It's that time of year again! Time for my annual playoff predictions. Let's see if I can even get close to last year's Awesome 13-2 record.
(1) Washington vs (8) Montreal -Washington's had an amazing year. They scored more goals than anybody. They have the best record in the league. It's kind of hard to go against them. Caps in 5.
(2) New Jersey vs (7) Philadelphia. This should be a good one. These two teams hate, hate, hate each other. The Flyers took 5 out of 6 matchups during the regular season, but they've been drifting the past month or two. On their third-string goalie and without sniper Jeff Carter, the Flyers have their work cut out for them. New Jersey in 6.
(3) Buffalo vs (6) Boston. Boston's offense has been lousy all season and extremely bad since Marc Savard got injured. Ryan Miller has been the league's top goalie all season. Defense wins. Buffalo in 4.
(4) Pittsburgh vs (5) Ottawa. The familiar playoff rivals. They've met 3 out of the past 4 years in the first round. The defending champs have looked listless at times since the Olympic break, sometimes not putting in a full 60 minute effort. They should be able to turn on the switch for playoff time, though. Pittsburgh's defense isn't as strong as last year's, but Ottawa's offense doesn't have too many weapons at this point. They do, however, have goalie Brian Elliott who can go on tears and stand on his head three or four nights in a row. If Marc-Andre Fleury can match or play better than Elliott, Penguins shouldn't worry. Penguins in 6.
(1) San Jose vs (8) Colorado. The Sharks went 8-1-1 in their final 10 regular season games. The Avs stormed out of the gate and shocked a few people early in the season. Is this the year the Sharks make it out of the first round? I'll pick them again. Sharks in 6.
(2) Chicago vs (7) Nashville. Chigago's the young and hungry team in the West. Kind of like the Pens and Caps have been in the East for a couple years. They took the defending champion Red Wings to 7 games last year in the Western Conference Finals and look poised to make another run. Blackhawks in 4.
(3) Vancouver vs (6) Los Angeles. The Kings have some scoring depth up front and can probably match the Canucks goal-for-goal. They've got two solid top-tier defensemen in Rob Scuderi and Drew Doughty. But Roberto Luongo is an All-World goalie. Let's see if he can put aside his reputation as a poor playoff guy. Canucks in 7.
(4) Phoeniz vs (5) Detroit. This is probably going to be the one to watch. Detroit has been on a tear going 16-3-2 following the Olympic break. They also have 8385734957 years of playoff experience which Phoenix is sorely lacking. The ways Phoenix can win? They've shocked quite a few people this year, especially with the play of Ilya Bryzgalov. The other way is Detroit's age and long postseasons the past couple years may have finally caught up with them. I'll go with Detroit in 7 for the upset.
There you have it. I picked a couple sweeps (which I didn't do last year), but only one upset. I feel pretty good about my East picks, but have a feeling I might have to eat one or two of my West ones.
Anyone else care to wager?