San Jose (1) vs Anaheim ( - This *should* be an easy win for the Sharks but I have some doubts, namely in goal for San Jose. Nabokov looked stellar in the regular season (again), but this is a guy who habitually disappears in the playoffs. The Ducks seemed to be missing a step this season but have all the pieces to make a run and they have a lot of experience as well if they can gel. I can't call the upset as much as I would like to. Sharks in 7.
Detroit (2) vs Columbus (7) - The NHL's version of Team Energizer Bunny vs a Never Been There Before. Osgood and Moss don't give me a lot of confidence as far as netminding tandem go, but I thought Hasek was overrated in his tenure in Hockeytown, USA: I thought the Wings' team defense was what won them games and championships and really I think it still can. The offensive spark seems to be lacking a little and at Stevie -2 years I think they do miss some of that drive and leadership... but they're still the Extremely Talented Red Wings. Columbus has nothing to prove really and while the regular season will be hailed a success, their playoff hopes will be shortlived despite the play of Rick Nash and Steve Mason. Wings in 5*
Vancouver (3) vs St. Louis (6) - Surprising St Louis vs the enigmatic Canucks. Vancouver's offense has made a history of keeping the legend of disappearing Europeans in April alive. St Louis is a lot like Columbus in that they're a surprise to be here... unfortunately there's not enough Blues team to beat Roberto Luongo in net and as great as Chris Mason has been (good year for goaltending Masons ) , this will be a learning experience for him. Canucks in 5
Chicago (4) vs Calgary (5) - A resurging Blackhawks with a young cast against a scrappy but battered veteran Flames squad. If they were healthy I'd be sorely pressed not to take the experience of the Flames but the injuries, especially in the Flames defense compell me to say youth triumphs. 'Hawks in 6.
Boston (1) vs Montreal ( - The ghosts of Original 6 match ups of the past wiegh heavily on Montreal's side... unfortunately for them, there are no such things as ghosts. Montreal may lead the all time playoff match ups 24-7 over the Bruins but this 32nd installment heavily favours the Boys from Beantown. Boston is a complete team, Montreal is an organization in disarray (which seems strange to see from the Habs). Bruins in 5
Washington (2) vs New York Rangers (7) - The mismatch of the round. A struggling club lucky to make the playoffs against another of the new generation powerhouses. This series can be summed up in one sentence: Ovechkin knows how to raise the puck over Lundquist. The real question is can Sean Avery keep his stupidity under wraps and I say not any longer: the stress of the playoffs will see him revert to his true form and he'll need his mates to be sharp against that Washington powerplay. Caps in 5*
New Jersey (3) vs Carolina (6) - An interesting match up of teams who have championships not too far in their pasts but in the NHL at this time of year one position on the ice dominates all others and though he was hurt a lot this year, Martin Brodeur is still the King of the Crease and will outperform Cam Ward. Devils in 6
Pittsburgh (4) vs Philadelphia (5) - the Battle Of Pennsylvania (Cold War Edition). The Flyers seemed like a team struggling to find an identity to me, the Penguins have rediscovered theirs and are on a roll. Sorry Flyer fans but your boys are gonna be bounced hard and fast by Sid, Malkin and Co. Pens in 5.
* I never predict sweeps or this could be one