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I'm Ryan from the Red Light District, and I'm looking into my crystal ball today. Here are my predictions for the postseason:
Eastern Conference Playoffs
1) Canadiens over 8) Hurricanes – 4-1
Even though Price and the Habs will deposit the ‘Canes in five games, they will be games that are decided in the 3 rd period. Montreal’s power play will be too much for Carolina, who had to fight and claw their way into the postseason down the stretch.
2) Flyers over 7) Rangers – 4-2
Henrik Lundqvist is good enough to steal 2 games in this series; but in the end, the Flyers have too many weapons to be knocked out in the first round. Martin Biron will be good enough as the Flyers overpower the Blueshirts in all phases of the game.
3) Capitals over 6) Bruins – 4-3
This doesn’t seem like a great matchup by any stretch of the imagination, but it find a way to become a classic series. Who will be the difference?? Not Ovechkin or Jose Theodore… it will be Alexander Semin. Zdeno Chara will have Ovie on lockdown, so Semin will come through on the second line.
4) Penguins over 5) Devils – 4-2
As long as Sid and Geno are healthy, the Pens should get past Brodeur and company. It will take a while for the new Pens to gel, but they’ll be fine as long as health isn’t a concern come playoff time. Marc-Andre Fleury will be awesome in this series, and the Devils will run out of steam in games 5 and 6.
1) Canadiens over 4) Penguins – 4-3
On paper, this matchup has the makings for a classic series. Two great young goaltenders… two high-flying offenses… and two solid defensive units. In the end, the Habs simply have more playmakers than the Pens, along with more depth. Montreal advances in seven.
2) Flyers over 3) Capitals – 4-2
After surviving a seven-game series against Boston, Washington will start to run out of gas against Philly. In a rematch of last year's playoff series, Mike Richards and Daniel Briere will be too much for the Caps.
Eastern Conference Finals
1) Canadiens over 2) Flyers – 4-2
Both teams will be coming off emotional series wins from the 2 nd round of the playoffs. Last spring, the Flyers disposed Montreal in 5 games, but a big factor in that series was the lackluster play of Carey Price. I believe the Price is right in this one, and the Flyers go home just short of the Cup Finals once again. Alex Tanguay and Alexei Kovalev will lead the charge for the Canadiens in the series.
Western Conference Playoffs
8) Wild over 1) Red Wings – 4-2
The last two times the Wings have won the Cup, they’ve lost in either the first or second round to ‘Cinderella’ teams. Everybody on the planet will expect the Wings to sweep this series… not so fast, my friend. Jacques Lemaire runs a system that could give Detroit some fits offensively. Marian Gaborik will finally perform in the playoffs to earn some extra cash in the summer. Wild pull off the upset in six.
2) Stars over 7) Blackhawks – 4-1
I love what this Dallas team brings to the table. The Blackhawks will just be happy to take the next step to make the playoffs. The Stars have bigger goals in mind, and will coast by the ‘Hawks in five.
6) Flames over 3) Oilers – 4-3
The last time the ‘Battle of Alberta’ took place in the playoffs was in 1991… the Oilers won in seven games that year. I expect a fairly different outcome here. The Oilers will have a magical regular season, but the Flames have too much playoff experience on their roster to not take this series. Calgary prevails in seven grueling games.
4) Sharks over 5) Ducks – 4-3
You know Todd McLellan will feel the pressure once the postseason comes around next spring. But he'll be fine as his team will take down their California foe in seven games, behind great performances by Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov. The Ducks just don’t have the offensive depth to get by San Jose this season.
2) Stars over 8) Wild – 4-1
This won’t even be a series. Minnesota had to kill themselves to defeat the Wings as the Stars breezed by Chicago. The Wild will have enough in the tank to squeak by in either game 3 or 4, but Marty Turco and company will be too much… Stars in five.
4) Sharks over 6) Flames – 4-2
A rematch from last year’s memorable seven game series, it will be the same song with a different dance. The Flames won’t have enough offense to overcome the Sharks’ new desire to succeed in the playoffs. San Jose in six.
Western Conference Finals
2) Stars over 4) Sharks – 4-3
Another rematch from last year’s postseason. Dallas knocked San Jose out in six games in the 2 nd round last spring. The series was easily one of the better ones of the postseason, and don’t expect anything different in this showdown. This series will come down to special teams, and I think the Stars’ PK will be too strong for the Sharks too handle in a seven game series. It will be the Stars against the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup.
Stanley Cup Finals
Dallas Stars vs. Montreal Canadiens
It’s the 100 th anniversary for the Canadiens franchise, and what better way to celebrate it than hoisting Lord Stanley in June!? Down south, you have the team with a lot of heart, led by Brendan Morrow. He and Carey Price will be X-factors for their respective clubs. The Habs didn't faced a forward quite like Morrow throughout the playoffs. The Stars captain is solid in every phase of the game, and should cause problems for the Habs’ defense. It’d be great to see Montreal celebrate their centennial season in grand fashion, but I believe the strength of Dallas will ruin the Canadiens’ party, and Canada’s Cup-less streak will continue. Marty Turco takes home the Conn Smythe for the Stars.
Pick: Dallas over Montreal in 6