As the playoffs begin there is really only one thing that is certain. It’s going to be one great run and the victor will have truly earned it. The playoffs are going to be exciting and filled with many hard-fought battles. Let’s take a look at some of the first round match ups and other headlines going in. I only did the Eastern conference because I have a lack of knowledge of the West and I don’t think I deserve to give my opinion. Maybe next year but definitely not this years playoffs. But let’s take a look at the first round of the Eastern Conference.
Detroit Red Wings vs Boston Bruins
This is a battle of two team that have very different stories heading into the playoffs. Bruins cruised to the President’s Trophy while the Red Wings had to claw their way past injuries and find ways to win without key players. I know that this series will be a close and competitive series for the most part. You have two amazing and very experienced behind the benches that are well proven. You have two team that are willing to compete and are hungry. I think that this is going to be one of the closest matches in the first round and it’s hard to pick a winner. But I give the edge to Detroit. They have been battling all season long and are not going to give up now. Most people will disagree with me but I’m not saying that the Bruins are a bad choice. I think that this series is going to go right down to the wire but I think Detroit will go the extra mile and find a way to beat the big bad Bruins.
Final Prediction Red Wings Wins 4-3
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lighting
Now let me say first is that I’m a huge Habs fan and I really hope that they win. This year has been a great one for the Canadiens and for the first time in a while they have gotten great performances from though out the lineup (even from their backup goalie!) I also believe that the Bolts have a great lineup and they have been absolutely stunning. I honestly thought that the Callahan trade would hurt them but it seems that they went unsaved for the most part! In fact I’m terrified to have them as an opponent but there is one X-factor to take in. Tampa Bay’s star player (in my opinion) who has carried his team on his back is injured. As of when I’m writing this article (April 15th 2014) Ben Bishop will not start game one of the series. In all honesty the performance of the Bolts goal tending will be the deciding factor. Whether it’s Lindback or if Bishop comes in half way through their goal tending will be what decides this series. Both team are dead even in all other areas and almost identical to each other. I give Montreal the win just of the fact that Bishop is out. If he were to be healthy I would give Tampa the series win. But who knows, maybe Lindback will stand on his head. All I know is that this is going to be one amazing series and I cannot wait to see the result!
Final Prediction – Canadiens Win 4-3
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Pittsburgh Penguins
This will be an interesting match for sure. Pittsburgh has been a hockey super power for a long time now. But as of late they’ve looked great on paper but have failed to show it on the ice, especially come playoff time. Then Pens had a scare last season against the Islanders and I believe that the Jackets can do the exact same this year. If Columbus comes out and plays a physical and high intensity game like the Flyers play then they can get a great jump on the Penguins. For the Penguins, they have to stick to their style of play and don’t let their emotions get the better of you. The Flyers were able to push the Pens around and get them angry and off their games. If the Blue Jackets can make their style of play a bit like that but keeping their amazing scoring intact then they have the advantage over the Pens. I see a constant fore-check as a key for both teams to gain leverage. But I give the series to the Penguins just because of the amount of skill that they have and the way Fleury has been playing (make sure he doesn’t choke like he has in the past few years) then they should be good to go.
Final Prediction – Penguins win 4-2
New York Rangers vs Philadelphia Flyers
This is a series that I am excited for. Two great physical and defensively sound teams that are also rivals! I’ve always liked a good rivalry but I’ve seen so little of it lately. I really hope that this playoff series will help rekindle that fire. I hope to see a lot of grit, a lot of shoving, and a lot of players hacking each other. You also have incredible scorers such as Rick Nash and Claude Giroux in this match up. Both players had a slow start to the season but picked up their play as the season progressed. There is also the sleeping giant Martin St. Louis! All I know is that this is going to be an exciting series! I give the Flyers the edge because they have been fighting all season and have been able to perform in pressure situations.
Final Prediction – Flyers Win 4-3