Here it is fans, some of the most exciting weeks in all of professional sports are the NHL playoffs. Starting Wednesday and ending, well sometime this summer (seems like August) the fast-paced frenzy of ice skates and pucks will run until we will find out who carries home Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The NHL Western Conference has some new teams in the hunt this year, while the NHL Eastern Conference has some old dogs up to the usual tricks. So, who has what it takes this year? Well hop on board as I break down all eight first round match-ups. Strap on the skates and lets go!
1. San Jose Sharks vs 8. Colorado Avalanche
Is it finally the year of “The Shark”? Well not just this Shark, but the guys from San Jose. After multiple playoff failures with very good teams, many in San Jose think this is the year. Adding players with fire and passion like Dany Heatley this off-season and adding more size as well as speed have the Sharks looking very good heading into the post season. The Colorado Avalanche have a very young squad, and are learning on the go. As good has they have played for what was expected from them, they are outmatched here. Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov is one of those net minders that you see nightly on ESPN during the playoffs making the huge saves, and carrying his squad far. We do not expect much trouble for the 1 seed here, this is not your fathers Sharks nor his Avs.
Prediction: Sharks in 5
2. Chicago Blackhawks vs 7. Nashville Predators
Prediction: Blackhawks in 5
3. Vancouver Canucks vs 6. Los Angeles Kings
Shhhh, don’t look now but while most of the NHL was doing its thing the Vancouver Canucks have snuck up and become one of the better teams in this league. The Canucks always put a good dose of speed and puck handlers out on the ice and this season is no exception, led by the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler, and a sturdy, and deep defense. Roberto Luongo was the man to save Canada in the Olympics, now it’s his turn to try and get the Canucks a long awaited Cup. The Kings bring youth and an Eastern style of game with size and strength on its side. If LA can jump out early in games and force that size on Vancouver we may be in for a tough series and a long hard fought war. If Vancouver gets out quick, and allows the defense to control the game with puck handling, we will see very little of the Kings. This should be a good playoff series, and LA will make the Canucks earn it here.
Prediction: Canucks in 6
4. Phoenix Coyotes vs 5. Detroit Red Wings
Prediction: Red Wings in 6
Enjoy the first round, and I will be back with more predictions as the playoffs continue!
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