Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sifting Through Round 1 (NHL & NBA)

With 14 NHL and NBA playoff games the past two nights, Round 1 has taken on some color.  Let me take you to the finish line.  First the NHL.

NHL-Eastern Conference
(1)Washington v (8) Montreal:  Currently 3-1 Caps.  Nice early effort by the Habs, but blowing a 4-1 lead with two minutes left in the second period of game two, coming back to tie and then losing in OT sealed the deal.  Caps 4-1.

(2) New Jersey v (7) Philadelphia:  Currently 3-1 Flyers.  The only team the Devils can beat with any consistency is Pittsburgh.  Being in the same state hasn't helped, but I think the Devils don't go down without a fight.  Flyers 4-3.

(3) Buffalo v (6) Boston:  Currently 3-1 Bruins.  The least entertaining series of the eight.  Neither team can score and they don't look good trying.  Good goalies and not many other good players to watch.  Boston won't close the deal even though they are up 3-1.  Sabres 4-3.

(4) Pittsburgh v (5) Ottawa:  Currently 3-1 Penguins.  Pittsburgh appears to be rounding into form and Crosby's showing he's easily the best player on the planet.  Penguins 4-1.

Gary Bettman is loving the way things are playing out in the East.  If either the Bruins or Flyers win one of the last three games the Capitals and the Penguins will be set up to meet in the Conference Finals rather than Round 2.  Remember the NHL reseeds every round.  A ratings bonanza for the league, but work still to be done to have it all work out.

Western Conference
(1) San Jose v (8) Colorado:  Currently 2-2, the last three games going to OT.  Q: What do you call 25 millionaires at home watching the playoffs?  A:  The Sharks.  But I can't pick against them here.  They are too big and physical for the Avs and I think they win the next two.  Heroic work by Craig Anderson to keep the Avs in it, but Sharks 4-2.

(2) Chicago v (7) Nashville:  Currently 2-1 Predators.  The Hawks have four goals in three games and I don't see much changing.  I think Game 4 is a must win for Chicago and I don't think it's going to happen, Pekka Rinne has been too good and the Preds are too responsible in their own zone.  A hugely disappointing bow out by Chicago.  Predators 4-2.

(3) Vancouver v (6) Los Angeles:  Currently 2-2.  The most wide-open and entertaining series so far.  Great play by the stars and shaky goaltending at times on each side.  I have no idea.  Let's say Drew Doughty with an OT goal in Game 7 in Vancouver.  Kings 4-3.

(4)NHL/Phoenix v (5) Detroit:  Another great series.  The Coyotes have been the season's surprise team and have given a great account of themselves thus far.  But Zetterberg and Datsuyk appear to be heating up and I don't think Bryzgalov can carry the day.  Red Wings 4-2.

Three lower seeds and setting up for San Jose-Detroit.  The NHL would love Chicago to make it through.  We'll see what happens.  Feel free to express your views below.


Anonymous said...

I can agree with all of your hockey predictions but the Buffalo/Boston matchup. I think coming back in that manner last night will give Rask the confidence to close the Vanekless Sabres out in Boston. (If they lose that game last night I think his confidence takes a youthful hit) I could see Miller stealing a game but don't think he can't steal the series.

Boston Rice said...

First time I felt the need to disagree with you Hammer . . . the Boston/Buffalo series has been a terrific series. Very evenly matched, fast paced, hard hitting and unbelieveable goaltending. C'mon now Hammer, I know you are from Pittsburgh and the Penguins may be better than both teams, but don't get nearsighted on us.