Bring On The Flyers!

The NHL regular season is over and the lineup is set for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a full 2 month process that will begin Wednesday.  I just checked nhl.com and the full schedule of games hasn’t been released yet, but we do know the pairings:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Series ‘A’ – #1 Boston Bruins vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
Series ‘B’ – #2 Washington Capitals vs. #7 New York Rangers
Series ‘C‘ – #3 New Jersey Devils vs. #6 Carolina Hurricanes
Series ‘D’ – #4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Series ‘E’ – #1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Anaheim Ducks
Series ‘F’ – #2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #7 Columbus Blue Jackets
Series ‘G’ – #3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 St. Louis Blues
Series ‘H’ – #4 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #5 Calgary Flames

The Flyers losing today to the Rangers allowed the Pens to have home ice advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs, though frankly that was not something I was worried about one way or the other.  Nice to have I guess but the winning team in NHL Playoff games doesn’t always seem to have much correlation to who was at home.  Goaltending, avoiding dumb mistakes, and special teams usually go a long way in settling these things.  Its some interesting matchups; seeing Bruins v Canadiens is giving me flashbacks to the old Adams Division.  For that matter, Capitals v Rangers and Penguins v Flyers harkens back to the old Patrick Division days.  How many times have the Devils and Hurricanes met in the playoffs?  I could be off, but I think its just about every time the Hurricanes have made the playoffs this decade.  Out west its nice to see the Columbus Blue Jackets make postseason play for the first time ever, though slipping to the 7th seed and therefor having to play the Red Wings is no bargain.  Still, history suggests Detroit can sometimes be upset in the 1st round.  I think out West I will predict the favored seed to win every series save #5 Calgary with Mika Kiprisoff in net upsets Chicago.  In the East I am not sold on the Bruins but Montreal has been in a bit of a free-fall the past few weeks, so I’ll take Boston.  I look for the Rangers with Henrik Lundquist to pull the upset over the Capitals and for the Hurricanes to upset free-falling New Jersey.  Of course I’ll take the Pens to beat the F**ers from Philadelphia.  Frankly, if Kerry Price catches fire I can easily see Montreal upsetting Boston, which would leave the winner of the Pennslyvania series the highest seed left in the East if I’m right about New York and Carolina.  Should be fun in any event.  Time to lace up the skates and have at it!

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