Chicago, IL — Ok since we are on the cusp of the NHL Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, I thought I would give my two cents for what it’s worth of how these series will play out and what is the keys to the series in my opinion.
I will take a look at the Western Conference match-ups and then the East and just a few brief observations and summaries on these matchups.
The Western Conference
Vancouver Canucks #1 vs LA Kings #8
This will not be as easy a matchup as one would think. The Canucks do not like the physical bruising style of play that LA plays. LA has a solid defense and a stellar goaltender in Jonathan Quick where they can not compete with the Canucks is in the fire power category. The Canucks can survive without Daniel Sedin but I doubt the Kings can survive without Jeff Carter which will be the key to this series of Carter is back or not. Still Advantage: Vancouver Canucks in six
St. Louis Blues #2 vs San Jose Sharks #7
This could be a very grueling series for both teams as it will be physical. San Jose has the better offense and the Blues the better defense and goaltending with Halak and Elliott. St. Louis has not played well of late but they are too well coached to completely crumble in this series. The keys will be how frustrated San Jose gets with the tight defensive play that St. Louis employs. Also the Blues have home ice advantage which is huge to not have to got out west again and play at the Shark tank. Advantage: St. Louis Blues in six.
Phoenix Coyotes #3 vs. Chicago Blackhawks #6
This is an interesting matchup because it is a contest of total opposites. Phoenix plays a tight defensive game while Chicago likes to play a high-flying offensive style. The key to this series will be the Blackhawks patience. If they can bid their time and play a solid defensive game and wait for their chances they have too much fire power for the Coyotes to keep up with. Mike Smith has been outstanding but he can not carry the whole team for a series. Advantage: Chicago Blackhawks in six.
Nashville Predators #4 vs Detroit Red Wings #5
This is the motherload of a series. I actually believe this one is a coin flip. Detroit has the experience and skills, they are defensively solid and know what it takes to win. Nashville on the other hand has gone all in this year and not only bulked up but they brought in offensive fire power from Russia. Call me crazy even tho Detroit does not have home ice I still think they are too crafty with Datsyuk, Lidstom and Zetterburg. In an upset Advantage: Detroit Red Wings in seven
The Eastern Conference
New York Rangers #1 vs Ottawa Senators #8
Ottawa has had a Cinderella year with the all-star game held there and now their Senators making the playoffs. Eventually you have to wake up from the dream to reality and I’m afraid this is when it will happen. The Rangers are too solid defensively & their goaltending is outstanding with Lundqvist. They will be too much for Ottawa to overcome in Madison Square Garden. Advantage New York Rangers is six.
Boston Bruins #2 vs Washington Capitols
This is a very interesting series where we have brawn vs skill. If Ovechkin plays like he can this series could easily tlt towards the Capitals. Boston will be feeling the effects right about now of being the Stanley Cup champions & Tim Thomas has lost the confidence of this team with his White Housegate. Nothing like putting your needs above the teams to foster cohesiveness as a team. Advantage: Washington Capitals.
Florida Panthers #3 vs New Jersey Devils #6
I’m afraid the Panthers will be very glad that they made the playoffs and perhaps settle for that. I hope I’m wrong but I just don’t think that they will be able to solve the mystique of goalie Broduer. Advantage: New Jersey Devils in six.
Pittsburgh Penguins #4 vs Philadelphia Flyers #5
The Penguins have all the skills and the goaltending too and they have the Stanley Cup playoff experience too. Still with all of this the key to the series will be the Philly goaltending. If the goaltending holds up look for an upset in this one as Philadelphia finally pushes past the Penguins. I know every expert is picking the Penguins to win the Cup call this one just a feeling. Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers in seven.