That spring smell in the air means NHL playoff hockey. It's the time of the year where we can expect to see some of the best and ugliest play on the ice as players, couches, and fans fueled by their drug of choice pure such as adrenaline and/or beer. This is when we cringe, groan, and cheer. Screaming about dirty hits, missed calls, late calls, garbage goals, and missed goals. But for now we wait in baited anticipation.
These are just some thoughts of the first round match ups. Just quick notes and overviews.
Eastern Conference: They get to enjoy their short trips and no changing of time zones until the Stanley Cup Finals. Nuff said here except for the bad blood between a few teams.
Here's where I wish I had the free time and an NHL package to watch all the games I can. Other fan insight would be useful here. On the surface Ottawa took the regular season series 3 to 1. Could this be an upset series? That's always possible as the Ranger's have been up and down the past few weeks. As has Ottawa. I expect some hard fought games and a long series. Rangers in 7.
Again the lower seed has taken the regular season series 3 to 1. Washington is pretty hit or miss with their play all season. If Boston gets into playoff mode this may be a short series. Bruins in 6.
Series tied 2 to 2. This is when the current system of the NHL ranking system gets turned on its head. A team in a weaker division that barely squeaks into the playoffs is ranked higher than a team playing in a much tougher division. Devils in 5.
This the one is to be watched for pure entertainment value. These teams hate each other. Should one team carry a game I see bad blood hitting the ice in buckets. The Flyers have punched the Pens ticket this year taking the series 4 to 2; however, they're both going to be trading punches to each others faces. Hard fights for pucks. Dirty hits. Antics behind the plays and whistles. Flyers in 7.
Western Conference: They all need to be hitting the bikes to build endurance for the long travel and series that could stretch to 7 games easy. The West had the disadvantage for years of travel miles that often exceeds the entire 8 seeded teams from the East come the Stanley Cup Finals. Let's get started.
I don't see Quick stealing an entire series unless Luongo blows all four tires and has a complete meltdown. Regular series was tied 2 to 2. This one could be over just as quick as it starts unless Quick gets hots to steal a game or two. While the Canucks play in the weakest division they are still a force to be reckon with good scoring and goal tending. Canucks in 5.
I admit these two deserve one another as one was built with the blue prints of the Red Wings to stop the Red Wings and the other plays low scoring crushing defense and two hot goalies. One question. How long can the Sharks snow shower the Blues' goalie before shit gets ugly? Low scoring games favor the Blues. I expect a few as St. Louis to swept the regular season series 4 to 0. Blues in 4.
Another example of teams playing in right division to gain a playoff spot over a team playing in one of the toughest divisions though in this case the Coyotes took the regular season series. Tough one to call here. Chicago has better scoring while Phoenix has better goal tending. Whoever gets hot can win this series. Phoenix in 6.
Injuries hurting the Red Wings in the standings with opponents smelling blood in the water have knocked the once league leading team to a fifth spot in the playoff run. That said these teams are damn near identical in the stats category. Nashville will be looking to breakout of the first round against a team they think is on the wane. Both starting goaltenders are completely capable of stealing games on their own. If a sniper takes out the idiot with the damn train whistle I'll be happy. Predators in 6. Prove me wrong, Detroit. Please, prove me wrong.
Disclaimer: These are just gut feelings. As for Detroit I loved to see the Euro Triple Threat on a line together for the series. Dats, Nyquist, and Zetterberg. Line 1 and PP1. Please lets call up Smith for a defensive pairing and let Big Rig continue his current play which has been good defense and hard hits. Mule get fucking hungry. Sit Cleary until he's healthy. please get pucks on net, skate like monsters on the ice, and cycle that puck deep instead of making too many damn passes.