1. Boston over 8. Montreal in 6- The Habs didn’t carry much momentum into the postseason, and the Bruins are simply built for this kind of series. Tim Thomas will be the difference, but I don’t see his game changing much this time of year.
2. Washington over 7. New York in 7 – I have no faith in the Rags this spring, but I do have faith in Lundqvist. He will steal a few games, but Washington just has too much firepower. They aren’t getting far with a one-dimensional power play and suspect goaltending, but they will get out of the first round.
3. New Jersey over 6. Carolina in 6 – I’m pretty excited about this one, but I think it may turn out to be a wee bit boring with Jersey in the driver’s seat. Carolina got hot to end the year, but I don’t doubt the Devils in the postseason anymore. They make it to the second round no matter how Ward plays.
5. Philadelphia over 4. Pittsburgh in 6 – I just don’t think the Pens have it this year, and Philly really impressed me head to head against Buffalo. The goaltending may be a problem for the Flyers, but I think Biron can win them a series at the very least. Too much talent on Philly to fail.
1. San Jose over 8. Anaheim in 5 – The Sharks also play beautiful hockey. Anaheim will grind it out, but I think the Sharks go deep this year. A showdown with the Red Wings is a hockey fan’s dream match up.
2. Detroit over 7. Columbus in 7 – I hate this series because I’m secretly rooting for the Blue Jackets, but the Wings aren’t collapsing just yet. Goaltending issues aside I think they are the best team in the league, but this one will get close. (I’m pretty sure I always say it will be close, and then they cruise in the first round. So there.)
6. St. Louis over 3. Vancouver in 6 – I haven’t watched much of either team, but Keller is excited about the Blues and therefore so am I.
5. Calgary over 4. Chicago in 6 – As much as Calgary has struggled, I don’t think Chicago will be ready just yet. Goaltending will be key once again, and Huet doesn’t convince me just yet. Either way, I’m excited about this one.
1. Boston over 8. Montreal in 5
2. Washington over 7. New York in 6
3. New Jersey over 6. Carolina in 7
5. Philadelphia over 4. Pittsburgh in 7
1. San Jose over 8. Anaheim in 5
2. Detroit over 7. Columbus in 4
3. Vancouver over 6. St. Louis in 5
4. Chicago over 5. Calgary in 6
Round One MVP: Roberto Luongo
Boston over Montreal in 6
I think Boston takes this in an easy six, if that makes any sense. I just really don’t see the Habs beating that short, fat man in net for the Bruins.
Washington over New York in 6
Lundqvist is good enough to keep the Rags in this, but I think Ovechkin, Semin and Co. is too much firepower to overcome.
New Jersey over Carolina in 7
Carolina is hotter than a firecracker, but Martin Brodeur is fresh. Advantage: Brodeur.
Pittsburgh over Philadelphia in 6
I don’t have a whole helluva lot of confidence in Marty Biron at this point (even though I was a huge supporter of trading for him at the deadline.) It’s been a strange season for Pittsburgh, but I think they can squeeze by the Flyers before falling in the second round.
San Jose over Anaheim in 4
I think this is the only series with the potential for a sweep. San Jose is just too fast and too good for the Ducks to keep up.
Detroit over Columbus in 5
Osgood and Conklin have been pretty terrible this year, and everybody thinks that goaltending will lead to their downfall. And honestly, those people are probably right. Just not in the first round…
St. Louis over Vancouver in 7
Hell, I have to pick at least one upset, don’t I?
Calgary over Chicago in 7
I’m pulling for Chicago, but I think some of their big guns are just a bit too green to pull this one out.