2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: Third Round
May 13, 2012 2 Comments
Another round, another crop of upsets.
As with every other year, the NHL Playoffs show how much competition the league has by throwing out all conventions that the best regular season team wins. They may not make for good American ratings, but as a hockey fan I’m happy that there’s such a good competition going on.
With the Conference Finals about to get under way we see both series feature division rivals, so they both know each other very well. Time to get on to my predictions…
The L.A. Kings are the 8th seed and they just steam rolled the #1 and #2 seed Canucks and Blues, so you’d think they would have no trouble against the Coyotes right? Wrong. Phoenix has shown it means business by beating the Blackhawks and Predators with the help of their red-hot goalie, Mike Smith who has a .948 save % with a GAA of 1.77. The biggest obstacle for the Coyotes however, is Jonathan Quick who tops Smith’s stats with a .949 save % and a GAA of 1.55. This one should obviously be a battle of the goalies, so don’t expect much scoring. I’m going to take the Kings in 6.
The New Jersey Devils have been a bit of a shock for me, but then again they usually sneak past everyone in the regular season, so why not keep it up in the playoffs? Their now 40-year old goalie Martin Brodeur has managed to step up once again posting a respectable .920 sv % with a GAA of 2.05. On top of Brodeur’s play, the team has been getting scoring from the players that need to provide it, like Kovalchuk (12 pts), Zajac (10 pts) and Parise (8pts). Coach Robinson is doing a great job of blending defensive-minded play with a potent offense that teams have to look out for now. Of course they’re going up against the #1 seed that’s managed to not get upset these playoffs, the New York Rangers. The team has been backed by Henrik Lundqvist with a stunning 1.68 GAA and a save % of .937 (not quite as good as the Westerners, but definitely commendable). Though I usually go for the underdogs, I kind of want the Rangers to make it to the finals. I’ll say New York takes this one in 6.