Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One Man's take on the 1st Round of NHL Playoffs 09'...

As we all count down to the drop of the puck for Game #1 tomorrow night in the Garden, I figured I'd share my take on what looks like it could be among the most exciting and competitive NHL Playoffs ever! Even the traditional #1 verses #8 first round match ups look to be tight and tough to call and that the next TWO MONTHS of hard nosed hockey won't be for the faint of heart... Anyway here's my Round #1 picks by match up which I'll update heading into the next round:

Eastern Conference

#1 Boston Bruins vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens

I fully expect that we'll all see the usual HIGH intensity (and at times the unexplainable nonsense...) right from the first shift to the last horn between these two Original 6, Blood Rivals but I simply think that the Bruins are the better team this time around and that they'll show it from start to finish. The Pick- B's in 5

#2 Washington Caps vs. #7 NY Rangers

This one boils down to the Caps potent offense vs. the Rangers Super Goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Curious to see what if anything that dope Sean Avery will bring to this match up and if he can take some of the Cap's stars off their games? Regardless The Pick is- Cap's in 6

#3 NJ Devils vs. #6 Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes' finished the regular season as one of the NHL's hottest teams, so there seems little doubt what to expect from them in the opening round of the playoffs. The New Jersey Devils are a different story, despite winning four of the final five games... Something interesting to keep in mind is that the team that won Game 1 in these teams' previous three playoff meetings has gone on to win the series. The Pick: Hurricanes in 6

#4 Pittsburgh Pen's vs. #5 Philly Flyers

This one ought to be crazy... It's common for playoff opponents to talk about not liking each other, but the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins truly don't! They haven't since the moment they entered the NHL together as expansion teams in 1967 and keeping with that theme this one should have it all and I think will be a BATTLE that ultimately comes down to the fact that the Flyers blew the chance for round #1 home ice advantage last weekend with a mail in job verses the Rangers. The Pick: The Pens in 7

Western Conference

#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Anaheim Ducks

Could the Playoff "Curse of Jumbo Joe" jump up and bite the Sharks (again..) and implode what's been a successful regular season for them? This can't be the match up San Jose wanted having to stare down the surging Ducks in what will be a "fun", Cali on Cali crime... I'm thinking Anaheim's blue liners will do a number on the Sharks wingers but that goalie Evgeni Nabokov will somehow come up BIG and save the Shark's (at least in this round) The Pick: The Sharks in 6

#2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #7 Columbus Blue Jackets

As much as I'd like to point out the huge question mark the Wings' have in net with Chris Osgood and then when you add in the fact that the Blue Jackets & their Calder worthy goalie Steve Mason really have been a great story this season and that they well may be this years Playoff Cinderella. The pick should be easy right? "Upset Special" right? Well then I remember that the Wings just captured their fourth Cup in 11 seasons last year and that they roll with guys named Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Hossa... Then I say... OK I get it... The Pick: Wings in 5

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 St. Louis Blues

While I think we all know and can agree that Blues goalie Chris Mason isn't in Roberto Luongo's class in either reputation and skill. I on the other also think we need to question why he (Luongo) still has never found a away to carry over his usual regular season brilliance into the post season after all these years? And since I'm no Dr. Phil, I'm thinking that we should just expect this lack of Playoff success to continue for Berto' and his boys and as such The Pick is: Blues in 7

#4 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #5 Calgary Flames

I like this match up on pure mutual skill and young star power with the Hawks' dressing Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, ex-B's prospect Kris Versteeg and the Flames rolling out rugged and skilled winger Jarome Iginla among others in the end I think like most close Playoff match ups this one will be decided by goaltending which in this case could be a GREAT match up between Flames workhorse goalie Miikka Kiprusoff verses the all but forgotten Nikolai Khabibulin from Chicago. I'm not sure if it's the fact that Mike Keenan's behind the Flames bench or that trade deadline pick up Olli Jokinen was initially red hot but has gone cold of late? but The Pick is: Blackhawks in 7

Regardless of all this we're now within 30 hours or so of the drop of the puck at the Garden! So it's time I begin to gear it up and get ready for "The Running of the Bears" - Go Broounze! KingKrej46

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