Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 NHL Playoff Predictions

I wrote a post with first round playoff predictions last year and ended up easily winning my playoff pool so superstition alone dictates that I do it again this year. If I need a rationalization, it is sometimes helpful to go through the mental exercise of taking my thoughts and putting them in writing.

Washington vs. Montreal

I'm not convinced that Washington is a great playoff team, with shaky goaltending and suspect team commitment to defense. Still, they only lost in game 7 to the eventual champions from Pittsburgh last year and it would be hard to argue that they're not both better and hungrier this time around.

Pick: Capitals in 4.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

Maybe it's just that last year's loss to Carolina (probably the best series in the whole playoffs)is still fresh in my mind, but I just don't feel enthusiastic about the Devil's chances. Or maybe it's just too many years of playoff failure that is holding me back. Still, the Flyers are no all-star team, and their goaltending situation is absurd. Plus, the addition of Kovalchuk gives the Devils some more depth on attack.

They're not playing Carolina, so I'll take the Devils in 7.

Buffalo v. Boston

How will Boston get the puck past Miller without Savard in the lineup? Answer - they won't.

Sabres in 5.

Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa

The Senators actually gave up 13 more goals then they scored this year - expect that trend to continue in the first round. Pittsburgh didn't impress all that much in the regular season, but they didn't impress much in the regular season last year either, now - did they?

With Malkin coming into form and Crosby seemingly always on form, the Penguins will once again be hard to beat.

Penguins in 6.

It feels like a cop-out to take all the favourites, but that seems to be just how it is this year in the East. The Flyers are the best bet for an upset, in my view.

San Jose vs. Colorado

Luckily for San Jose, Colorado is no Anaheim.

Sharks in 5.

Chicago vs. Nashville

Nashville will go down battling, as always, with one of the best defense cores in the league (Hamhuis in particular is underrated), but the Hawks simply have too big an edge in the talent department.

Hawks in 6.

Vancouver vs. Los Angeles

I don't have the same optimism regarding the Canucks' chances as I did last year. The defense lacks depth and experience and is prone to injury, and Luongo has been inconsistent (at best) this year.

Also, Canucks fans sure will be sick of Doughty and Jack Johnson by the end if this series - with a tough D, the kings are one of the tougher lower ranked team in the playoffs in my opinion. Still, for all that, I think the Canucks will pull it out before getting run over in round 2.

Canucks in 6

Phoenix vs. Detroit

Poor Phoenix, you put up 107 points and the reward is a first round matchup against Detroit? Phoenix is very tough defensively, but Detroit will beat them on the power play.

Detroit in 6.

Upsets seem more likely (as always) in the West vs. the East, but the only 'upset' I predicted was Detroit beating Phoenix. Hopefully we'll get some surprises (without hurting my pool team or the Canucks too much...)

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