Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Stanley Cup Quarterfinal (predictions)

1. San Jose v. 8. Colorado

This has the potential to be a tough, rugged, grind 'em out series, because the Avs have a young, vibrant group that will not be intimidated by the talent the Sharks can throw out there. I think the Sharks will be had somewhere along the lines in the playoffs because I think they lack the toughness to go all the way. Talent alone will only carry you so far, but I think Colorado will have a tough time on a consistent basis matching the production of Thornton-Heatley-Marleau. I do like Stastny, Hejduk, Stewart and Co. but not as much as the Sharks' talented trio. I would have picked this to go the distance, but Anderson has fallen back to earth in goal for the Avs. But I'm not all that impressed with Nabokov either.

2. Chicago v. 7. Nashville
This is a very intriguing matchup for me, one that keeps pointing to the Predators for me in several categories. The main one being in goal. Rinne is hands down the best goalie in this series. This guy, despite being a playoff newbie, can steal a game on any given night, while I think Niemi has played admirably for the Blackhawks, he will not shine as much as Nashville's Finnish Flash! The Blackhawks have the decisive edge up front with Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp and Co., but they are beat up on the blue line (still no Campbell and Johnsson) and Nashville's blue liners headed by Weber and Suter are vastly underrated. I think each team will play well in spurts, but Rinne will steal at least 2 games for the Preds, who have yet to win a playoff series in franchise history, so I'll go out on a limb here. ...
PREDATORS in an upset, in 6

3. Vancouver v. 6. Los Angeles
I have never been a big fan of the Canucks and the way they play, but this team can really go a long way and play for the Stanley Cup as long as some pieces fall into place. For starters, Luongo must play like he did against the Blues last season and not like he did against the Blackhawks. If the Canucks get the Luongo of the Blues, they go a long way. If not, well. ... The Sedins have had a banner season, especially Henrik. They are so balanced with their forward lines, and their D-unit is playing as well as it ever has. The Kings were a darkhorse team for me about a month ago, but Quick has fallen back to earth in goal (maybe Terry Murray has over-used his netminder) and they're getting carved up on their back line. Doughty looks tired at times and Jack Johnson has been very inconsistent. Kopitar must play like a beast for the Kings to have a chance. I don't see it happening.

4. Phoenix v. 5. Detroit
This is such an intriguing matchup on all fronts. The 'Yotes are back in the playoffs for the first time since Pierre Turgeon beat Nikolai Khabibulin in Game 7 of the west quarters in 1999 and helped the Blues win that series 4-3. Dave Tippett gets my vote as coach of the year. Who would have thought he could take this cast of characters and mold them into one of the Western Conference's most consistent teams? I like Bryzgalov in goal, and I feel like he will outshine Jimmy Howard of Detroit, but Detroit's forwards are so much more skilled and -- more importantly -- they're healthy. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and then throw in Rafalski and Lidstrom on D, and you have a mini dynasty. The 'Yotes can match Detroit's flash and dash, since they play a similar style, but the experience factor gives the the edge in this one. It will be among the quarterfinals' best but a mild upset is brewing.
RED WINGS in an upset, in 7

1. Washington v. 8. Montreal
OK, Jaroslav Halak is better in goal than anything Washington has. That's a given. But let me run this list by you: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Green, Laich, Knuble, Fleischmann. Enough said. I could care less if the Capitals are weak in goal. Won't matter.

2. New Jersey v. 7. Philadelphia
At the beginning of the season, I thought the Devils would be a team to be reckoned with in the East. They still could be. Any time you have Marty Brodeur locked in/zoned in, you're in good shape. New Jersey has such a well-rounded team from top to bottom that you have to respect their skills along with their toughness and grit that they have the ability to go a long way. Parise, Elias and Co. now have Kovalchuk to go along up top to make this a pretty potent offense. Let's see if the Devils can get one-dimensional Ilya to play a two-way game in the playoffs. But the Flyers, who slipped in on the final day of the regular season, have a unit that has skill and can bully you around on the ice. I love Mike Richards and the addition of Chris Pronger makes that squad dangerous. There's one problem: Brian Boucher. Can he beat Brodeur. Um, in a word: NO.

3. Buffalo v. 6. Boston
This is an interesting matchup. It's one that I see a lot of low-scoring games (Ryan Miller and Tuukka Rask will see to that) and the team that plays the smartest and stays out of the box wins. Neither has that explosive, go-to scorer that can carry a team, although Thomas Vanek has that ability for Buffalo. I think the difference here is if Boston can get enough pucks at Miller to get him out of his comfort zone, which I can't see happening. The Sabres have the edge in depth on all four lines and I believe can have success on the power play despite the Bruins' solid penalty kill unit. This will be Rask's first playoff series and although I see him showing flashes of brilliance, Miller is the guy to go with here. But this will be a drawn-out series and one that can go the distance but ...

4. Pittsburgh v. 5. Ottawa
The most interesting matchup of the first round in the East. Both are talented, both have studs but the difference between moving on and falling off in this series is this: the Penguins have some guy named Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury is so much more battle-tested than Brian Elliott. Fleury has shown he can shine in the rigors of the postseason. Each team will win on the road. This one will have some goals scored, as both teams are loaded with offensive players, but the Senators will miss Kovalev's experience here. If the Penguins get rolling like they have in the previous two postseasons, watch out. Ottawa will give the Penguins a scare but ...
Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only and in no way do I call myself an expert. So take them with a grain of salt and know it's just my opinion and in no way am I hating on any teams.


  1. So you do not believe any team will sweep in the first round?

  2. The teams are too closely bunched together, so no, I can't see any sweeps. If there will be one, it'll be Washington over Montreal.