NHL Playoff Predictions | Alex Ovechkin and Sedin Twins Lead #1 Seeds into Playoffs
Western Conference NHL Playoff Predictions
Vancouver vs Chicago
Chicago barely squeaked into the playoffs on the heels of a Dallas loss. Although their stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have won a Stanley Cup, they are missing a lot of toughness from last year after losing Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager. Vancouver had an amazing season and have several key players returning to their lineup (Hamhuis/Edler). Vancouver led the Western Coference in goals for with 262 and allowed the least with 185. It’s going to be a difficult task to contain the Sedin twins and get the puck past the goaltending duo of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.
Prediction: Vancouver in 5 games
San Jose vs Los Angeles
Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks are due for a deep playoff run and a shot at Lord Stanley. With seven 20+ goal scorers and a Stanley Cup winning goalie in Antti Niemi, the Kings will have a difficult time getting past the Sharks. The Kings top two scorers: Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams are injured and will be unable to contribute. Dustin Penner, Dustin Brown, and Ryan Smyth most likely will not be able to carry the load.
Prediction: San Jose in 4 games
Detroit vs Phoenix
This should be a very tight series between the Wings and Coyotes. Both teams struggled down the stretch so this series may be difficult to predict. With key injuries to Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall, Detroit may be at a slight disadvantage. However, their overall playoff experience and epic playoff performers Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen may be enough to handcuff Phoenix net minder Ilya Bryzgalof. Phoenix relies on a team effort with Shane Doan as their leading scorer (only 60 points on the season). Look for Detroit’s playoff experience to be the factor in this series.
Prediction: Detroit in 6 games
Anaheim vs Nashville
With both teams finishing with 99 points on the season and both winning 7 of their last 10 games, this series should go down to the wire. The difference in this series may come down to goaltending. Pekka Rinne won 33 games for the Preds while the Ducks used a combination of Jonas Hiller, Dan Ellis, and now Ray Emery. Jonas Hiller has been backing up Dan Ellis of late as he recovers from vertigo and Ray Emery is deadling with a lower body injury. The Ducks top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan should cause havoc for Nashville’s defense, but will it be enough to beat Pekka Rinne.
Prediction: Nashville in 7 games
Eastern Conference NHL Playoff Predictions
Washington vs New York
The Rangers limped into the playoffs and are still coping with the injuries to Del Zotto, Frolov, and Ryan Callahan. Washington finished off strong winning 7 of their last 10 games. Although also coping with injuries to defensemen Mike Green and Denis Wideman, look for Washington to take this series.
Prediction: Washington in 6 games
Philadelphia vs Buffalo
Buffalo relies heavily on the team game aspect and pushed their way into 7th in the East only losing 1 game in their final 10. Injuries to Hecht, Leopold, Roy have not stopped Buffalo one bit. Philadelphia is healthy, minus Pronger, but had a difficult time down the stretch. Look for this to be a hard fought series.
Prediction: Philadelphia in 7 games
Boston vs Montreal
Although Montreal took the season series 4-2, Boston is a very deep team and built for a playoff run. Tim Thomas also set a single season record with a .938 save %. If he falters, their backup Tukka Rask is more than capable. The Habs are simply outmatched in this series.
Prediction: Boston in 5 games
Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh will most likely be without Sidney Crosby for at least a portion of the first round and will be missing Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke (suspension). However, Pittsburgh did a formidable job without their superstars down the stretch. Tampa Bay is a fairly deep team, but their goaltending and defense is questionable allowing 240 goals on the season. Look for this series to go down to the wire.
Prediction: Tampa Bay in 7 games