For many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight.
The puck drops on three different series this evening, as the Columbus Blue Jackets face the Pittsburgh Penguins; Montreal Canadiens challenge the Tampa Bay Lightning; and the Dallas Stars square off against the Anaheim Ducks.
There are a million different playoff primer and prediction posts out there so this one won’t be your traditional version. In fact let’s just cut to the chase right now:
Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning:
Prediction: Canadiens in six. Why: The Canadiens don’t have a quality enough defensive corps for a cup run, but they do have the offensive talent to bust them out of the first round. The likes of high caliber scorers such as Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty (both American born) are enough to lead the Habs past former Nashville Predators netminder Anders Lindback and the Lightning.
Blue Jackets vs. Penguins:
Prediction: Blue Jackets in seven. Why: Yet to hold a lead in a playoff game–let alone win one–Columbus has looked strong down the stretch and they’re ready to quiet the naysayers. This series rides on the play of Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury. If he is at his best, then it’s probably lights out for the Blue Jackets. However, if the 29-year-old netminder loses his cool, then we might just witness one of the larger first round upsets in quite awhile.
Stars vs. Ducks:
Prediction: Ducks in five. Why: Okay, so I can’t go upsets every time. It worked very well for me in my office March Madness pool, but this isn’t quite the same. The main weakness of the Ducks is their uncertainty in net (yeah, I’m noticing a trend here too), but that shouldn’t be enough to prevent them from taking care of business against the Western Conference’s last team to get in the postseason. In the end, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will continue to light the lamp at a high rate and it’ll be enough to send the 43-year-old Teemu Selanne to the second round.
Was that straightforward enough for you? We’ll have four more series to predict tomorrow, see you then!