Playoffs – Eastern Conference Preview

nhl eastern conference

After a great Sunday game between the Bruins and the Senators the East is all set for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The final placings didn’t work out how I would have liked them to, but there’s sure to be some great hockey coming up.

Ideally, I would have loved to have seen a Canadiens-Maple Leafs match up. I’m a Montréal fan and a Leafs hater and watching two of the oldest rivals in pro-sports play each other would have been great (it’s been far too long since they last met in the playoffs). That being said, I’m sure the Bruins-Leafs series will be fun to watch as both teams have a good deal of rough and tumble to them. Also, a team that I’ve come to like a lot over the last half-decade are the Islanders, but unfortunately for them, they drew the Penguins in the first round, which is definitely bad news for them. Anyways, lots to look forward to.

On to the predictions:

  • Penguins(1) vs Islanders(8)
    Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY SportsThe Islanders had a great second half to this short season, which resulted in them getting into the playoffs. Their last 3 games of the regular season, however, kept them stuck in 8th meaning they will now have to face the offensive juggernaut that is the Penguins. Not surprisingly, Pittsburgh dominated New York in the season series and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue into the playoffs. Unless Marc-Andre Fleury shits the bed and the Penguins lose their confidence because of it, the Islanders don’t really stand a chance.
    My prediction: Penguins win in 4. (I’ll be cheering for the Isles though)
  • Canadiens(2) vs Senators(7)
    (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)This has the potential to be a great, back-and-forth series because these are two very similar teams: each has a good goaltender, both have good team speed and both have offensively-gifted blueliners. The forward squads for the two are basically a wash, so I think it will come down to which goaltender plays more solidly and which group of defensemen do a better job of putting up points. And I believe it’s going to be Ottawa coming out on top. They have this year’s best goaltender backstopping them and they have the best defenseman to play hockey since Bobby Orr, who I’m sure will come up with a game-breaking play or two.
    My prediction: Senators win in 7.
  • Capitals(3) vs Rangers(6)
    THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan RemiorzOne of the most dynamic teams in the NHL against probably the most boring team in the NHL. Washington’s success or lack there of will depend on which Alex Ovechkin shows up: if it’s the second-half, Rocket Richard Trophy winning Ovechkin then the Caps will be successful. Of course they’re also going to need secondary scoring and solid goaltending, but Ovechkin’s the key. New York has the potential to smother Washington with their shot-blocking, defensive style led by the King, Henrik Lundqvist, but I don’t see that happening this time around.
    My prediction: Washington wins in 5.
  • Bruins(4) vs Maple Leafs(5)
    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)This one should be fun with two big, tough teams who enjoy the rough stuff, one of whom hasn’t been in the playoffs for a long time. Boston has the edge here due to playoff experience and goaltending. Tuukka Rask will not be out-dueled by James Reimer if it comes down to goaltending. The Bruins are a team that will get under your skin (as the Canucks learned a couple years ago) and the Leafs have a few hot-heads who will be happy to oblige them, meaning that the Leafs penalty-kill, which was good this season, will be tested a lot.
    My prediction: Bruins win in 6. (I strongly dislike both of these teams, but sure will enjoy watching them beat each other up)

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