2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: Third Round

2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: Third Round

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…

Western Conference

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.

Eastern Conference

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.

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My review of City of Strangers

Ian MacKenzie’s City of Strangers too way too long for me to read. It was a combination of tiredness (on the subway ride to/from work is where I do most of my reading) and uninteresting storyline. Book number 12 in my “26 in 52 Challenge” was to my knowledge the first Penguin Books novel that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, and I’m a bit disappointed at that.

Set in New York, the book follows Paul Metzger who’s a guy that’s pretty down on his luck, and seems to be drifting through life. Paul is the divorced son of a former Nazi supporter whose brother renounced the family name and married a Jewish woman, converting to the faith. Much of the book has Paul trying to cling on to the broken relationships with his ex-wife and somewhat estranged older brother (much older – 20 years difference; different mothers).

In the end nothing is really solved, but thanks to an assault Paul experienced in front of his house, his ex-wife, brother and himself become entangled in a gruesome situation that ends up cementing the distance between him and his ex, and preventing him and his brother from building a further bond.

So if you find that kind of story interesting, then this one’s for you. It’s definitely character-driven, like most Penguin Books are, but there’s a lack of excitement and plot movement in this one that couldn’t keep me into it.

I give City of Strangers a 2.5/5

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