Before I post my pre-game for tomorrow nights huge matchup with the San Jose Sharks, I’m going to give my early playoff predictions for this year’s playoffs:
Well, this one has it’s tough points, but I still think it’s much easier than the constipated Western Conference:
1st – Philadelphia Flyers
2nd – Tampa Bay Lightning
3rd – Montreal Canadiens
4th – Washington Capitals
5th – Pittsburgh Penguins
6th – Boston Bruins
7th – Carolina Hurricanes
8th – Atlanta Thrashers
The top 3 (Flyers/Lightning/Canadiens) I think are all guaranteed spots.
4th and 5th – I just can’t help but think we’re not going to see another rematch of Pittsburg/Washington. Washington stays about right where they are now and I think Pittsburg drops a bit, but stays steady and grabs the 5th spot.
6th – I don’t think the Bruins will hold on to the Northeast division, I think Thomas has done all he can up to this point, but poor defensive play as of late really sends a sign that this team is hurting for some consistent play on defense. My guess is Thomas starts letting in a few more goals and Pekka Rinne may steal that Vezina from home, but I DO have my Preds Glasses on when I say that
7th/8th spots? Crapshoot. I don’t think the Blue Shirts make the playoffs, just a gut feeling. I sense a complete nervous breakdown of John Tortorella at the end of the year…and I think it will be funny.
Atlanta…whew, they fell RIGHT off the map. But they’re going to go strong and finish out the season grabbing that eighth spot.
Whew…now THIS is a toughy. There are SOOOO many teams fighting for a spot, that it’s literally a grab bag at who makes it (past Vancouver)
1st – Vancouver Canucks
2nd – Nashville Predators
3rd – Anaheim Ducks
4th – Detroit Red Wings
5th – Phoenix Coyotes
6th – Dallas Stars
7th – San Jose Sharks
8th – Los Angeles Kings
KRISTOPHER PREDICTS A COMPLETE SHAKE UP FOR SPOTS 2-8! Hahaha! It’s THAT crazy in the Western Conference to where teams like the Blackhawks/Avalanche start the season so well, but ending up losing out to teams that have strong finishes like the Ducks/Sharks. And don’t check your monitor settings, you’re reading all of these correctly, so let me explain 2-8:
2nd – The Nashville Predators, as I stated in a previous blog, WILL catch up to the Detroit Red Wings and WILL win that Central Division title and the second spot below the Canucks. The pieces are falling together for the Predators. Right about now, all they are going to have to start worrying about is STAYING healthy and who they are going to have to trade or scratch/waive any given night. The chemistry is there and with Fisher now in our line up (and whoever the Preds may acquire before the deadline), it’s hard NOT to see this team as a competitor for the Central Division
3rd – The Anaheim Ducks are going to emerge as the Pacific Division champs. The Stars aren’t going to be able to hold it, and I just don’t see the Sharks/Coyotes competing for it. At the beginning of the year, I told myself that if Hiller could stay healthy and competitive and if this team didn’t collapse during their losing stretch early, they would come back strong. Boy have they ever
4th – The Red Wings are going to be hanging with the Predators till the very end, but will eventually give way and take the fourth spot, making for an exciting re-match of last year’s WCQF against…
5th – The Phoenix Coyotes! Yay for the Coyotes! Even through the midst of another year of “selling the team”, they still put a competitive product on the ice. It’s going to be fun watching that playoff series again
6th – The Stars are going to fall sharply here in the next couple weeks but are going to recover just in time to stay in the race and grab the 6th spot. Having Brad Richards out for however long he’s out will hurt this team
7th – Don’t like putting the Sharks here (as that means we’ll face them in the first round), but this is where they’ll end up. They’ve been WAY too streaky all year for a team that has TOP-tier talent and they’ve pretty much earned being in the bottom of the top 8, so that’s where they’ll stay
8th -The Los Angeles Kings will complete the top 8 and make the Pacific Division all in for the playoffs. They’ve looked so rough as of late, but they’ll still get into the playoffs. I think they’ll edge the Calgary Flames on the last day of the season (see: last years final game of PHI/NYR)
So, that being said, here’s the playoff break down! (bold/caps are the winners)
ECQF – #1 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS vs #8 Atlanta Thrashers
ECQF – #2 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs #7 Carolina Hurricanes
ECQF – #3 Montreal Canadiens vs #6 BOSTON BRUINS
ECQF – #4 WASHINGTON CAPITALS vs #5 Pittsburgh Penguins
WCQF – #1 VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs #8 L.A. Kings
WCQF – #2 NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs #7 San Jose Sharks
WCQF – #3 Anaheim Ducks vs #6 DALLAS STARS
WCQF – #4 Detroit Red Wings vs #5 PHOENIX COYOTES
ECSF – #1 Philadelphia Flyers vs #6 BOSTON BRUINS
ECSF – #2 TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs #4 Washington Capitals
WCSF – #1 VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs #6 Dallas Stars
WCSF – #2 NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs #5 Phoenix Coyotes
ECF – #2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #6 BOSTON BRUINS
WCF – #1 Vancouver Canucks vs #2 NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Stanley Cup Finals – BOSTON BRUINS beat the Nashville Predators in 6
I know, I know. You’re saying I’m crazy and I’m just looking through it in my “Preds” glasses…but you know what…it’s definitely possible.
Two crazy-good goaltenders backstopping their teams to the Stanley Cup Finals. Can’t say that hasn’t happened before. Just look at last year’s finals with Leighton and Niemi.
So, have your poke at me, as these standings will probably be completely wrong. But it’s fun to speculate
Thanks for reading!