After one of my worst showings ever in the office hockey pool, I will still venture into the post-season prediction abyss with my first-round-choices.
The one positive about my favourite team's demise – the Montreal Canadiens – is I don't have to wrestle with my heart in playoff prognostications.
In the East, the New York Rangers are for real this season. Anchored by goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers are solid everywhere, and will be too much for Ottawa to handle. I like New York in six.
My adage of not picking against the champion until it gives you a reason, is why I will take Boston over Washington in five.
Florida and New Jersey is an interesting series. Even though the Panthers finished with 10 fewer wins, I'm taking them as an upset in six.
Finally, in the East, the battle of Pennsylvania could go the distance. I'm taking the Flyers over the Penguins in seven, allowing Sidney Crosby to perhaps suit up for Canada at the world championship.
The West has some interesting series, and I look for the Canucks to use their depth in beating the Los Angeles Kings in six.
Jonathan Quick does have the ability to deliver a great playoff performance, and that could lead to a big upset over the Presidents Cup champions.
St. Louis has the best goaltending tandem in years and the Blues should ride this defensive wave over San Jose in six.
I like Nashville to beat Detroit, just because I think the Red Wings time could be nearing an end. Finally there’s a good local battle brewing featuring Taylor Pyatt of Phoenix against Patrick Sharp and the Blackhawks.
It will be the goaltending of Mike Smith that will advance the Coyotes to the second round in five.
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