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04-06-2008, 06:22 PM
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Official Stanley Cup Playoffs Thread

Alright guys, it's that time of year that Panthers fans know as "scouting", the Stanley Cup playoffs! Sure we're not in it again, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy watching some of the other talented players go at it in 4 rounds of 7 game series that are sure to start/increase some rivalries.

Without further ado, here's the matchups for the first round. I'll give my picks and let's see who you think will win:

Round 1: Quaterfinals

Eastern Conference

(1) Montreal VS. (8) Boston
My Pick: Montreal, without question one of the bigger surprise hot teams this year but they've won the regular season East and are now primed to take it to one of their biggest rivals. One of the many divisional matchups, this one should be a doozy.

(2) Pittsburgh VS. (7) Ottawa
My Pick: Pittsburgh, not just because of Crosby and Malkin with the Pens having a solid tandem, but Ottawa is plain spiraling downwards. Their early winning shows that can get you into the playoffs, but the sheer number of injuries and uncertainties leads to a first round exist, and maybe a sweep to boot.

(3) Washington VS. (6) Philadelphia
My Pick: Washington, primarily because they have all the momentum going into the playoffs. But it's going to be closer than you think because Philly's super tough physical style could easily wear thin on the Caps into a potential seven game series, not to mention the amount of inexperience in D.C.

(4) New Jersey VS. (5) New York Rangers
My Pick: New York, and it's not an easy pick. NJ is not to be trifled with and this will be a major goaltending duel. However, when New York is able to push the game to their style they are tough to stop. Still this is a true 4/5 matchup because it's so close to call.

Western Conference

(1) Detroit VS. (8) Nashville
My Pick: Detroit, but in at least 6 games. Nashville is going to come on hard but just fall short. Detroit is just in the end, too much to handle. Such a great system is hard to get past but Nashville will not go quietly, no sir.

(2) San Jose VS. (7) Calgary
My Pick: San Jose, sorry, they are too dangerous and explosive now with the addition of Campbell. On top of which, while the Flames are a good team, Keenan is the major crux that could ruin them. The team moreover got there not because of, but despite Keenan, considering the amount of talent guys like Iginla, Phaneuf, and Kipper can put out there. It's still no match for Thornton and Co.

(3) Minnesota Vs. (6) Colorado
My Pick: Colorado, and I might regret that one. Chances are I undervalue what Minny can bring to the table but I love what the Avs can offer. Not just a return to their history but a major boost by adding back in Forsberg and getting Theodore back to his form. Somehow I know this is the upset I'll get wrong.

(4) Anaheim VS. (5) Dallas
My Pick: Anaheim, and not because Anaheim is so great, they really aren't this year (expect a 2nd round exit), but because Dallas just doesn't have enough to do it. Turco has been such an awful playoff goalie, Richards has fallen back to his old self and things aren't like they used to be in Dallas. Plus you probably don't want to mess with Scott Niedermayer in the playoffs.

So what do you guys think? The playoffs begin this Wednesday (matchup times to be announced). The East should especially be entertaining.

My hopeful final: San Jose VS. Washington.


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