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.

2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: Second Round

2012 NHL playoffs

Every year the Leafs fail to make the playoffs I tell myself I won’t watch, but every year I’m pulled in by this insanely entertaining competition only the NHL can provide.

The first round was, for lack of a better word,intense. With all the upsets I’m sure my predictions weren’t the only ones that were shot. Out of the eight series, I successfully predicted the New York Rangers and Nashville Predators victories. Two of eight. That’s terrible, but as a fan, the upsets were exciting to watch. Yes the first place Canucks were eliminated (sad), but so were the defending champs Bruins (happy!) so that means we’ll have a new winner this year. Only those that get out of the second round have any chance of being that team so I’ll get on with my predictions:

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals: The Rangers are coming off their near upset against the Sens and without much rest. The fast paced Capitals will have the advantage of the extra day so will have to capitalize early in this series if they want to give themselves a chance. If the Caps cant manage to get it together, I have no doubt the Rangers can take them on. It’ll be another tough test and I can’t see this series going fewer than six games. My pick is the Rangers in 6.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils: The Flyers have a lot of rest coming into this game, and like the Caps playing the Rangers, have to use that to their advantage early on against the Devils who are coming off a seven game series. The physical play that the Flyers showed against Pittsburgh has to come out in full force if they’re to beat the Devils. One thing though, if they’re not smart about how they play, New Jersey will shut them down. As much as I want the Devils to beat Philly I have to give the Flyers the edge in this one. Flyers in 6.

Western Conference

St. Louis Wings vs. Los Angeles Kings: I haven’t followed these two very much, but from what I saw in the first round, Los Angeles is a team to be reckoned with. Led by their amazing goalie, Jonathan Quick, they managed to overtake the Canucks, so that’s saying something. The Blues did better than I thought by advancing and are proving they have what it takes to win. I think this might actually be a good series to watch and in the end the L.A. Kings will come out on top. Kings in 6.

Phoenix Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators: In a battle of dog vs. cat, the Coyotes take on the Predators who are showing they’re ready to compete by showing they can handle the aging, but still tough, Detroit Red Wings. Each year I back the Preds because they always seem to have what it takes, but can’t capitalize on their chances. The Coyotes are resilient and it was quite a shock to see them knock out the Blackhawks, but I don’t see them getting by the experienced team from Nashville. Preds in 5.

So there are my pics for round two, what are yours?

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.

2011 NHL playoff predictions: Western and Eastern Conference Finals

NHL Playoffs 2011

The NHL Playoffs are now past the halfway point as we head into the Western and Eastern Conference Finals. The second round was a great one, though for the most part not as closely contested as the first, especially in the Eastern Conference. My predictions this time around were good with 3 out of 4 guessed correctly. Here is my 2nd round winners and losers, and below that, my 3rd round picks:

Called it: Vancouver (in 6), San Jose, Boston

Missed it: Tampa Bay

Western Conference

The Canucks managed to avoid another seven game series against the Nashville Predators and were able to put them out of their misery in six, but it was a hard-fought series against a team that never gave up and a goalie in Pekke Rinne that was tough to beat, game-in and game-out. This time around they will be going up against the San Jose Sharks who put away the Detroit Red Wings in seven, and look to be hitting their stride, finally shedding themselves of their own playoff curse. Both teams will bring it hard this series, but I think the Canucks will eke out a victory in 7.

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning

I went against the Lightning in the first two rounds, and they clearly made me look like a fool, so this time around against the Boston Bruins, I’ll take the youth over the no-quit attitude. Sure it would be great to see an original 6 team in the Stanley Cup Final but when I get the chance to boo a Northeast Division rival, I can’t pass that opportunity up. Bold, but Lightning in 5.

2011 NHL playoff predictions: 2nd Round

NHL Playoffs 2011The first round of the NHL Playoffs are officially over, and what a first round it was! I have to say it was the most exciting round of playoffs in any sport that I’ve watched in recent memory. When it came to my predictions, I did pretty well, getting 6 out of 8 series correctly; I even got a few series down to the number of games played. Let’s hope I can continue the trend. Here is my 1st round winners and losers, and below that, my 2nd round picks:

Called it: Vancouver (in 7), San Jose (in 6), Detroit, Nashville (in 6), Washington, Tampa Bay

Missed it: Philadelphia, Boston

Western Conference

After the grueling first round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Vancouver have to regroup quickly as they go head-to-head against the Nashville Predators. The Preds dangerous team who have just come off their first ever franchise playoff series win, are well rested and itching to get another series win under their belt. That being said, the Canucks are too strong of a team and are riding on their high from the game seven victory. It will be a tough one but I predict Canucks in 6.

I’m hesitant to pick the Sharks, who are going up against the perennial playoff powerhouse Detroit Red Wings, but I’m going to go with my heart and say the Sharks can pull out this victory. The team will have to dominate the series early and get Detroit on their heels, which is a tough task. If all goes well I say San Jose in 6.

Eastern Conference

The most exciting series in the Eastern Conference for me is the Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning. On the offensive side, it’ll be great to see Ovechkin/Semin go up against Lecavalier/Stamkos/St. Louis, so hopefully there will be no shortage of goals. I’d like to see the Caps take the next step and I think against the aging Roloson they can make him work for his wins. I say the Capitals in 7.

I spent the last seven games cheering against these Boston Bruins, but as with my Habs rooting, I’ll go for the team I hate less, yet again. Facing the not-so-impressive Philadelphia Flyers, the Bruins should take the experience they gained from the first round series and carry it onward to a victory over Philly and its revolving door of goalies. Bruins in 6.

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