Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions

Apr 16, 2014 by

Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions

It’s time for prognosticators to speculate on the outcome for this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and this year I’ve decided to throw my two cents hours before the first playoff puck drops.  Rather than forecasting a champion I’ll give you my first round predictions, starting with the Eastern Conference today, followed by the Western Conference tomorrow (the Western Conference games start today, but I assure you regardless of what happens tonight between Dallas and Anaheim I’ll be choosing the latter). If I don’t embarrass myself I will give you my 2nd round predictions and a Stanley Cup winner prior to the start of the second round.  For now I’ll take it one round at a time, enjoy:

Boston v Detroit

It’s hard to bet against Boston. Their tough, have balanced scoring and a Vezina worthy goaltender and they know how to win.  Saying that, Detroit also knows something about winning and they have arguably the best all-round player in the game with Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist has emerged as an exciting young forward to watch out for.  If Jimmy Howard plays up to his potential Detroit will be a scary test for Boston.  This should be a 6 or 7 game series and I think goaltending will ultimately be the difference maker and I prefer Tuuka Rask to Howard.


Boston wins in 6.

Tampa Bay v Montreal

I hate saying this but I like Carey Price and Montreal to win this series. Steven Stamkos is a top three forward in the game and the addition of Ryan Callahan at the trade deadline provides a level of grittiness and two-way play required for any good team to succeed in the playoffs.  Tampa has faced adversity throughout the season with key injuries and the strange drama surrounding the departure of Martin St. Louis; however, they can’t overcome the loss of their starting goalie.  Unless Ben Bishop recovers in time to play by game 3 at the latest Montreal will win in a short series.  They have the best goaltender in the game right now and les habitant tends to find magic in the playoffs.  This year will be no different.


Montreal wins in 5

Pittsburgh v Columbus

It’s hard to know what to expect from Marc-Andre Fleury after having awful back to back playoff performances.  If he plays like he did against the Islanders last year, Pittsburgh will lose this series.  As long as his play is a question mark it’s hard to see Pittsburgh going too far in the playoffs. Led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, without question Pittsburgh has an enviable offensive duo, but defence and goaltending wins.  I have a hunch Sergei Bobrovsky will steal this series and that Fleury will falter and Columbus will send Pittsburgh to the golf course early this year.


Columbus wins in 7

New York v Philadelphia

I see this matchup similarly to the Montreal Tampa series.   I love the way Philly has played the second half of the season but losing their starting goalie on the eve of the playoffs will likely cost them.  The difference maker between these two evenly matched teams is goaltending and unless Steve Mason returns early from his “upper body” injury (aka concussion), Philly doesn’t stand a chance.  Very few goalies in the game have the pedigree of Henrik Lundqvist and Ray Emery isn’t one of them.  With Mason in net Philly can win this series, without him its difficult seeing Emery leading his team past New York.


New York wins in 6


Check in tomorrow for my Western Conference picks



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