here, and since the forums have been so dreadfully quiet lately, I wanted to see what everyone's take is on who will win each series. I'll go ahead and list mine, and hopefully we'll get some more opinions on here. =^.^=

**Note: I tend to err on the side of favoritism here, but I'll try my best to back it up with some sort of reason.

Quarters

Rangers vs. Senators; Rangers win in 6

--Ottawa has given them trouble in the regular season and the Rangers have struggled heading into the postseason, so I think they can steal a couple of games, but I feel like New York will find their stride and move on. Ottawa did not close out the season on a strong note either, and the Rangers have a ton of solid talent this season. Kreider might make a splash too, and I see Lundqvist picking up his game again and catching fire.

Bruins vs. Capitals; Bruins in 5

--Boston has had a few injuries and is still without Horton, while the Caps have gotten their regular roster back in order, but the Bruins are still strong and have a lot of players from last year. Both teams ended their seasons on a strong note, but the Caps' play has been very up-and-down and there are still a lot of uncertainties surrounding them. I think the Bruins can shut down their star players and run with the series, especially if Holtby stumbles in net.

Panthers vs. Devils; Panthers in 7

--Ok, so maybe this one is a little hopeful, but I think these two teams are more evenly matched than some may give them credit for...they did break even in their season series, after all. It may likely come down to which team has a stronger will to move on, but I can see the series going the distance, and I just think it would be awesome to see Florida be able to get into the second round after being out of the playoffs for so long, and they have the ability to do it...not sure if I see them moving much farther, but it would still be a huge step forward for the franchise.

Penguins vs. Flyers; Flyers in 7

--This series is going to be a brawl. Two really evenly-matched teams who have different strengths, and it's hard to see the series going less than seven games, but I think the Flyers are going to be able to out-grind and rough up the Pens just enough to move forward. Gutsy win last night by the Flyers to come back from 3-0, too.

Canucks vs. Kings; Kings in 6

--As much as I dislike Vancouver, they're still a tough team to beat, but I think the Kings have their number this time. They've finally found their scoring touch, especially with the return of Carter, their defense is looking strong, and Quick has been amazing in net all season. There's no doubt that Vancouver is missing Daniel Sedin right now, but even though he's set to come back as soon as Game 2, it may not make much difference. LA's defense is one of the best in the league, and they were very effective in controlling the pace of the game last night. Vancouver looked timid and I think it'll take them another game or two to settle down, but by then it may be too late. I can see Quick stealing a couple of games, and it will likely be what pushes the Kings

Blues vs. Sharks; Sharks in 7

--The Blues swept the season series and outscored the Sharks badly, but they stumbled into the end of the season while the Sharks seem to have found the form that they started the season with. The playoffs are a whole different animal, and I think this one is going to be a battle. St. Louis has the better defense and goaltending, but the Sharks have the scoring touch that the Blues seem to lack, which may hurt them in the series. The problem for the Sharks here is their PK, which has been one of the worst in the league this season, so they will need to stay ultra-disciplined. Gotta go with my man Nemo too, he knows how to ramp it up when the time comes, and now that he has a little more help in front of him than last season, I think San Jose is going to be able to outscore the Blues just enough and pull off the win. This could easily go either way though, and a Kings-Blues matchup in the second round would be very interesting.

Coyotes vs. Hawks; Coyotes in 7

--Smith has been amazing and the rest of the Coyotes know how to play stable, responsible hockey. They may not have the scoring touch that the Hawks do by any means, but they know how to get the job done through all-around effort, and I think that's what will give them the edge in the series. Toews is back, making the Hawks that much more dangerous, but Phoenix has had Chicago's number in the regular season, so this is another tough one that I think could go either way. The series may hinge on how effective the Hawks' D and goaltending can be, both of which are streaky, but Phoenix is hungry and have deceptively good scoring, particularly from Whitney, Doan and Vrbata. I'm a big fan of both teams, but I think Phoenix is going to want it more. Would be awesome to see them finally get into the second round too.

Predators vs. Wings; Preds in 7

--By far the most evenly-matched series of the first round, I think. This one is going to get chippy in a hurry, especially after the throttling that Weber gave to Zetterberg at the end of the first game (very surprised that he only got a fine instead of a suspension). This series is the most likely one to go the full seven games; both teams are strong all-around, and the goaltending matchup between Rinne and Howard is going to be fun to watch. Nashville has really stepped up its scoring touch, but it's their defense and goaltending that I feel is going to make the difference; they are looking scary good right now, but you can never count out the Wings. If this series doesn't go the full length, I'll be shocked.

Semis

Rangers vs. Bruins; Rangers in 7

--If only this could be a conference final matchup, it would be a good old-fashioned Original Six series...both teams have a very hard-working mentality and are practically even in terms of their defense and goaltending. Thomas & Lundqvist would be an epic duel, and I think you could expect to see things get rough quickly. Boston & New York both have solid, balanced scoring, but I can see Gaborik stepping up and being one of the difference makers, giving the Rangers just enough of an offensive edge to take the series.

Panthers vs. Flyers; Flyers in 5

--This depends on how much of a toll their series with Pittsburgh would take on the Flyers, but I don't know if the Cats would be able to match the grittiness that Philadelphia has. Florida has a good team all-around and might be able to pull off another surprise in this scenario, especially if either Theodore or Clemmensen gets hot or if Bryz falters (again), but they didn't have much success against Philly in the regular season and it's tough to picture them being able to match the firepower and defensive strength that the Flyers have, barring any key injuries.

Sharks vs. Kings; Sharks in 7

--If both teams were to get out of the first round, which is very conceivable, it's likely that both would be riding a huge wave of momentum, making this a difficult matchup to predict. It would be the second year in a row that the teams face each other in the postseason, and if it were not for some heroics by the Sharks, it could easily have gone seven games and ended with the Kings moving on. I would have to give the advantage to San Jose here; for them to get past St. Louis, their forwards would have needed to solve one of the most rock-solid defenses in the league. Facing a similar situation against LA, I see no reason to think that they couldn't do it again, but on the flip side, the Kings would have had to stifle a very strong offense in Vancouver. San Jose's offense has been streaky and struggled often, but again, to get past St. Louis, I think their scoring would have to be red hot, and to carry that into a series against the Kings might give them just enough of an edge. LA has a good offensive unit and would definitely make San Jose pay for taking penalties, but I don't know if that will be enough to get them past the Sharks.

Coyotes vs. Predators; Preds in 6

--The Coyotes may still have some magic in them at this point, which would be a treat to see, and the teams did split their season series. If the Yotes were able to pull off a win, I think it would have to be in seven games, and I don't see either side winning any games by more than a one or two goal margin. Both teams play a very solid defensive game, but I don't think the Yotes would have enough offensive depth to get past the Preds' D units past Rinne. Smith would likely steal a game or two for Phoenix, but in the end I don't think it will be enough.

Conf. Finals

Rangers vs. Flyers; Rangers in 6

--Goaltending would be the key here, and I have more faith in Lundqvist to get the job done for his team than I do in Bryzgalov. Philly has a potent offense that would test the Rangers' depth, but at this point in the playoffs, I think the Flyers would miss Pronger more than ever, and it will start to show. The Rangers won 5 of their 6 meetings with Philly during the season and can keep up with the Flyers' offense despite scoring significantly fewer goals throughout the regular season, but unless Bryz is on top of his game, I don't know if Philly will be able to outplay the Rangers with their scorers alone.

Preds vs. Sharks; Preds in 6

--They split their season series, but I'm not sure if the Sharks would be able to contend with a team as balanced as Nashville is in an extended playoff battle. San Jose has had questions in all three positions at times during the season and I don't know if they would be able to match the consistency that the Preds bring to their game, and their energy level may falter at this point just as it has the past two seasons. Having said that, this would likely be a tough, protracted series, but Nashville has enough of an edge all around the ice to move to the finals.

Stanley Cup Finals

Rangers vs. Preds; Rangers in 7

--I think this is the year for the Blueshirts...the top half of the Eastern Conference has been much tougher this season than before, and for the Rangers to come out on top says a lot about the team's character and talent. This series would be a very tough draw, as both teams are so well-matched that it's hard to pick out any advantages for either side. A series like this would be a battle of attrition and there would likely be very few, if any, games that were decided by more than a single goal. Each team will have had to endure three very tough series to reach this point, and really it comes down to nothing but a gut feeling in this case. Conn Smythe winner would probably be a toss-up between Gaborik, Lundqvist, Rinne and Weber.


If I wanted to be as much of a homer as I could stand to be, though, here's how things would look:

Rangers in 6
Bruins in 5
Panthers in 5
Flyers in 7

Kings in 5
Sharks in 6
'Yotes in 7
Preds in 7
-----------
Bruins in 7
Panthers in 7

Sharks in 5
'Yotes in 7
-----------
Bruins/Panthers in 7

Sharks/Yotes in 7
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And then either way I'd be pretty happy.

If you made it this far, congratulations, you're awesome. Would be great to see what everyone else thinks, not necessarily in as many words. XD
Lane Scorpio

Moose
Posts: 32

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Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012

go sharks! :oD
Dyz Warburton
RETIRED
Posts: 20

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Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012

We'll be watching... If you're on it, I'll ask for your help picking some lotto numbers

Jehuty Niemi
League Admin

Whales
Posts: 97

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Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2012

Looks like I was all kinds of wrong...that's the magic of the playoffs. XD

Still rooting for the Coyotes, though...go get 'em, boys!
Hawke Rexen

RETIRED
Posts: 226

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Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012

Thats why I don't make predictions :P, they have a way of coming back and biting you in the rear :D. Regular season means nothing but your seeding in the playoffs, any team can go the distance. This should be an interesting year, I'm really interested on seeing how far the Coyotes can push forward as well. They are my favorites for these playoffs too. Not gonna say my only ones though, but top of the mark at least :D.
Jack Belvedere
League Admin

Storm
Posts: 3863

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Lane Scorpio

Moose
Posts: 32

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Posted: Sun May 6, 2012

ROFL... thanks jack...:o)
Lane Scorpio

Moose
Posts: 32

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Last Updated: Thu May 24, 2012

jehuty mourns the loss of the phoenix coyotes...
Jehuty Niemi
League Admin

Whales
Posts: 97

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Posted: Thu May 24, 2012

Yeah, I'm upset about it, but Laney is taking it harder than I am...poor thing. XD

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