2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs

stanley_cup

While Gary Bettman had nothing to do with it (can’t give the guy credit for anything really), the NHL has done it again; another spring, and another 8 playoffs series to die for. The matchups are splendid and even though some of us hoped things would play out a little differently, the first round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs look to be exciting.

Last year the Red Wings marched off with the Stanley Cup, and look just as strong this season but will they repeat as champs? There are 15 other teams that have something to say about it. On we go….

In the East, teams like the Penguins, Bruins, and Hurricanes are red hot. While the Capitals and Devils looked poised to make a Cup charge earlier in the year, both teams have slipped since then. I may have picked 7 out of the 8 teams correctly in my Pre-season predictions blog, but picking the right teams to advance in the playoffs might prove to be more difficult.

The Boston Bruins have owned the Canadiens this year, a cosmic 180° compared to this time last year when these teams met in the postseason. Look for solid play from the B’s goaltender Tim Thomas.

Bruins in 5

The Capitals have the best player in the league (Alex Ovechkin), there’s little doubt in that; but there are those that think their lack of experience on defense may cost them greatly. However, goalie Jose Theodore has been in the playoffs and played well before. Look for the Caps offense to be too much for a stingy Ranger defense.

Caps in 6

At one point in February, the Devils and a rejuvenated Marty Brodeur looked primed to take the Eastern conference by storm en route to the Cup Finals. But the Carolina Hurricanes have looked more like the team to beat as of late. They’ve put up some ridiculous goal tallies as of late (9 goals twice!), and could ride a hot Cam Ward deep into the playoffs.

Canes in 6

The Penguins and Flyers will be matched up earlier than last season when they met in the Conference Finals. Philly fans are cursing heading into this series after blowing home ice advantage in the final week of the regular season. With a Pittsburgh lineup that includes a healthy Crosby and Gonchar, the Penguins have been scoring 5 on 5 goals lately (something they struggled with last year). Look for another hard-fought battle for supremacy in the Keystone State.

Pens in 7

Last years Cup favorites San Jose and Anaheim meet in the playoffs’ first round this season. Expect lots of goals from both sides with two inexperienced goaltenders in net. Anaheim is not the same team as the one that won the Cup two years ago.

Sharks in 5

The Red Wings look as dangerous as ever, with the same questions as last year regarding who to put between the pipes. Osgood should be fine, but what about the Wings’ matchup with Columbus. The Jackets put up 8 goals against the Wings in their last meeting, and split the season series 3-3. The pesky Jackets may be young but will certainly give Detroit a run for their money.

Wings in 7

In an under the radar series, the Canucks and Blues will both look to ride solid goaltending into the second round of the playoffs. Play down the Mats Sundin hype, but play up the role Henrik Sedin will have. The Blues are a little short on scoring options, and goaltending typically prevails in playoff hockey.

Canucks in 5

The battle between Chicago and Calgary might be the best playoff series in the West. While the Flames have seemingly been doused at the end of the regular season, they are still a team with tremendous playoff experience, and can ride Mikka Kiprusoff deep into the playoffs. The Blackhawks seem to be the Penguins of this year. With lots of youth up front and a few vets on defense, the Hawks will rely on their firepower to push them through to the next round. It should be closer than most people think.

Flames in 7

That gives us Bruins vs Hurricanes, Penguins vs. Capitals, Sharks vs Flames, and Red Wings vs Canucks.

I’ll take the Bruins to meet the Caps, and the Wings to meet the Flames in the Conference Finals, with the Red Wings and the Caps headed to the Cup Finals. Ovi will make his Stanley Cup debut just one year after Sidney Crosby, and will likely have the same result. The Red Wings will rely on consistent play from 3 deep lines and a solid defense en route to their second straight Cup. Enjoy hockey nuts!!!

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One Response to 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs

  1. whitsport says:

    Not too shabby… 6 out of 8 first round winners correct (including 4 for 4 in the East). Ovechkin will have to wait for his Cup, Red Wings really surprised me with their performance in games 6 and 7. Congrats to the Pens, great season!

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