photo courtesy of goig
It's that time of year again. I don't mean it's spring time either (a whole separate posting in itself).
After nearly a season of more than 2400 mostly mundane National Hockey League games, it's the playoffs: the road to the Stanley Cup.
I used to follow the league much more closely in the past. But, for the record, I'll give it a shot.
BTOG's prognostications for the first round of the 2009 NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup Champs:
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
Will be a most entertaining series, as usual. Don't write off the sad sack Canadiens despite their mid season dismantlement. The Bruins may be more talented and possess most of the grit in this match up but, historically, the Habs will pick up their socks. The key to Canadiens victory will be Carey Price, the goalie.
Prediction: Habs in 6 (in a 7 game series).
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers
Ovechin, Ovechin, Ovechin, Ovechin... Enough said. Too much Ovechin.
Prediction: Capitals in 5.
New Jersey Devils vs. Hartford Whalers...I mean the Carolina Hurricanes.
Who cares? Carolina's hot down the stretch but I have this feeling Devil's goalie icon, Martin Brodeur will resuscitate his game in the nick of time.
Prediction: Devils in 7.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers.
Flyer's goalie Marty Biron better stand on his head in this series or it could be banishment to the links pretty quick this year. I like the Flyer's work ethic. Too bad they made some dumb trades at the trade deadline.
As for the Penguins, Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz and Co. maybe too much to handle.
Prediction: Penguins in 7 (only because of the home game advantage).
Calgary Flames vs. Chicago Blackhawks.
Will be another entertaining series. Doesn't look good for the hometown Flames. Where shall we start: injuries, poor record on the road, poor record against Chicago, poor record vs Hawks' goalie Khabibulin. Did I mention the injuries?
I don't like how they limped into the playoffs. What really didn't help was the tinkering of the roster at the trade deadline. It really screwed up the team chemistry.
The key to the series will be Flames' goalie Kiprusoff. He's going to have to steal a couple of games for the home side.
Prediction: Calgary in six.
San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks
I still disagree with naming a team after waterfowl.
This will be a close series.
The Ducks have been hot down the stretch. The Sharks can be had.
This will be the upset of the opening round.
Prediction: Ducks in seven.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets.
Dunno about naming a team after a piece of clothing.
The Red Wings are just too much. Too much talent. Too much depth. The only deficiency in their roster is their goaltending. They have to correct this by playing tighter defence.
I really like Blue Jackets' Rick Nash. But he may not be enough to dethrone the Wings.
Prediction: Wings in 6 (only because of their mediocre goaltending).
Vancouver Canucks vs. St Louis Blues.
Maybe another upset in the making. The Blues are very hot.
The play of Vancouver's goalie Luongo will be decisive. His play in the last couple of weeks of the season was inconsistent.
I'll err on the side of Luongo.
Prediction: Canucks in seven.
The Stanley Cup Prediction
The Detroit Red Wings vs. The New Jersey Devils.
The 2009 Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings.