2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: First Round

NHL Playoff tree via NHL

Starting tonight the NHL kicks off the greatest post-season in sportsĀ  (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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

Advertisements

No pressure South Africa only the world is watching

Today marked day one of FIFA World Cup 2010. Host country South Africa played to a 1-1 draw against the powerhouse Mexico (not) to kick things off on an exciting note.

I occasionally watch the Toronto FC here and there, and every four years when the World Cup rolls around I become a temporary fan. Soccer is a bit too slow for my liking; kind of like football (North American kind). I tend to drift in and out consciousness for both, but when it’s on the world stage, there’s a whole other kind of magic.

My immediate family background is British (Mom) and Caribbean (Dad). Since my Dad’s country (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) fairs worse than Canada, I tend to stick with England as my team of choice. England is kind of like the Maple Leafs because they’re generally on the cusp of greatness, but it’s been an eternity since they’ve won.

As the tournament ramps up I generally get more and more into the sport, especially since I have an allegiance to one team. I’m excited for England’s first match tomorrow against the United States. I’m not sure if I’ll head out or not, but either way I’ll be wearing my Rooney jersey and cheering them on. I think they’ll win, but if they don’t it will mean a lot of trouble, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a pub in England if they lost.

Since I normally do this I figured I’d give my predictions on the winners from each group. Much of it is based on little to no knowledge, which means I should do well. The two teams from each group that I pick to advance are bolded.

Group A – South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B – Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Rep., Greece

Group C – England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D – Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E – Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F – Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G – Brazil, Korea DPR, Ivory Coast, Portugal

Group H – Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

(And they say there are too many teams in NHL playoffs.. geez.)

NHL Playoffs round 2: The predictions

Before the first round began I made my predictions and gave my reasons why. I’ll be doing the same this time around, but first lets take a look at how I did. Overall I went 4-for-8 (Pens, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Canucks) – needless to say I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, especially in my home conference (Eastern). Here’s to hoping for better results this time around.

Eastern Conference predictions:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens: After an amazing upset by the Canadiens against the Capitals in the first round it would take, oh I don’t know, the Stanley Cup champions from the year before to beat them. As luck would have it the Pens won last year and are the team to beat the Canadiens this year. If they don’t? Well we’ll see the Habs in the finals. Pens in 6.

Boston Bruins vs Philadelphia Flyers: Even though Boston beat the Buffalo Sabres, who I thought would be the team to go deep for the East, I think Philadelphia’s play against the Devils has given them the edge. It’ll be a good series, especially with Marc Savard coming back for the Bruins. Flyers in 7.

Western Conference predictions:

San Jose Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings: When you’re a team that’s a perennial choker, it’s hard to pick you as the favourite to win any series. I want the Sharks to win, but if history tells me anything, they won’t. Detroit played well in the last couple games on their way to eliminating the Avs and I think they’ll take that momentum into this series. Red Wings in 7.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Vancouver Canucks: I don’t think either of these teams had too much trouble getting out of the first round. Facing each other will be a different story. Both teams have high expectations, but one, the Canucks will probably face more scrutiny if they don’t perform well. If Vancouver’s offense can pick up, and Luongo continues his stellar play, I say they’ll take it. Sorry Chicago, next year is yours. Canucks in 6.

%d bloggers like this: