Three seven-game series plenty of overtime and interesting upsets highlighted the opening round of the NHL playoffs.
And, unlike my result in the regular-season office pool, my playoff picks weren't all that bad (five out of eight)
Behind the goaltending of Mike Smith, Phoenix eliminated the offensive-powered Chicago Blackhawks. Next up are the Nashville Predators, which knocked off Detroit. Look for this to be the battle of the netminders, as Pekka Rinne is every bit as a good as Smith. Very hard to call, but I'm thinking Nashville wins in six.
The other Western series features Kenora's Mike Richards and the Los Angeles Kings against the St.Louis Blues. Here is a battle of two very-well coached teams, which play a defence-first game. I think the Blues D is better, so I like them in six.
After being taken to the wall in the opening round by Ottawa, look for the New York Rangers to have learned a lesson. This is a solid team, plenty of depth and Braden Holtby's performance for the Capitals over Boston notwithstanding, Henrik Lundqvist is just the better netminder. I pick the Rangers in five.
The Flyers are flying high, and they should dispose of the Devils. But, you can never rule-out future Hall of Famers in the playoffs. Martin Brodeur was vintage in Jersey's double overtime game seven win over Florida. Still, Claude Giroux is so hot, and so is the Flyers offence. I'm taking Philly in six.
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