So: Here’s my review of the First Round of the 2011 NHL Playoffs, along with my predictions. I’ll post my Second Round Predictions in the next post….
#1 Washington vs. #8 NY Rangers: Washington, 4-1. My prediction: Washington in five. The Caps played defense, and the Rangers kept it respectable by going to double overtime in Game #4: but not enough goals to keep the Caps down. Washington looks really strong out in the East.
#2 Philadelphia vs. #7 Buffalo: Philly, 4-3. My prediction: Buffalo in 6 or 7. Here’s where the antithesis of what I described earlier- a goalie gets hot- worked against the Sabres, and there’s some irony here. Ryan Miller is the best USA goalie right now: and he’s hitting the links. The Flyers won Game 7, 5-2, and they won handily. Still, it’s not as though the Philly goalie-by-committee approach was all that great, and it must be said that Buffalo doesn’t have lots of goal-scorers on the team.
#3 Boston vs. #6 Montreal: Boston, 4-3. My prediction: Boston in 5. The way the Canadiens came out in the first two games, everyone on the planet thought Corey Price was divine. Then reality caught up with Montreal. I’ve only caught the highlights on this series so far.
#4 Pittsburgh vs. #5 Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay, 4-3. My prediction: Tampa Bay in 7. The Lightening have spunk! And they can score goals! And their goalie got hot!
I picked Washington, Boston, and Tampa Bay; I also
predicted guessed the Washington series and the Tampa Bay series.
#1 Vancouver vs. #8 Chicago: Vancouver, 4-3. My prediction: Vancouver in 6. Wow: the Blackhawks came on a like a locomotive after being down 3-0. It really appeared to be like last year: just dominating, draping their will over the Canucks. I saw most of Game 7; really great hockey, and the tying goal by Toews and the OT winner by Burrows was a hammer on the ambitions of Chicago for a back-to-back championship run. Last thought: Vancouver’s goalie, Roberto Luongo, was not as sharp as anyone expected, and the contrast was the play of Blackhawk goalie, Corey Crawford: really on top the whole game, and was rarely scored on in a horrible way: unlike Luongo. That OT winner might have been stopped had Crawford come out of the net a little further…
#2 Sharks vs. #7 LA Kings. Sharks, 4-2. My prediction: Sharks in 5. Bad officiating in this series: even people on the right coast noticed this. Game 3: Wow! Down by 4 goals, and the Sharks came back in ways that people in LA are thinking, “This can’t be happening…” Game 5: Same experience for the San Jose fans: except the reverse outcome. Just a last thought here: hook together the Game 3 comeback, the two penalty kills in the 3rd period and the OT of Game 6, and the OT game winner by Thornton in Game 6: That might be the confidence-building experience that gets the Cup for the Sharks this season…just sayin’…
#3 Detroit vs. #6 Phoenix: Detroit, 4-0. My prediction: Phoenix in 6 or 7. Whoops. No one saw this coming. I did not see any of these games, so I’m only going off of the reports: goalkeeping was inadequate, and everyone from Detroit contributed to the scoring. You can golf year-round in Arizona, and that’s what the Coyotes are doing as you read this…
#4 Anaheim vs. #5 Nashville: Nashville, 4-2. My prediction: Anaheim in 6 or 7. I also predicted that Pekka Rinne of the Predators would get hot: he did. I saw the Game 5 tying goal by Weber from the point with 38 seconds left in the game: what a back-breaker for the Ducks. The crowd was pumped: and instantly deflated, as was the home team when they lost in OT. No surprise, then: the Preds returned home, took care of business in front of the home town crowd. Good for Nashville: this is the first time the team has made it out of the First Round. Not good: Rinne played really, really well. This could mean some serious trouble for Vancouver, all of their snipers notwithstanding.
I picked Vancouver & San Jose; I did not pick any of the series’ winners’ games correctly.
So, I picked 5 out of 8 winners in the First Round. And: I predicted Pekka Rinne would get hot. Consequently, Anaheim got stuffed; Nashville could be a real nuisance to everyone’s brackets.
See the following post for my Second Round Predictions…