Playoffs!!! So excited, nightly doubleheaders for the next week or so. This is easily the best time of the year, though my girlfriend would disagree. Every matchup is an excellent one, too... lots of great series all around.
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) New York Islanders
Pens in 6. Great rivalry as these two teams hate the shit out of eachother and I'm pretty sure the best part of last season was watching Johnson break DiPietro's face, lol. Will be nice to see Tavares in the playoffs but I gotta see Iggy win!
(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (7) Ottawa Senators
Habs in 6. Anderson will be a solid roadblock for awhile but I don't see him stealing a series... Price will have a few soft games but not enough to keep the Habs from losing. Awesome regional rivalry but I'm not sure anyone outside of Quebec/Ontario will care.
(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) New York Rangers
Caps in 7. I'm banking on Ovi + Holtby getting hot and going into playoff beast mode. Rags lose and Torts gets canned the next day, book it! Another great rivalry... these guys have seen eachother in the playoffs enough consecutive years to make each team hate eachother.
(4) Boston Bruins vs (5) Toronto Maple Leafs
Bruins in 5. Sorry Toronto, your playoff drought has effectively continued... Ottawa really fucked you when they beat the Bruins on the last day of the season, which is only fitting given the Battle of Ontario I suppose. Reimer will steal a game but otherwise the Leafs get steamrolled. Kessel disappears in a series full of truculence.
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild
Hawks in 6. I was hoping for a first-round exit from the Hawks, but honestly, fuck the Wild. Who boos a backup goaltender with multiple sclerosis who has overcome a career of injury issues to still play in the NHL despite epic adversity? Backwoods cousin-fuckers from Minnesota, that's who. Seriously. Fuck them. Parise scores enough to win a game or two, but otherwise they get dismantled.
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings
Ducks in 5. Howard/??? are bad, Hiller/Fasth are excellent. The rest of the rosters can't even compare evenly and Detroit gets spanked.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
Canucks in 6. Niemi will steal a few games but the Canucks are pissed off enough from losing in the first round last year that they deal with the Sharks handily. If Kesler awakens, Canucks in 5.
(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings
Kings in 5. Brian Fucking Elliot, that's all I have to say. Sorry J-Bo, your playoff drought also effectively continues. I know Halak hasn't been anything special this year, but hopefully Hitch remembers who carried the Habs on his back to the ECF a few years back. Otherwise, the Blues get rolled easily.