1 Washington - Washington in 4
Washington rolls over Montreal, as I stated in a previous post.
4 Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh in 6
The defending champs roll on, beating a hot Ottawa team, behind strong play from Fleury and a motivated Crosby carrying the team.
3 Buffalo - Buffalo in 5
2 New Jersey - New Jersey in 7
Philly scratched their way into the playoffs, and they will scratch out at least 2 wins in this series, but the Devils have too much firepower for the Flyers (seriously, New Jersey with firepower, and I don't mean guns).
Round 2 Eastern Conference:
1 Washington - Washington in 6
Probably the most anticipated playoff matchup this year will happen in the second round again this year. Ovechkin's boys get some revenge this time around. We'll see a great series, with some good physical play in front of both nets, but the Caps have the firepower and the depth that Pittsburgh just doesn't have. This is going to be a star on star matchup, but it's the role players that decide this one. Cue Scott Walker and Eric Belanger.
2 New Jersey - New Jersey in 6
A great goalie vs. goalie matchup. Probably the best two guys in the league outright. New Jersey's advantage comes from experience, and a determined Iyla Kovalchuk. He won't get his ring this year, but he'll have a hell of a series.
Round 3 Eastern Conference:
1 Washington - Washington in 7
2 New Jersey
Two powerhouses battle, but Washington's firepower is too much. This is going to be a shootout and Washington comes out on top, but just barely. Home ice is key.
Round 1 Western Conference:
1 San Jose - San Jose in 5
San Jose stumbled into the top seed, but Colorado barely made the playoffs after a late season meltdown. Sharks win handily.
5 Detroit - Detroit in 6
I suppose this is an upset, if only for the length of the series, but Detroit is healthy and is just too good of a team to not advance at least one round, especially against an inexperienced team.
3 Vancouver - Vancouver in 5
6 Los Angeles
Los Angeles is an enigma. They have good goaltending, inconsistent offense, and a strong young defense. This just isn't their year to shine; no Cinderella stories this year.
2 Chicago - Chicago in 4
Chicago is Washington of the West. Nashville is a surprise 7 seed; they have great coaching and a strong defense, but they won't score much on this motivated 'Hawks team.
Round 2 Western Conference:
1 San Jose - San Jose in 7
I think Detroit is the better team in this series, but home ice proves to be key.
2 Chicago - Chicago in 6
Probably the toughest series to call. Chicago is great, has great firepower, a fast defense and solid but not starpower goaltending, and Vancouver has even better firepower, a stronger defense, and a Hall of Fame goalie. Both teams match up well physically - we will see Kesler and Ladd fight at least once - but this is where Hossa's experience comes into play. He knows what it takes to win in the playoffs now, and he's determined to do it.
Round 3 Western Conference:
1 San Jose
2 Chicago - Chicago in 5
Sharks just aren't that good. Early series implosion, Nabby steals a game, then Chicago rolls on.
2 Chicago - Chicago in 6
There you have it folks. No major upsets this year. The top seeds are strong, hot, and with the exception of Washington, all win in the goalie matchups in the first round. Don't expect to see any first round shockers.
Hossa gets his ring. For real.