Tuesday night begins the best part of the entire year. Eight best-of-seven series start today– with all the rivalries and drama and bad blood that come along with ’em. Expect big games every night and fresh fallout every morning. Playoffs, baby.
As RMNB’s creators, Ian and I thought we’d ramble on about our predictions for the first round and put our necks on the line. I do not recommend you take any of our guesses to #thebank.
Minnesota Wild (#8) vs Chicago Blackhawks (#1)
Peter: I’m still astonished the Wild even made the postseason (#lumbus). I guess Parise might steal one game, but this is all Chicago. Blackhawks in 5, because they’re awesome on both ends of the ice. If any series goes to a sweep, it’ll be this one.
Ian: I first want to preface this with, I haven’t watched any West team play an entire game all year. So not only will my analysis be worthless, but I’ll probably get all of my picks 100% correct. So the Blackhawks are proven performers. They are made up by a gritty forward who is also a fearless leader (Toews); a dude who is a great scorer, probably drinks too much, and played under Dale Hunter (Kane); and a guy who’s won the Norris (Keith). Sure the Wild have Parise (which kinda rhymes with parcheesi) but this is going to be a war for them — and they’re on the wrong side of Pickett’s Charge. Blackhawks in 6.
Detroit Red Wings (#7) vs Anaheim Ducks (#2)
Peter: Sorry, Bruce. You’re getting first-rounded. Red Wings in 6. If the kid’s in net, make it 5.
Ian: The advanced stats say no, but my heart says yes. Boudreau and his Ducks continue their improbable run, riding some awesome play by their hall of famer. #TeemuForever in 5.
San Jose Sharks (#6) vs Vancouver Canucks (#3)
Peter: Congrats to this series for being the one I care about least. I want the Canucks to lose to see Alain Vigneault fend off the rabid Canadian hockey press with a broken chair leg, but I have a feeling they’ll squeak by. Canucks in 7.
Ian: The Canucks are that team everyone wants to pick but they always come up just a little bit short, like a preteen in line for a roller coaster. This season will be no different, but I think they’ll take care of business in the first round quickly. Canucks in 5.
Los Angeles Kings (#5) vs St Louis Blues (#4)
Peter: The Kings are my pick to win the Cup. Kings in 6. Quick might be able to put some Holtby-esque numbers up in this one, though STL is no slouch.
Ian: Look at the Kings’ possession stats. Just look at them. History has smiled upon a team that just owns the puck like the Kings do. While the Blues are a brilliant young team with a talented Russian that I pull for (Tarasenko), the defending champions will be too much for them to handle. Kings in 7.
New York Islanders (#8) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (#1)
Peter: This one should be fun to watch. John Tavares will shoot fireworks at MAF, who shouldn’t be Pittsburgh’s escape goat again this year, but he’ll give up enough to make up for whatever hockey majesty Crosby and Malkin unleash at the other end of the ice. If I were Fox Sports, this would be my Upset Special. Islanders in 7. Crosby for Lindsay though.
Ian: I don’t think I even need to offer an explanation. Penguins in 4.
Ottawa Senators (#7) vs Montreal Canadiens (#2)
Peter: Craig Anderson is scaaaaary, but I’ll give the edge to the Habs because I learned my lesson about doubting them back in 2010. I’m expecting PK Subban to bust out more dick moves than a [joke redacted]. Canadiens in 6.
Ian: I love how Ottawa’s built, and I especially love their forwards: Erik Condra, Mika Zibanejad, and Cory Conacher. These are tough forwards, guys who can score any way you can imagine. I think this will be a long series, but Montreal will eventually lose. Senators in 7.
New York Rangers (#6) vs Washington Capitals (#3)
Peter: My feeling is the Caps will get stonewalled on too-few power plays, but they’ll get the win in 6 regardless based on the strength of the hairy dude in net, who will put up a 93% save percentage. Plus, Jason Chimera will score big– Druce Mode. Capitals in 6.
Ian: I always tell my friends, the playoffs never make any sense, especially for the Capitals. You would expect the Caps to win this easily just because of how they’ve played lately, but I’m leery of such an assumption. I think the Rangers find a way to control Ovechkin, but the Caps’ tertiary scoring will come to the rescue. Also, four goals from #52 who will earn a new moniker: Series Over. Capitals in 6.
Toronto Maple Leafs (#5) vs Boston Bruins (#4)
Peter: I think most people think this is a lopsided match-up, but I’m a little cool on the Bruins (overrated dot com). I mindlessly predict this will be a high-scoring series (sorry Rask, sorry Reimer), and the Leafs win it in 7. Because the playoffs are weird, and the hockey media machine wants this. I’m totally anticipating a bevy of War Room conspiracy theories erupting from this one.
Ian: I know Leafs fans are excited to be back in the playoffs for the first time since the lightbulb was invented, but, after seeing them get demolished live by the Capitals a few weeks ago, I’m not even sure they can win one game in this series. Not only are the advanced stats against them, they were built by a guy who would make trades just to make trades. Tyler Seguin will show that he has the stuff to be a superstar during this round of games. #BostonStrong. Bruins in 5.
Please share your predictions below.