FanPost

BSH Audition #1: NHL Playoffs - Round 1: Goalies, Heart, and Hatred


on Monday, April 11, 2011·

WESTERN CONFERENCE

CANUCKS (1) vs BLACKHAWKS (8)

Regular Season Series: Split 2-2

Scoring Advantage: Canucks

Defensive Advantage: Canucks

Power Play Advantage: Canucks

Penalty Kill Advantage: Canucks

Goalie Advantage: Canucks

X-Factor: Chicago’s postseason run experience from last year.

Well there will be a lot of people picking this as the upset in the 1st round because of what Chicago did last year. But, this isn’t last year. I believe Vancouver has learned from their mistakes and are focused on getting to the Cup like never before. Chicago is not the same team as last year. They still have scoring, but after their Championship last year they had to blow the team up and lost quality on defense. Not to mention they go into the postseason for the 2nd straight year with a rookie goalie. And the only reason they’re even in the playoffs is because Dallas couldn’t win to bump them out on the final day of the season.

PICK: CANUCKS in 6

SHARKS (2) vs KINGS (7)

Regular Season Series: Split 3-3

Scoring Advantage: Sharks

Defensive Advantage: Even

Power Play Advantage: Sharks

Penalty Kill Advantage: Kings

Goalie Advantage: Even

X-Factor: San Jose’s penchant for failing in the postseason no matter how good they look.

This will be an interesting series, and maybe longer than one might think. It’s strength vs strength. But LA has just lost too much pop in the scoring department with injuries recently.

PICK: Sharks in 7

RED WINGS (3) vs COYOTES (6)

Regular Season Series: Split 2-2

Scoring Advantage: Red Wings

Defensive Advantage: Coyotes

Power Play Advantage: Red Wings

Penalty Kill Advantage: Red Wings

Goalie Advantage: Coyotes

X-Factor: Detroit’s goaltending.

I think this will be another hard fought series that goes longer than some might like. Namely the Detroit fans. I think Bryzgalov steals a couple games for the desert dogs, but Detroit’s special teams play gets them into the next round.

PICK: Red Wings in 7

DUCKS (4) vs PREDATORS (5)

Regular Season Series: 3-1 Predators

Scoring Advantage: Ducks

Defensive Advantage: Predators

Power Play Advantage: Ducks

Penalty Kill Advantage: Predators

Goalie Advantage: Predators

X-Factor: Anaheim’s goaltending - who will it be?

I know I love the Ducks’ 1st line of Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan. But I equally hate the Ducks’ goalie situation. Will it be Hiller with his vertigo issues, often injured Emery or Ellis? Or some combination? Either way, while the Ducks have the firepower, I think they’re just too weak in the nets. Rinne for the Preds is just a beast and along with their defense I think they do just enough to squeak past the Ducks.

PICK: PREDATORS in 6

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CAPITALS (1) vs RANGERS (8)

Regular Season Series: 3-1 Rangers

Scoring Advantage: Even

Defensive Advantage: Even

Power Play Advantage: Even

Penalty Kill Advantage: Capitals

Goalie Advantage: Rangers

X-Factor: Washington’s goaltending.

This should be an easy win for the Caps because the Rangers aren’t very good right? Well hold up for a second. In every category other than penalty kill these two clubs are pretty much dead even and the Rangers beat the Caps 7-0 and 6-0 this year. The Caps have gone from a wide open attack to a defensive-minded team. Their goaltending is the question with rookie Neuvirth in net. I think the scrappy Rangers take this one to the brink, but Washington’s scoring ability with Ovechkin makes the difference.

PICK: CAPITALS in 7

FLYERS (2) vs SABRES (7)

Regular Season Series: Split 2-2

Scoring Advantage: Flyers

Defensive Advantage: Flyers

Power Play Advantage: Sabres

Penalty Kill Advantage: Even

Goalie Advantage: Sabres

X-Factor: Sergei Bobrovsky. The kid has done pretty well for being 22, arriving in the states in Aug. with no English skills and played his 1st North American hockey game in Sept. But as every year with the Flyers, there’s questions. He is a rookie. He’s very talented and athletic, but can he handle the pressure in Philly from the fans and media?

Yes, the Flyers stumbled badly down the stretch. Yes, the Sabres played extremely well in the same span. But the Flyers have been waiting 9 months for the playoffs to begin. They’re still angry about the loss to the Blackhawks in the Finals last year and have been chomping at the bit ever since. Not to mention boasting 2 - 30+ goal scorers and 4 - 20+ goal scorers makes them one of the deepest teams in the league. Not to take anything away from the Sabres with 4 - 20+ goal scorers themselves and Ryan Miller in net. But looking at the goalies stats, they’re almost identical for the year and in the season series between the two, no goalie dominated. It’s going to come down to who can execute and in the case of the Flyers, staying out of the box against the Sabres 9th ranked power play. Aside from "Bob," the other question here is the Pronger factor. What is that extra umph he brings to the table? It’ll be a tough, high scoring series here for sure. Plus these two teams don’t really care for one another. The Flyers will be tested by the Sabres, but they marked their calendar in Sept. of another Cup run. The teams wants it, the fans want it, the entire city wants it. They don’t lose sight of the final goal here.

PICK: FLYERS in 6

BRUINS (3) vs CANADIENS (6)

Regular Season Series: Montreal 4-2

Scoring Advantage: Bruins

Defensive Advantage: Bruins

Power Play Advantage: Canadiens

Penalty Kill Advantage: Canadiens

Goalie Advantage: Bruins

X-Factor: Hatred. These teams have some real bad blood between them this year and historically as well. Does it turn the tide for one team?

I’m going to make this one pretty short and sweet. Every year there’s one series that goes quickly to the surprise of everyone. This is it. And here’s the reason - Carey Price played in 72 games during the regular season! 72!!! For all the bad blood between these two I see Price being overworked and overmatched in this series and runs out of gas. Plus Boston has a pretty damn good goalie in net in Tim Thomas. For all the hype, not much of a battle.

PICK: BRUINS in 5

PENGUINS (4) vs LIGHTNING (5)

Regular Season Series: Split 2-2

Scoring Advantage: Lightning

Defensive Advantage: Penguins

Power Play Advantage: Lightning

Penalty Kill Advantage: Penguins

Goalie Advantage: Penguins

X-Factor: Heart. The Penguins have showed it all year with player after player going down with injuries. Most notably superstars Malkin and Crosby. Can Tampa match it?

Yeah, I know Pens fans. Crosby! Crosby! Crosby! But I just have to believe this franchise sees the forest through the trees with the most offensively gifted player since The Great One. He’s not back for Round 1, he’s not back at all this season. It’ll take what it took you to get here, a total team effort. As far as the head to head matchup - it’s pretty much strength against strength here. The Lightning’s 6th ranked power play against the Penguins #1 ranked penalty kill. I think this will be a long series that takes quite a bit out of both teams. Can Pittsburgh continue to fight adversity and overcome? Is Roloson really the goalie to carry Tampa deep into the postseason. If not, can it be Smith who went 3-0 down the stretch and only gave up 4 goals in those last 3 starts?

This is the toughest series to pick. Your brain says Tampa, your heart says Pittsburgh. I think the key for the Pens is in net with Fleury. If he doesn’t flake like he’s prone to do from time to time, I like the Pens chances. I just for some reason see Tampa buzzing around him with Stamkos, Lecavlier and St. Louis causing problems which makes the series go deeper. But in the end, there’s just something about the Pens. It pains me to write this as a Flyers fan with such hatred towards them, but...

PICK: PENGUINS in 7

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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