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Monday, April 29, 2013

Puckmania: Let the Playoff Begin!

Wild on Sports
Puckmania: Let the Playoff Begin
By Wild on Sports Analyst Josh Tarr

Before I begin my first round predictions, I would like to make it publicly known that I will be representing WOS at the NHL entry draft this June at the Prudential Center. So make sure that you stay tuned to our twitter page (@WildOnSports) for the most accurate NHL draft updates as they happen!

But alas, the playoffs are here! So lets talk about playoffs.

The Leafs, Isles and Wild are all appearing in the post season for the first time in at least five seasons. The Bruins, Capitals, Sharks and Red Wings are all making their annual Stanley Cup bid. Whether teams are slumping into the postseason or heating up at the right time, it’s all systems go for the teams remaining in these final two months of the shortened hockey season.

And on that note, here are my first round predictions:

Eastern Conference:

Penguins (1)
Islanders (8)

Despite being the leagues most dominant team for most of the season, the Penguins and their fans are not under-estimating this years New York Islanders- and why should they? They are arguable the hottest team coming into the post season. That being said, their age and postseason experience (or lack of) won’t be enough to over power the worlds best hockey team. New York should keep it close, and this series will help the Islanders build some confidence for playoff entries down the road.
Penguins win

Canadiens (2) 
Senators (7)

Perhaps this decision comes with a little bias? As a Masshole, I hate the Canadiens with every fiber of my being, but then again Montreal is slumping badly into the playoffs. And how can you not help but appreciate what Ottawa has done this year? I’m a strong believer of the idea that with a healthy Anderson, Karlsson, Spezza and Alfreddson all year round, this team would have won the Northeast Division. Ottawa winning this series shouldn’t be considered an upset.
Senators win

Capitals (3)
Rangers (6)

I’m glad everyone is back on board the Ovechkin bandwagon, because he is going to do wonders for Washington against New York, and others in the Eastern Conference. Holtby-Neuvirth is hot, Lundqvist-that other guy is not. This is going to be a land slide.
Capitals win

Bruins (4)
Maple Leafs (5)

I had to give this prediction a lot of thought. Neither team is standing out right now in any positive sort of way, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, the Bruins just don’t let up many goals, especially on the PK. That seems to be Toronto’s specialty. If Phil Kessel does well in this series, maybe that changes the outcome, but I don’t believe he shows up.
Bruins win

Western Conference:

Blackhawks (1)
Wild (8)

I don’t know how in depth I need to go here, honestly. Chicago is just another worldly better and more anxious to get the ball rolling, Minnesota… say what you will, this team still needs work IMO.
Blackhawks win

Ducks (2)
Red Wings (7)

I hate the fact that Detroit is here in the first place. This team is probably the least deserving of the remaining 16 to be a playoff team. Putting the 2013 Detroit Red Wings and the Stanley Cup in the same sentence should be a crime, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to upset a fantastically improved Anaheim squad. My fingers are crossed that I’m wrong with this one.
Red Wings win

Canucks (3)
Sharks (6)
I’m a sucker for this San Jose team. They are an incredibly difficult team to beat at home and Vancouver has been too streaky for my liking. Goaltending consistency is just never there for the Canucks and Special teams are a strong point for the Sharks. Joe Thornton, will you show up this year?
Sharks win

Blues (4)
Kings (5)

I wasn’t fully aware that the Blues managed to earn the 4 seed and truthfully, I’m questioning the worthiness of that seed. To me, Los Angeles is a much more all around complete team than the Blues. Then again, I said thought that about the Bruins last year against the Capitals. In the end, the series will be narrowly decided, but I’d be pretty surprised if St Louis actually pulls of the series win. 
Kings win


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