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NHL Playoff Predictions 2013

April 29, 2013

Any time you make predictions, you set yourself to be the subject of scorn and ridicule. Nonetheless, here are my picks for this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

In the Eastern conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins are just too strong. They may not need great goaltending with their incredible offensive attack, even if Sidney Crosby is not 100%, and yet they have both Marc-Andre Fleury who has won a Stanley Cup and if he falters, a very steady Tomas Vokoun. They should take out the Islanders fairly easily and then whoever comes next.

It is great to see three Canadian teams in the hunt in the East, and the Montreal-Ottawa series should be good, though I hope people will finally get off Carey Price’s back when he proves himself to be the big-time goaltender I believe he can be and will be for Les Canadiens this year. If he gets in the zone, it could bring back memories of Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden and they could actually challenge Pittsburgh. I think Toronto could upset Boston as neither team has a proven playoff goalie and I would love to see the Leafs advance to the second round against Pittsburgh. Washington will overpower and outlast NYR, though that’s a series that should be fun to watch and likely have a lot of goal scoring!

In the West, again it’s difficult to choose any team but Chicago. They will dispose of Minnesota fairly easily, I suspect, though they will be challenged in the next two rounds and are liable to be upset in rounds 2 & 3. Anaheim will outlast Detroit in a series that should go the distance. Though I think Chicago is almost unbeatable, my darkhorse for the playoffs would be the winner of the San Jose-Vancouver series. If either of these teams finally starts to believe in themselves and play how they “should” on paper, they are still both very strong teams. And if either of them gets superb playoff goaltending, like the personnel they have are capable of, they could be scary. But that’s a lot of “shoulds” and “coulds” and people have been saying this about both teams for at least five years. Maybe, possibly, this is the year one of them will get “over the hump” (or an early exit could start the blow-it-up and start all over process!)

Its great to see St Louis back in the playoffs and John Davidson and crew have rebuilt the Blues well. However, their chances of knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champions are not good, and the Kings may prove why they are the champions when it comes to the next rounds. They will be touch to dethrone, not just for the Blues but for Anaheim, San Jose or Chicago.

If it comes down to a Pittsburgh-Chicago finale, it really is a coin toss, but I’ll go with Pittsburgh! As a big Jarome Iginla fan, that would be so awesome!!! But… there’s a lot of hockey to be played before that might happen and I’m planning to enjoy!

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