While I still hack away at a preview for the Rangers/Caps series, I figured I would procrastinate with a quick look at the other series with some reasons to watch and my best guesses at who will win. Hey, I got some things right in my preseason predictions (even a blind squirrel gets some nuts and all that) so why not try it again?
Boston vs. Montreal: Not only is it a Original Six rivalry, but these two teams genuinely don't like each other. They have had several serious clashes this season - including one not so long ago - and the intensity of a playoff series could only make it better. Too bad Carey Price has been too much like Steve Penney to prevail - Bruins in five.
New Jersey vs. Carolina: Honestly, I don't think I will watch a single game of this. Sure, you can root against Mmmmaaaarrrttttyyyy and represent the Whale but really, who cares? As much as we may hate the thought of it, Jersey is pretty damn good and they should win this in five, if not a sweep.
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia: Dammit, another series between teams we can't stand. Everyone was rooting for the Flyers to give the Rangers a push so it shouldn't be that hard to get behind the black and orange when you consider they are going up against the Cole Harbour Crybaby Cindy Crosby. I don't want Crosby winning a coin toss, much less a Stanley Cup. Flyers prevail over the Pens and the officiating to win in seven.
San Jose vs. Anaheim: Now where the Bruins should roll over their eighth seeded opponent, this bout between 1 and 8 should be the best series of the opening round. Even though they were the best of the west, San Jose may be the most underrated team in the NHL. They are so, so very good. And they have Jeremy Roenick, how could you not root for them? Ok, maybe Claude Lemieux is reason enough not to but still, you can't possibly be behind the obnoxious Quack Attack, could you? Nabokov holds off Getzlaf and San Jose wins in seven.
Detroit vs. Columbus: I always liked Manny Malhotra, didn't you? The kid worked his hardest, he just wasn't that good and the Rangers never gave him a chance. He is a big part of the Blue Jackets and they really aren't that bad. The only problem is that they are facing the Red Wings and they really are that good. No matter how good Steve Mason is, he won't be able to hold off Hossa, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen - Wings in five.
Vancouver vs. St. Louis: We heart JD in New York and the Blues are a helluva story. Brad Boyes is a stellar scorer, David Backes is incredibly entertaining and TJ Oshie is a stud but they just don't match up with Vancouver. The Canucks have the Sedins, Sundin and Luongo - not to mention Burrows, Kesler and Bieksa - Nucks in six.
Chicago vs. Calgary: This should be one incredible series. The youth of the Blackhawks against the grit of the Flames. Two incredible goaltenders in Khabby and Kipper, young stars Toews and Kane battling against vets Iginla and Jokinen, Phaneuf, Campbell, Cammalalalalalieri ... wow, this is tough to call so I will just guess Flames in seven as experience rules.
Rangers vs. Caps to come tomorrow ...