Since Stayclassy.net has only been around since January, nearly everything that happens is the “1st annual something-or-other”, and how we plan on covering the Stanley Cup playoffs is no different. We’ll predict each series/each round and keep track of our picks – may the best blogger win.
Disclaimer: none of us really know what we’re talking about and SC.net is not responsible for any money, respect or bragging rights lost as a result of our ‘advice’.
Below are our picks for each Conference quarter final series and how many games it will take with small explanations.
Boston Bruins v. Montreal Canadiens
Burgundy: Boston in 6 games; the Bruins are too strong and too deep for Montreal’s injury riddled defensemen and underperforming offense, depsite the strong finish
Fantana: Boston in 6 games; the Bruins physical style of play will wear down an already injured Canadians roster that lost its final 4 regular season games.
Mantooth: Boston in 5 games; Schneider with one shoulder and missing Markov is going to be too much on the blue line to hold back the “most boring to watch” team in the league.
Baxter: Boston in 5 games; as much as those old former Hab cronies would like to see a Cinderella story in the Canadiens’ centennial year, the Bruins have too much going for them, including a healthy Tim Thomas, sniper Marc Savard, and solid blueliners Wideman and Chara. I’ll give the Habs one home victory but this should be an easy first round for the B’s. The Habs have been too distracted this year (new coach, moody Kovalev, inconsistent Price) to muster anything serious.
Tambland: Boston in 5 games; clearly this matchup was made so that Boston could “bruin” the Canadiens 100th anniversary celebrations.
Washington Capitals v. New York Rangers
Burgundy: Washington in 5 games; even if you successfully shut down Ovechkin, good luck shutting down Mike Green, Alex Semin and Sergei Fedorov.
Fantana: Washington in 6 games; I see Washington making a deep run in this year’s playoffs and while their goaltending has been shaky throughout the season, the same can be said about the entire Rangers roster this season.
Mantooth: Washington in 5 games; I still can’t believe that NY actually made it into the playoffs. Thank God Ottawa got rid of Redden, I can’t wait to see the Gong show that is going to ensue when Ovechkin and crew rock him out!
Baxter: Washington in 4 games; OMG, I can’t believe NYR have even a small hope in hell in beating the Caps. When a team looks to add Avery for their playoff run, it can’t be a good sign. Gomez is way past his best before date. Drury has looked lost since he left Buffalo (2 straight 30-plus goal seasons in Buffalo, followed by 2 straight 25-or-less goal seasons in NY). Besides, there is this hipster-dufus named Ovechkin who should pretty much single-handledly send the Rangers to the golf course after 4 games.
Tambland: Washington in 6 games; let’s call this one a “Wash”.
New Jersey Devils v. Carolina Hurricanes
Burgundy: Carolina in 7 games; the Devils are in a tailspin at the worst time and I’m starting to question their no-name defense a little. Right now, I believe Cam Ward can out-duel Marty Brodeur in a 7 game series.
Fantana: Carolina in 7 games; this will be one of the closest series of the first round and will be an interesting one to watch. New Jersey seem to have plateau-ed a month early but Carolina have caught fire at the right time. This series will be a goaltending battle and ultimately, I think that Cam Ward’s been hotter over the past month and this streak will carry into the playoffs.
Mantooth: New Jersey in 7 games; even with the Canes being red hot lately, I don’t think it will be enough when they face NJ. The Devils have been really consistent, and I think that will play on through the first round.
Baxter: Carolina in 6 games; I’m happy for Brodeur, but he has pretty much been nothing more than a slice of Swiss cheese since setting his goaltending record for most regular-season wins last month. Unless he is able to pull it together (and I still think he is the best goalie of all time), Carolina should get enough support from Cam Ward and the thank-god-we-got-you-back-from-Edmonton Erik Cole to upset the Devils.
Tambland: New Jersey in 6 games; I have to assume that a Devil would have some sort of supernatural control over a Hurricane….plus this is Marty’s time to shine.
Pittsburgh Penguins v. Philadelphia Flyers
Burgundy: Pittsburgh in 6 games; I don’t see Biron or Briere coming up big like last season this year. I think Jeff Carter will struggle in the post season while Pittsburgh appear to have great momentum… again.
Fantana: Pittsburgh in 7 games; Pittsburgh had a great 2nd half of the season and are surging at the right time. This will be a great series and while Richards and Carter are a great 1-2 punch, Crosby and Malkin are a little bit better.
Mantooth: Pittsbrugh in 6 games; the toughest to call. I almost had to flip a coin on this one… wait… Heads – Pittsburgh, Tails – Philly… Flip and its… Heads! Pens are going to take this one. Sid and Malkin will rock it out, the only thing I see that might hamper them is goaltending. I don’t have any confidence in Fleury’s skill… He will hold them from going going past the 2nd round.
Baxter: Pittsburgh in 7 games; get ready for a war. This is easily the most interesting matchup in the Conference and one of the best rivalries in the NHL. If you are planning to only watch one series, then this is the one. It is also the battle of the Quebec goalies (Biron vs. Fleury). I’m not even going to get into the gory details of this series, as it has already been over-analyzed to date. Instead, just to make the story line even more bizarre, I’ll fill you in on this one: former Flyer Keith Primeau has agreed to donate his brain. I can’t even dream this stuff up.
Tambland: Philadelphia in 7 games; this one is going to be a long, drawn-out, grinder of a series. But it will be Philadelphia coming out on top because (drumroll please) Penguins are not Flyers.
San Jose Sharks v. Anaheim Ducks
Burgundy: San Jose in 6 games; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is the Sharks year. Fin-ally.
Fantana: San Jose in 6 games; the Sharks have lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs in each of the past 3 seasons, yet something seems different this year. San Jose are playing with more bite than in previous years and captain Patrick Marleau has picked his game up considerably this season. Anaheim have been up and down all season but won’t be able to match the Sharks speed and offence.
Mantooth: San Jose in 4 games; after listening over and over again to Burgundy’s reasoning why the Sharks are going to Win the Cup this year, its been too hard to find any flaws in his arguments. If the Ducks were in the East, they wouldn’t have even made the playoffs. I am calling this one to be the shortest series in round 1.
Baxter: San Jose in 5 games; too much fire power (Thornton, Marleau, Setoguchi), solid goaltending (Nabokov at 41-12 with 2.44 GAA), and a defensive core that is just downright scary (Boyle, Blake, Lukowich). Giguere will have to recapture his performance from a few years ago if the Ducks have any hope at all of upsetting the Sharks.
Tambland: San Jose in 6 games; I’ve never seen a Shark eat a Duck. But I have seen a Muskie eat a duck, and it ain’t pretty. So if a Shark is anything like a Muskie (and we all know that a Muskie is really just a freshwater shark up here in Canada), then the Sharks are going to take this one.
Detroit Red Wings v. Columbus Blue Jackets
Burgundy: Columbus in 7 games; Steve Mason is too hot to drop now and Ken Hitchcock’s defensive systems will prove too much for a Red Wings team who’s record is far better than it deserves to be.
Fantana: Detroit in 5 games; I think Detroit are too talented to defeat. Considering Detroit has added Marian Hossa to a same team that won Lord Stanley last year, it’s awfully difficult to bet against them.
Mantooth: Columbus in 6 games; that’s right, I said it – the Jackets with the amazing goaltending of Mason are going to be the upsetter of this years playoffs. These games are going to be the ones worth staying up late to watch and Mason gets a shutout in there too!
Baxter: Detroit in 5 games; this reminds me of Detroit vs. Pittsburgh in the finals last year. Men versus boys. You know what I mean. Columbus is making its first playoff appearance. Ever. Steve Mason will steal a win for the Jackets but this one should be quick and dirty. (Burgundy: “That’s what she said!”)
Tambland: Columbus in 7 games; it’s the battle of the colours! And I like Blue more than Red. And Mason has been playing outstanding. The Blue Jackets may be Green, but they’ve got spunk. And Vermette. Plus, Rick Nash is used to playing his best hockey this time of year. It’s just usually at the World Championships and not in the playoffs.
Vancouver Canucks v. St Louis Blues
Burgundy: Vancouver in 6 games; Luongo looks to be in perfect playoff form and I like the Canuck’s grit. This series features two of the hottest teams in the league, but I think St. Louis’ emotional high will fade quickly. I’m changing my mind here – I’m calling St. Louis in 7 games. Their second half turnaround will carry them through to the playoffs, and the Sedins will crumble once they run into the Wall, otherwise known as Blues stud Chris Mason. Don’t forget Mason scared the crap out of Red Wings fans in last year’s Nashville/Detroit first round match up. I’m calling the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the west to lose first round.
Fantana: Vancouver in 6 games; St. Louis and Vancouver are both riding hot goaltenders into this series and I don’t expect that to change. This will be a fast and aggressive series as both teams will play hard. The Canucks will take this in 6, but this will be a much closer series than most expect.
Mantooth: Vancouver in 5 games; I love the Canucks in the west… I think they are Canada’s best hope for a contender for the cup, as long as Luongo is on his game… do I think they will make it, no but they have a good showing this year. We will see them in the Conference Finals this year.
Baxter: Vancouver in 6 games; if Luongo plays well, carrying his shutout streak into the playoffs at just under 146 minutes, then it doesn’t matter that the Sedins suck in the playoffs. St. Louis has had probably the most bizarre year in its history, including the Governor Palin spreading her good luck to Manny Legace. Anyway, Canucks fans have reason to hope. They are also delusional.
Tambland: Vancouver in 6 games; I’m not really sure what to say to this one, other than that I think that Luongo will have St. Louis singing the Blues.
Chicago Blackhawks v. Calgary Flames
Burgundy: Chicago in 5 games; the Flames defense is way too beat up – Regehr, Phaneuf and Sarich are all very hurt and Jokinen will choke-inen. That’s right…
Fantana: Calgary in 7 games; if you’re a Flames fan, you have to be concerned over the state of their defense. Sarich and Regehr appear doubtful for Game 1 and Phaneuf is also a question mark. I like Chicago a lot and they will have a good team for the next few years but their team reminds me an awful lot of the Pittsburgh Penguins from a couple years ago – they’re good but not quite ready. Look for Calgary’s offense to carry them through this series.
Mantooth: Chicago in 7 games; I might take some flak over this call, but I love the young Chicago team. I think that the Flames are going to put up a strong fight, but the youth of the Blackhawks is going to lead them to a win in the longest series in the west.
Baxter: Calgary in 6 games; Chicago has OWNED Calgary this season, going 4-0. However, Chicago is still rebuilding, and Iginla has been on a tear lately. Watch for a physical series as Calgary will use grit to slow down the speedy Chicago forwards. This will be a fun series to watch.
Tambland: Calgary in 7 games; there’s nothing here kids. Nothing. Calgary is Canada’s best chance. Plus, they have this kick-ass song from playoff runs’ past!
Mantooth: Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint, A SAINT!!!
Fantana: Your reporter in the field, Brian Fantana.
Tambland: I love playoffs.
Burgundy: Stay classy, conference quarter finals.