Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009 Playoff Journal Part 1

East Preview
1. Boston Bruins vs. 8. Montreal Canadiens
These teams meet once again, this time with the Bruins in the top slot and the Habs in the eight slot. Last season the Habs dominated the Bruins in the regular season, but still forced a game seven. This season it was the Bruins who dominated the Habs. If the last game was an indication of anything, then expect a nasty physical season between a heated rivalry. The loss of Markov will hurt the Habs chance of an upset. They'll need strong and consistent goaltending from Price to compete. Boston has cooled off lately, but they have a strong mobile defense, and a heavy arsenal of young firepower.
Prediction: Bruins in six

2. Washington Capitals vs. 7.New York Rangers
In the two hockey pools I saw, Rangers were avoided like the plague. Big mistake. This series features too high powered offenses with exciting players, and their share of defensive holes. I'm predicting lots of goals and back and forth chances. Having Lundqvist in nets for the Rangers gives them a shot of a first round upset. Gomez and Drury always show up to play in the playoffs. Washington looks better than last year, and Mike Green has emerged as the top defenensive weapon in the league. My only worries are about the man between the pipes. Like Huet, there is a reason that the Habs got rid of Theodore (other than his massive salary and Hell's angels biker friends)
Prediction: Capitals in seven

3. New Jersey Devils vs. 6. Carolina Hurricanes
This is another series that could tip either way. The stormwaters in Carolina have been gaining momentum lately, and the Devils have cooled off. But as the ol' cliche says: the playoffs are a new season, anything could happen. Both teams have unheralded defenses, lacking big names. (Joe Corvo and Paul Martin aren't exactly household names. Well maybe Paul Martin, but not THAT Paul Martin). Both teams have goaltenders who have won it all and proved they can step it up a notch come playoff time. A well rested and rejuevenated Brodeur will be scary, and the new found firepower of the Devils will be overwhelming. This is one storm the Canes will not be able to weather.
Prediction: Devils in six

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs 5. Philadalphea Flyers
First off I'd like to state how much I hate the Flyers. Now that I have that out of the way, this should be another intense round as the battle of Pennsylvania continues. The Flyers smash and bang there way into the win column while Pittsburgh does it with two hundred plus players in Malkin and Crosby. Both teams feature a plethora of young rising superstars. The Penguins have been phenomenal under new coach Dan Bylsma, and are better than their 5th place status may indicate. The Flyers on the other hand need somebody to step up and grab the starting job. While Nittymaki and Biron are figuring that out, the Pens will knock them out.
Prediction: Penguins in six

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