Good for Stamkos getting 60 goals. Good for him, good for the team, good for the league. Something to build on for the Ning next season.
Rangers looked bad last night against the Caps. Not sure if they just didn't try hard because they had the #1 seed locked up and didn't want to overexert themselves, or if it's a pretense of how they will play in the playoffs. Hopefully it was just a fluke game and they'll be focused against the Sens.
Loc: Bayonne, NJ, USA
Now that the Playoff matchups are set in stone it's time for predictions...
Here are mine:
East Round 1
#1 NYR vs #8 OTT - Rangers in 6 or 7
^ OTT is the last team we wanted to face in the first round. The Rangers could be in big trouble here. WASH or FLA would definitely be easier matchups.
#2 BOS vs #7 WASH - Bruins in 6
Wash doesn't have the goaltending to beat BOS IMHO. When BOS is playing at their best Thomas is nearly unbeatable and they can score 6 goals a game.
#3 FLA vs #6 NJD - Devils in 5
I honestly don't know much about Florida but the Devils always show up big in the postseason.
#4 PIT vs #5 PHIL - Flyers in 7 (call it a hunch)
^ Best matchup of the first round. These two teams hate each other and I expect this series to get pretty nasty.
West Round 1
#1 VAN vs #8 LAK - unfortunately Canucks in 5
The Kings are my 3rd favorite team. Quick is an elite goalie but their offensive struggles are well known. Playing VAN up there is a nightmare for most teams. Unless Luongo chokes big time I can't see VAN not winning this series easily.
#2 STL vs #7 SJS - Blues in 7
Interesting matchup that could go either way. Gotta give the goaltending edge to STL and the offensive edge to SJS.
#3 PHX vs #6 CHI - Blackhawks in 6
Chicago is my 2nd favorite team. PHX has been playing great lately but Chicago usually plays pretty good in the postseason.
#4 NASH vs #5 DET - Predators in 6
Detroit is the one team that can win it any given year. That being said Nashville is an upcoming team with a great goalie. I can see the Preds winning a few low scoring games.
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Don't think Ottawa can shut down the Ranger offense. Craig Anderson is capable of stealing some games, but I don't think he will.
WASHINGTON over BOSTON in 7
I think Ovechkin is going to play better with a little less expected of his team this year. They need Backstrom to play well. I don't think Thomas is going to be as good as last year's playoffs.
NEW JERSEY over FLORIDA in 6
Parise and Kovalchuk will just be too much for Florida. Brodeur needs to be better than he's been the last few years in the playoffs though.
PHILADELPHIA over PITTSBURGH in 7
Based entirely on who I'll be cheering for. Tortorella pretty much summed up everything about how dirty Crosby and Malkin are, and I'm tired of hearing how Crosby can do no wrong. Mainly hope it goes 7 because it should be awesome!
LOS ANGELES over VANCOUVER in 7
Probably another cheering-for pick. Don't think Daniel will be 100% for this series. I think the Kings will be able to generate just enough offense on choking Luongo.
ST LOUIS over SAN JOSE in 6
Can't see San Jose creating enough scoring chances. Not much playoff experience for St Louis though.
CHICAGO over PHOENIX in 5
Just too much firepower for the Blackhawks, especially if Toews comes back. Mike Smith is going to have to be spectacular.
NASHVILLE over DETROIT in 7
Should be a really good series. Too good on the blueline for the Preds and in net. Wouldn't mind seeing Detroit win, kinda want to see this whole Radulov thing blow up in Nashville's face.
New York are too strong. Ottawa will win at least one at home. I'd be surprised if the Rangers lost. I hope they win, they're my 2nd favourite team.
BOSTON over WASHINGTON in 6
Thomas will be good, even if not as dominant as last post-season. Boston are stronger anyway. Washington aren't playing well enough to beat Boston consistently at the moment.
NEW JERSEY over FLORIDA in 7
Devils should take this series, but stranger things have happened.
PITTSBURGH over PHILADELPHIA in 7
Should be a tough series. I think Pittsburgh are playing great hockey at the moment though. They're in the better form.
VANCOUVER over LOS ANGELES in 6
Could be a tough one. Don't think the Kings are up to it, though.
ST LOUIS over SAN JOSE in 7
This could go either way. Probably the hardest for me to predict. I 'ummed' and 'uhhed' over this for a bit.
PHOENIX over CHICAGO in 6
Mike Smith is dynamite. The Blackhawks tending is not. Chicago are my team, so I hope they win, but I don't want to tip them for fear of jinxing them, and I believe Phoenix have just as good a shot anyhows. Phoenix won 3 of the 4 times they met during the season.
DETROIT over NASHVILLE in 7
Seems to be a lot of people backing the Preds. I dunno, I feel Detroit will do it. They're always tough in the post season, and they'll be hard to top at home.