(1) Detroit v. (8) Calgary
Can Hasek stay healthy for a whole series? Games 5 and 6 are back to back, in Detroit then the next night in Calgary, can the Dominator play both? To me this series comes down to the goalies. Can Miikka Kiprusoff become as good on the road as he was on the road? If he can then I think Calgary can pull of the upset. Otherwise, Detroit takes this one, but does not get past round 2.
My prediction, Detroit in 6.
(2) Anaheim v. (7) Minnesota
This was a homer series; they split the 4 games head to head, each winning twice on home ice, all one goal games. I think the same will hold true for the playoffs. The Xcel Energy Center is arguably one of the loudest and intense buildings to play in. The Anaheim goalie situation is also in the air, with Bryzgalov expected to start. I think this series goes the distance, but Anaheim wins it on home ice in game 7. Legitimate star power on both sides, with Gaborik leading Minny and the twin towers leading Anaheim.
My prediction, Anaheim in 7.
(3) Vancouver v. (6) Dallas
OK, this could be one of the lowest scoring series ever. In the 4 games these teams played each other, each game finished with a 2-1 final. I think this is going to be a long series. I think there could be 3-4 overtime games and this one could go the distance. Dallas is coming into the playoffs on a hot streak, but I think Luongo will be able to shut down the enemic Dallas offence. Vancouver is even more enemic, they are the lowest team in terms of goals scored in the playoffs. This will be a long drawn out series, with not a lot of scoring. In the end, I think home ice and Luongo are enough to put Vancouver over the top.
My prediction, Vancouver in 7.
(4) Nashville v. (5) San Jose
This is an intriguing matchup as most 4 v. 5 matchups are. Nashville needs a deep playoff run to garner more fan and corporate support. Unfortunately I think this series is over quick. I think San Jose is the best 5 seed ever. Joe Thornton has the ability to dominate this series. I think San Jose, even tho they are starting on the road dominates the series. It will be a great series to watch and there will be a lot of action.
My prediction, San Jose in 5.
(1) Buffalo vs (8) NY Islanders
This is a series that is intriguing. Part of me wants to believe that the Islanders are the Oilers of last years playoffs. But then I smarten up and realize that Buffalo is way to deep, way too explosive and way to talented to fall victim to the Islanders. I think that if Dipietro was available then there might be a chance, he can steal games. Unfortunately for “Doobie” and his Islanders the magic carpet ride is over. Buffalo will dominate this series and will make short work of the Islanders.
My prediction, Buffalo in 5.
(2) New Jersey vs (7)Tampa Bay
This is a series of polar opposites. Tampa Bay, all out offence and go for broke style, huge question mark in nets. New Jersey, defensive, smart with the best goalie in the world in nets. It will be interesting to see the opposite styles go head to head. I think Tampa Bay has the firepower, question is, can they beat Brodeur over a 7 game series? The answer is no. Tampa can pull out a game or two, but over the series, Brodeur will prove to a difference maker, unfortunately Tampa does not have that in nets.
My prediction, New Jersey in 6.
(3) Atlanta vs (6) NY Rangers
This is a series is one that will be a lot of fun to watch. Dynamic offensive talent on both sides. Atlanta led by Hossa & Kovalchuk, the Rangers led by Jagr & Nylander. Both teams have goalies that can steal games, Lundqvist for the Rangers and Lehtonen for Atlanta. This should be a fun series to watch with the potential for lots of offence and also some strong defence and goaltending. I think this is a series that will have it all.
My prediction, NY Rangers in 7.
(4) Ottawa vs (5) Pittsburgh
Being a Senators fan I will try and be objective. With that said, this is easliy the most intriguing matchup of all in this years playoff. Sid and his band of kids and the Senators with multiple questions to be answered. In the end I think the Ottawa forwards grind down the average Penguins defence. I think Ray Emery is relishing this chance to prove to everyone in the league that he can be a #1 goalie in this league. I think the Penguins will get a lot of experience from the series, but the Senators take it in the end.
My prediction, Ottawa in 6.