Earlier today I posted what the Official Puck Propaganda Power Rankings are projecting to happen in the first round, but now it’s my turn to chime in with some personal thoughts on each series to go along with my very own predictions. They’re sure to be terrible, as my track record hasn’t been very good this year, but whatever, on with the show.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders
I don’t think the Penguins will crush the Islanders like so many are predicting, but I also don’t see this series going any longer than five games. The individual games themselves will be a lot closer, but the Penguins simply have too much firepower and depth for the Islanders to be able to contain it consistently over the course of 60 minutes.
Penguins in 5.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
I really feel the Senators have the edge going into this one, especially with Erik Karlsson back in the lineup. They may not have as much offense as the Canadiens, but they’re a far stronger defensive team, made even more so by Montreal’s loss of Alexei Emelin, and have nearly equal or better goaltending, depending on which version of Carey Price shows up.
Senators in 7.
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers
I want the Capitals to win, oh so much, but I really don’t know if they can. Both teams are rolling along right now, but on paper the Rangers have a far superior group of defensemen, better goaltending, and greater forward depth. None of that matters though if Alexander Ovechkin continues to play like a man possessed. I’ll cross my fingers for that.
Capitals in 7.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Bruins are going to crush the Leafs, no joke. Toronto fans can take solace in the fact that they’re finally back in the playoffs and there is a lot to look forward to for the first time in ages, but they literally have no chance against the Bruins, in my opinion. Watch this come back to bite me in the ass though.
Bruins in 6.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
The Wild are so badly outmatched here that I’m just gonna go ahead and predict a sweep. The Blackhawks are just too deep in all facets of the game and they should have no problem in rolling over the very top heavy, injury depleted lineup that Minnesota possesses.
Blackhawks in 4.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings
This one could be close. The Wings are firing on all cylinders lately, while the Ducks haven’t been great since late-March. I’ve openly criticized Detroit’s defense all season, and while still awful, Jimmy Howard has been playing so far better than I expected that if it continues they could pull off the upset.
Red Wings in 7.
Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks
On paper the Canucks should dominate this series, but they haven’t looked right all season, content to coast along with the bare minimum most of the time. As choke worthy as the Sharks may be, bare minimum isn’t going to cut it to beat them. As well, the Sharks do have a tendency to play better as underdogs.
Sharks in 6.
St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings
This series is going to be brutal for both teams and is by far the toughest one to call. St. Louis will want revenge for being swept last season, while the Kings will want to prove last year was no fluke. Los Angeles has the experience and likely an edge in goaltending, which is good enough for me.
Kings in 7.