2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: First Round

NHL Playoff tree via NHL

Starting tonight the NHL kicks off the greatest post-season in sports  (sans Toronto Maple Leafs once again). Like last year I’ll be giving my round by round predictions and hopefully I’ll do well. Last year I got 6/8 correctly and I hope to do the same or better this year. Here are my picks:

Eastern Conference

Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers via NHL.comThe New York Rangers have done well much of the season and competed until the end of the season for the President’s Trophy, falling just short to the Vancouver Canucks by 2 points. They’ll be going up against the Ottawa Senators who struggled in the stretch, but managed to land the final playoff spot. Given how the Rangers have performed this season, I see no reason why they can’t continue that dominance against a team like Ottawa, so I predict the Rangers in 6.

Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins via NHLThose dangerous Stanley Cup-defending Boston Bruins are obviously the team to beat this post season. They’re up against the now high flying Washington Capitals who have finally seen some production from star Alex Ovechkin. As high flying as they may be I don’t see the Bruins having much trouble closing these guys out. I predict Bruins in 5.

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New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers via NHLThe Southeast Division champions Florida Panthers have managed to do much better than expected this season. They’ll be going up against the below the radar but sneaky New Jersey Devils. This series doesn’t look all that interesting and I doubt New Jersey will even sell out for it. I say Panthers in 6.

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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins via NHLFrom the least anticipated series to the most. The hard hitting Philadelphia Flyers are going up against the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin-led Pittsburgh Penguins in the battle of Pennsylvania. Playoff experience and keeping Sid healthy will see them outlast the Flyers in this one. I’m going to go with Penguins in 6.

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Western Conference

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks via NHLA lot has been said about the chokers in Vancouver, but the Canucks managed to rebound and win the President’s Trophy this year, when many Stanley Cup losers tend to fade away. I don’t follow the Los Angeles Kings too closely but I’m hearing good things and they seem like they might be a bit of a challenge for the Canucks. I still think Vancouver has something to prove and if the Kings can’t get under their skin, physically, then they should have no trouble getting to the next round. Canucks in 5.

San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues via NHLThe St. Louis Blues have managed to crawl their way out of the basement to nearly win the President’s Trophy this year – what a story. The San Jose Sharks have a lot of playoff experience under their belts, where they Blues do not, so I think they’ll definitely give them a run for their money. I predict Sharks in 6.

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes via NHLThe Quebec Phoenix Nordiques Coyotes prove turmoil above does not necessarily equal a bad product on the ice. They managed to win the Southwest Division and now have a chance to go somewhere in the playoffs. Unfortunately they’re up against the Chicago Blackhawks, a team I think is on the cusp of something big. The young stars on Chicago already have a lot of playoff experience and I think that will be the deal breaker here. I predict Blackhawks in 5.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators via NHLAnother team I always want to see do well is the Nashville Predators. They’re perennial playoff teams, but can’t seem to take it to the next level. If there’s any year they should do well against the Detroit Red Wings, this is it. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Predators in 6.

So there you have my first round predictions. How do you think I did? Share your own in the comments and we’ll compare after the round is over.

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About Sean Bailey
Social media specialist who also happens to be a tech geek that's addicted to reading, movies, music, sports and coffee. Anything said on this blog is my opinion (obviously).

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