Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Well it's that time of the year again, time for the 2009 version of my playoff predictions. Just like previous years both myself and my wife are making predictions and competing for marital bragging rights. On to the predictions:

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Interesting series, the BJ's (snicker) are in the post-season for the first time. Too bad it's against the defending Stanley Cup champs as even with rookie sensation Steve Mason, this one's no contest. Detroit's been somewhat underachieving (if you can call a #2 finish in the NHL underachieving) all year, but it'll take a miracle for this one to go past 5 games.
  • My prediction: Detroit in 5
  • Wife's Prediction: Detroit in 7
San Jose Sharks vs Anaheim Ducks
San Jose's been at or near the top of the standings all season long, and are arguably the favourites to win it all this post-season. The Ducks had a very slow start, kinda picked it up midseason, then hobbled into the playoffs nearly losing their playoff spot late in the season. Again, this one doesn't look like much of a contest, though given San Jose's history of underachieving in the post-season maybe this is an upset waiting to happen. Yeah right.
  • My Prediction: San Jose in 6
  • Wife's Prediction: San Jose in 5
Chicago Blackhawks vs Calgary Flames
This is the matchup to watch in the west, as the other 3 are likely going to be snoozers. Chicago's got a youthful, enthusastic, and very skilled team with a solid goaltending duo. Calgary has (when healthy) one of the best defensive cores in the NHL, the goaltender who (IMHO) should win the Vezina this season, and arguably the best power forward in the game in Iginla. Should be a hell of a matchup. If both teams were completely healthy I'd give it to Calgary for their experience, but given cow-town's injuries and the fact that they nearly had a complete collapse in the month of March, this one should be close.
  • My Prediction: Calgary in 7
  • Wife's Prediction: Calgary in 6
Vancouver Canucks vs St. Louis Blues
Never would've predicted this one at the end of February. How my boys managed to catch Calgary and how St Louis managed to not only make the post-season but finish in 6th is beyond me. My boys are playing some fine hockey right now, and Luongo is looking like, well, Luongo with 2 shutouts to finish off the season. The addition of Sundin really helped balance the scoring, giving us a bonafide #2 scoring line for the first time in what seems like forever. St Louis has been hot down the stretch, but I just don't see them putting up much of a fight in this series. We simply have more to play for and far more skill than they do.
  • My Prediction: Vancouver in 5
  • Wife's Prediction: Vancouver in 6
Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens
This one has the potential to be a legendary series. It's arguably the most well-known rivalry in the NHL, and with Montreal being in their centennial season makes things extra special. Boston has looked like a powerhouse this season and although they cooled off a little bit late, they're still a hell of a hockey team. Montreal is an inexperienced, arguably soft, and very injured team right now, and who isn't playing with a lot of confidence. This one should be fun, but short.
  • My Prediction: Boston in 5
  • Wife's Prediction: Montreal in 7
Washington Capitals vs NY Rangers
Ovie-mania! Washington's played great all season, and given the dissapointment over their loss to Philly early in last year's playoffs should be hungry to go farther. I do think Washington is the most overrated of the division winners though, feasting on a rather weak Southeast division (though Carolina did their best to change that division's reputation down the stretch), and while Theodore is capable of being amazing (we saw that some time ago when he was in Montreal), he's also capable of choking (we saw that in Colorado last year). New York had an amazing start to the season, then struggled as the season went on. Torts was a great coaching change though, and is a proven playoff coach winning the Cup with Tampa a few years back. If Avery can play hockey and not be such a dumbass, this would has upset written all over it.
  • My Prediction: NY in 6
  • Wife's Prediction: Washington in 6
New Jersey Devils vs Carolina Hurricanes
Tough one to call. At points this season NJ looked so solid, with such great balanced scoring and solid defensive play. They're littered with veteran experienced players who know how to win (Shanny being the best example). Then Marty came back and they looked near unstoppable in the first few games after his return. They cooled off in recent weeks though. Carolina looked so-so all season until late, and after they re-picked up Eric Cole went on a huge run, finishing the season as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. This could be an upset, but I still think that NJ will pull it out.
  • My Prediction: NJ in 6
  • Wife's Prediction: NJ in 7
Philadelphia Flyers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
This is it. The series to watch. Playoff hockey at it's finest. Two rivals that absolutely hate each other battling it out in a 7 game series. Philly will be hungry to avenge their loss to the Pens last season, and truth be told, Pittsburgh is lucky to find itself in the post-season given how inconsistent they were throughout most of the season. Should be a bloodbath, and I think either team could win, but I'll go with Philly on this one.
  • My Prediction: Philly in 7
  • Wife's Prediction: Philly in 6
And there you have it. I honestly don't know who I think will win it all, this season more than most in recent memory has a feel of "anyone is beatable", so it could be a year of the upset or the dark horse. If push came to shove I'd go with Detroit as my pick to repeat, simply because they are arguably the most skilled team in the NHL, and have the experience to back it up.

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