What can be better for a hockey fan than the NHL regular season that goes down to the last game of the season? If you guessed the NHL playoffs than you are absolutely right.
The NHL playoffs are around the corner, and personally, these are arguably the best playoffs in terms of on court/ice/field play. Never mind the incredible playoff beards that are grown or the intensity or the mind numbing momentum swing that people talk about for years after they happen (Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks looking at you). The Best part by far is that no matter what seed a team is, they have a legitimate chance of winning the cup, if you don’t believe me, ask the Los Angeles Kings. Therefore allow me to sell a couple matchups to you that at face value might seem a bit boring or dry but in reality has the potential to be a classic.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Anaheim Ducks
Remember when Winnipeg towards the tail end of the season were a dysfunctional group with Evander Kane in a line-up? Also marred by injuries simultaneously. Whether Evander Kane is a problem in the locker room or not, both of those things are now taken care of. Evander Kane got traded and most of the Winnipeg Jets key pieces are back in the line-up.
The problem is they are facing the Anaheim Ducks (who will always be the Mighty Ducks in my heart) and on paper this should not even be close. Although Winnipeg has two things going for them, one being their goalie Onderj Pavelec is coming into this series hot and typically in hockey the hottest goalie wins. Although fans of the Jets might not want to trust Pavelec, and to be honest that mistrust is justified, but there is another thing that Jets Fans know they can trust, and that’s themselves.
The Winnipeg Jets' fans are one of the best crowds in the league, and had they had more room in the stadium, I would have said hands down the best crowd in the league. This crowd will be loud, so if Dustin Byfuglien and company can get something going on the ice, no matter how small the crowd, will make sure that momentum carries over.
With that being said I’m predicting Anaheim will go through and the reasons are simple; Home ice advantage and better talent. These guys can play hockey, nevermind Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but people forget this is a team with Ryan Kesler, Frederik Andersen, as well as others. This team is armed to the teeth with good players, and assuming this crowd gets to them a little, they still got four games that they can win on their home ice.
Prediction: Anaheim wins 4-2 or 4-3
Ottawa Senators vs Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens may be the second seed this year but to me they are about two tads overrated. God bless P.K Subban and company, but the defence has been putrid this year, and had it not been for Carey Price, who knows where they would be.
Star player, Max Pacioretty, is out for the Canadiens, but the fact that the Senators have a white hot goaltender in Andrew Hammond as well as some confidence, the Senators actually have a legitimate shot to steal one here.
The thing is, Carey Price has been a stone wall all year, and despite a little bit of a struggle last week, I do not see him slowing down. He has a record of 44-16-6 with a save percentage of .933 and a goals allowed average of 1.96 goals per game… in other words if the Canadiens score 2 goals the opposing team is in deep water. If the Canadiens score 3 goals, end the game there because it is over.
Do the Senators have a good chance of upsetting the Canadiens? Yes. Is Andrew Hammond playing amazing? Absolutely. Also, the Senators have found a renewed sense of offence, and at times, defensive prowess but it is not easy to beat P.K. Subban and Carey Price in the playoffs with or without Max Pacioretty. With that being said, I am predicting a close upset by the Senators predicated on the assumption that Hammond can still keep this up and the young guns of the Senators do not catch stage fright.
Prediction: Senators win 4-3
- NYR beat Pittsburgh 4-2 – Pittsburgh cannot seem to figure it out and the Rangers are too fast
- Tampa beats Detroit 4-2 – Mike Babcock is a great coach but not enough talent to beat Tampa bay
- NYI beats Washington 4-3 – They might be banged up but still fast I think the Islanders can surprise people
- St. Louis beats Minnesota 4-1 – I just do not think Minnesota have much of a chance without Dubnyk bringing his A+ game
- Calgary beats Vancouver 4-2 –The Calgary youngins do not know the meaning of fear. If Calgary does not catch stage fright, Vancouver is in for a rude awakening
- Chicago beats Nashville 4-2 – Nashville has done well this year but Chicago always play on another level in the playoffs
One thing to remember about these playoffs is these playoffs are going to be fun and intense and something that a Hockey fan would not wan