My hope is that the Caps sweep the Rangers, the Lightening pounds the Penguins and the Sabres destroy the Flyers.
So I have a reason to watch the playoffs, I've chosen the Coyotes as my team to root for. That organization is in a tough situation. They may not even be in Phoenix next year, so I think it would be a great story if they won, considering what they have went through this year.
Imagine if they raised a Phoenix Coyote Stanley Cup banner in Winnipeg next year. How crazy would that be?
Or maybe, a Stanley Cup brings the people in Phoenix together to rally around the team and the Coyotes stay put. Sounds like a Hollywood movie.
WSH vs NYR - WSH in 5, and not even because I hate the Rag$... in previous years I'd give them more of a chance (or even go for a possible NYR upset), but I think Washington has learned their lesson about trying a Go-Go-Gordon style come April and will be a viable threat this time.
PHI vs BUF - BUF in 6, Philly has been looking pretty bad lately and Buffalo seems to have an uncanny ability to turn it on in the playoffs no matter where they finish in the standings (kinda like Carolina). If Miller is not 100% then this series could easily go in Philly's favor, but if he is, don't be surprised if Buffalo knocks the Flyers off like they did in '06.
BOS vs MTL - MTL in 7, they always seem to find a way against Boston in the POs (even though the Bs crushed them last time around). Price has been playing like the guy the front office prayed he'd become when they decided to trade Halak, and I have a feeling Boston's still shell-shocked from last year's historic choke.
PIT vs TB - TB in 6, the 4-5 matches are always tough to call and this one's no exception. Will the Pens be able to roll forward without Malkin and (maybe?) Crosby, or will the new blood in TB plus the grizzled vet in goal emerge? IMO, if Crosby does not come back, Tampa gets the nod.
West(note: this was my first season in a long time without Center Ice, so my west predictions are probably even worse than usual)
VAN vs CHI - VAN in 5, this Chicago team is a shadow of its former self and a sad victim of the salary cap. The whole western conference is an embarrassing reflection of the "parity" ideal as I find it disturbing that there's a 2-point spread between 4th and 8th, but that's neither here nor there... this might finally be Vancouver's year and I cannot see this Hawks team knocking them off.
SJ vs LA - SJ in 6, another tough choice but I think their experience (including a solid goalie who hoisted last year's Cup instead of choker-ass Nabokov) will give them the edge over the still relatively-green Kings.
DET vs PHX - PHX in 7, getting revenge for last year. I know the Wings have had some injury trouble lately, whereas last year they got healthy just in time for the POs and made for a good sleeper pick. If DET's usual heroes are not 100% then I feel Phoenix will sneak by this time.
ANA vs NSH - NSH in 6, I honestly have no idea here so this is a blatant "homer" pick as I'd really like to see Nashville get past the first round... if only for Barry Trotz.
Washington over NYR - 5 games (Not because they are the NYR, but I just think they're a really bad hockey team. Henrik might steal one game)
Philly over Buffalo - 7 games (I'm kinda cheering for Buffalo. Gerbe/Ennis - love the way they play)
Boston over Montreal - 7 games (Montreal may surprise in this one!)
Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay - 6 games (Roloson will be the best TBay player - but not enough even against a decimated Pens team)
Chicago over Vancouver - 7 games (Luongo was cursed the day he left the Island)
San Jose over Los Angeles - 6 games (Pavelski is better in the playoffs than reg season)
Detroit over Phoenix in - 7 games (Datsyuk/Zetts/Lidstrom back and healthy. Phoenix may surprise though)
Nashville over Anaheim - 7 games (First ever playoff series win)
CUP: Detroit over Washington in 7 games.
I'm putting together individual threads for each series. As you've seen, series kicking-off tonight are already up, ones starting tomorrow will be up by tonight or early tomorrow time permitting.
Could put one big, all-encompassing mega-thread together, but I thought it might interesting to give this a try. This way, we can keep the discussion amongst our board which I'm guessing will mean less trolling, pointless bickering, etc, etc. With the Isles coming off a promising year and seemingly ready to turn the corner next season (), I'm guessing they'll be some increased interest in the post-season around these parts.
And as many of you know, I'm kinda confined to the couch recovering from ankle surgery, so yes, I have too much time on my hands at the moment.