Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Onto the picks!
Washington (1) vs. New York (8)
Washington Wins If… They learned anything from last season… If they don’t go insane hearing about what happened against the Montreal Canadiens last year… If Alexander Semin plays like regular season Alexander Semin and not playoff Alexander Semin (the same applies to Mike Green).
New York Wins If… Washington decides they want to be San Jose East… If someone other than Marian Gaborik can score… If Marian Gaborik can stay healthy enough to score… If Bryan McCabe doesn’t continue where he left off the last time he was in the playoffs… If Henrik Lundqvist isn’t exhausted from playing the Rangers’ final 26 games.
Prediction: Washington in 5
Philadelphia (2) vs. Buffalo (7)
Philadelphia Wins If… Chris Pronger tells everyone to wake the hell up… If the latter portion of the season wasn’t an indication of how the Flyers will play in the playoffs… If the Flyers don’t think they can simply turn on a switch… If Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t become Robert Esche/Roman Cechmanek 2.0… If Kris Versteeg isn’t the problem.
Buffalo Wins If… Ryan Miller remembers why everyone called him the best goalie in the world last season… If the Sabres continue the roll they’re currently on… If Pegula’s positive, non-miser like energy continues to pulse through the team… If Tomas Vanek has a big series.
Prediction: Buffalo in 6
Boston (3) vs. Montreal (6)
Boston Wins If… Zdeno Chara plays like an animal… If they physically dominate the Canadiens without taking too many penalties… If Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic don’t spend too much time wheeling girls at Red Sox games… If Tim Thomas is in Dominik Hasek mode.
Montreal Wins If… They can capitalize on the power-plays they will surely get… If no one skates by the turnbuckle… If Montreal’s quickness can exploit the Bruins’ slower defence… If the Habs find Mike Cammalleri… If Scott Gomez finds Doc Brown and the DeLorean and sends the 2005 version of Scott Gomez back to the future.
Prediction: Boston in 6
Pittsburgh (4) vs. Tampa Bay (5)
Pittsburgh Wins If… They can grind and check the Lightning into submission… If Jordan Staal steps up in a big way and leads the team in Crosby’s absence… If Dan Bylsma can out-coach Guy Boucher… If James Neal shows why everyone made fun of Joe Nieuwendyk after trading for Alex Goligoski… If Crosby returns.
Tampa Bay Wins If… Steven Stamkos scores like he did in the beginning of the season and not the end… If Vincent Lecavalier plays like a premier player and not a secondary player… If Dwayne Roloson is truly ageless… If the Lightning actually play defence.
Prediction: Tampa Bay in 7
Vancouver (1) vs. Chicago (8)
Vancouver Wins If… Roberto Luongo doesn’t break down the first time he hears Chelsea Dagger play in Chicago… If the Canucks embrace facing their nemesis rather than fear it… If the Sedins don’t allow Dave Bolland to get under their skin… If they don’t suffer from the President’s Trophy disease… If they don’t panic at the first sign of trouble.
Chicago Wins If… They take advantage of the psychological edge they have over the Canucks… If Chicago borrows the Montreal Canadiens game-plan from last year’s opening round series… If Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland are healthy enough to contribute.
Prediction: Vancouver in 7
San Jose (2) vs. LA (7)
San Jose Wins If… Last season’s Western Conference Final appearance proved to the Sharks that they are capable of performing in the playoffs… If they don’t google Joe Thornton + playoffs… If Dan Boyle doesn’t score all of LA’s goals… If there is actually someone besides Dan Boyle on the Sharks’ blueline... If Ian White still has his mustache.
LA Wins If… The team can rally around the loss of Anze Kopitar… If Dustin Penner ever arrives from Edmonton… If Dustin Brown hits everything that moves… If Jonathan Quick steals a few games… If Drew Doughty plays like the man everyone gushed about last season.
Prediction: San Jose in 5
Detroit (3) vs. Phoenix (6)
Detroit Wins If… Their power-play feasts on the Coyotes’ below average penalty kill… If Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t miss more than 2 games… If the Wings look down and see the multiple Stanley Cup rings adorning their fingers.
Phoenix Wins If… They outwork the Wings… If they can get to Jimmy Howard early… If Keith Yandle can out Norris Niklas Lidstrom… If they don’t play BizNasty… If they desperately don’t want to play in Winnipeg next season.
Prediction: Detroit in 7
Anaheim (4) vs. Nashville (5)
Anaheim Wins If… Someone other than Dan Ellis plays in net…If Corey Perry continues his MVP season… If the Ducks’ second line can take pressure off their first line... If Cam Fowler isn’t the defensive liability his +/- leads me to believe.
Nashville Wins If… Ryan Suter and Shea Weber can shut down Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan… If Mike Fisher’s playoff experience doesn’t shine through… If Pekka Rinne shows everyone why he’s just as valuable as Carey Price… If the Preds greatest offensive threat really isn’t Martin Erat
Prediction: Anaheim in 6