Let’s take a look at this year’s playoff matchups. This analysis is going to be completely unscientific, and kind of sad, since there’s no Buffalo included in any of the matchups. I bear no responsibility if you go and bet the house, kids and dog on anything that you read here.
The Eastern Conference
Montreal (1) vs. Boston (8)
– Montreal’s been on fire lately, and Boston played listlessly its last few games. The fans in Montreal also get more into the game than those in Boston. The Habs game against the Sabres was probably one of the loudest games I’ve heard this year. The crowd was in post-season form already. The only downside is that the “Ole” song gets stuck in your head for awhile after watching a Habs game.
Prediction: Canadiens in five.
Pittsburgh (2) vs. Ottawa (7)
Ottawa’s been a hot mess since the midpoint of the season. They started the season 15-2 and ended up just barely making the playoffs. This is especially odd, considering many people thought the East was going to be between them and Buffalo. The Sens goalie situation is the hottest part of the hot mess, as Emery’s a flake, and Gerber’s just well, he is what he is. The Sens also aren’t helped by the loss of Alfie and Fisher for “weeks.”
The Pens proved this season that they are not all Crosby, all the time. Most of the NHL predicted that they would flounder when Sid went down with his ankle sprain. Instead, Sid’s teammates – most notably Malkin – stepped up to the plate, and not only kept the Pens in the playoff picture, but propelled them to the top of the conference. Not bad for a bunch of kids. And who would’ve thought that Conklin would play so spectacularly well when Fluery got hurt?
Prediction: Pens in 6.
Washington (3) vs. Philadelphia (6)
The fact that Marty shut out his opponents in the Phylers last two games means that he’s going to turn into a human sieve against Ovie and Co. Philly has a potent offense when they can figure out how to make it work, but they’re most known for their goonery this season. Marty’s been anything but consistent, and I smell doom for him.
On the Caps side, expect all Ovie, all the time. And the media will probably regale us with the tales of how Ovie is the first person to ever celebrate a goal, and how his celebrations are so joyful. Despite that, the Caps did a great job turning their season around. Bondreau (did you know he was in Slap Shot?) did a great job of righting the Capitals ship.
Prediction: Caps in 6. (What, you thought I would pick Philly? They have a slag faced whore. Do I really want to read Bucky columns gloating about Briere’s run in the playoffs? I. Don’t. Think. So.)
New Jersey (4) vs. New York Rangers (5)
Oh, those wacky Devils. Marty’s solid in net. The team has more defenders than they know what to do with. They’ve got solid leadership in Langenbrunner and Pandolfo, and a lot of young talent in Zajac and Parise. They’ve somewhat managed to overcome their reputation for killing hockey and/or their coaches to finish a solid fourth in the conference this year.
The Rangers bug me. They’ve got two slag-faced whores on the roster in Drury and Gomez. And they’ve got Sean Avery (who was really amusing me during the Devils game due to his trash-talking with Madden and Clarkson) who perpetually manages to annoy the crap out of fans and opponents alike. And people act like they’re god’s gift to hockey because they’re the Rangers and they play in NY. Yippee.
That said, I’m going with the Devils in 7.