Stanley Cup Predictions- Round 1

April 13, 2011

The Hawks brought home Lord Stanley last year. Who will raise the Stanley Cup this year?

Washington Capitals(1) vs. New York Rangers(8)

I really like the Caps odds in this one. The Rangers, I feel, are the weakest team in the playoffs. Losing Ryan Callahan, the Rangers are looking pretty thin up front. The only way the Rangers can hang in this series is if Henrik Lundqvist can steal the show the way Jaroslav Halak did last year. Washington learned their lesson last year losing to a 8th seed and won’t let it happen this year. My verdict is the Capitals have too much depth and fire power, as I could easily see Ovie’s team sweep New York.

Capitals in 4

Philadelphia Flyers(2) vs. Buffalo Sabres(7)

Here’s where the Eastern Conference gets interesting. The Flyers went 3-7 in their last 10 games to close out the regular season and there was fingers pointing everywhere. The stumbling Flyers come into the playoffs with high expectations. They are deep at every position but net. That is the biggest question mark to me. If Philly can find their starting goalie early, I believe they can make a straight march to the finals. Buffalo can be a scary team to play against as they have one of the best goalies in the game, Ryan Miller. Last year we saw Miller lead a weak USA team all the way to the Olympic gold finals, so watch out for the Sabres netminder. At the end of the day I believe the Flyers can overpower the Sabres with their depth.

Flyers in 6

Boston Bruins(3) vs. Montreal Canadians(6)

This series will be determined by who can execute their game plan. If the big, bad Bruins can make it a physical series, the smaller Canadians have no chance. Lucic, Horton, and Krejci will all be leaned on heavily up front to push around the Habs. Also the Bruins need to figure out their power play if they want to make it anywhere in the playoffs. However, if the Habs can play their game and get some hot goaltending from Carey Price, we all know how deadly they can be. Finally, the Canadians low scoring team needs to get their offence revved up or the Habs post-season could end quickly. This rivalry has the means to go all the way to game 7 I think.

Bruins in 7

Pittsburgh Penguins(4) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning(5)

The Crosby show? The second half of the year I have questioned the Pens ability to win without Crosby, Malkin, and other banged up forwards, but time and time again they prove me wrong. Head coach, Dan Bylsma has done an awesome job at getting his team to win hockey games. Meanwhile Tampa has surprised everyone for even making the playoffs this year. I think it will come down to the will to win and the Fluery vs. Rolson goaltending match-up. Pens win in both categories and so I believe Pittsburgh have the upper hand.

Penguins in 6

Vancouver Canucks(1) vs. Chicago Blackhawks(8)

Ah, the heated rivalry between the Nucks and Hawks. I think the rivalry is all but gone. Ladd, Versteeg, Burish, Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel, and Neimi are all gone from the Hawks line-up leaving the team weak in depth, which was the very thing that made them win last year.  The Canucks on the other hand have been on a mission to forget the last two playoff exits against the Blackhawks and GM Mike Gillis has done an amazing job at increasing the overall depth of the Canucks over the off season. Vancouver leads the league in almost every category this past season and look unstoppable going into the playoffs. I’ll take the Nucks any day.

Canucks in 5

San Jose Sharks(2) vs. Los Angeles Kings(7)

Is this the Sharks year? San Jose has been on fire since the All-Star game while the Kings have looked mediocre. The Sharks have 3 sick offensive lines containing Thornton, Heatly, Marleau, Clowe, Pavelski, Setoguchi, and Couture. Also Niemi has looked unbeatable since the Shark turn around, but the defence worries me. The only name that stands out on defence is Dan Boyle, other than Dan the Sharks have look weak on the back end. The Kings have been hurting since losing Anze Kopitar and I think they have no shot at making any significant gains in the playoffs.

Sharks in 4

Detroit Red Wings(3) vs. Phoenix Coyotes(6)

The Red Wings once again in the playoffs. This organization has figured it out. The ageing Wings aren’t the favourite they normally are but don’t count them out. Mike Babcock always gets the most out of his team for the playoffs. Goaltender, Jimmy Howard looks better and better every game I watch him play and I think he could be the X-factor for the Red Wings if they want to make it anywhere this year. Meanwhile, the Yotes rely heavily on their goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to win them hockey games. If the Coyotes can get timely goals and have Ilya play his best, the Wings could exit the playoffs earlier then they want to. I think in the end Detroit’s experience will win them the series.

Red Wings in 6

 

Anaheim Ducks(4) vs. Nashville Predators(5)

The Duck offence has been unreal this year with Perry, Ryan, and Getzlaf leading the way, not to mention strong secoundary scoring coming from Selenne, Koivu, and Blake. Also the goaltending has been solid all year for the Ducks whether it has been Hiller, Emery, or Ellis. The one weak point for Anaheim is there depth on D. Young players like Sbisa and Fowler will have to step it up if the Ducks want to make a playoff run. But I think Nashville is a scary team to play in round 1. Coach, Berry Tortz has perfected a defensive system that even with average player, the Preds find a way to make it to the playoffs. The thing that separates this year’s Nashville team to last year’s, is the goaltending. Rinne has flourished this season and doesn’t show signs of stopping. I think Nashville’s system and group of players has the chance of getting them a long way in the playoffs.

Predators in 7

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Petersen’s 2011 Stanley Cup Prediction

October 7, 2010

There has been a ton of hype over the last few days from hockey fans and media on the 2011 NHL season just days away. I have seen too many preview shows and read too many analysis’s predictions, so I decided to post who I think is the favourite to win it all. First I checked to see who other NHL experts picked to win it all:

  • NHL.com predicted the Detroit Red Wings to defeat the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals
  • The Hockey News looked into their crystal ball and saw Henrik Sedin and the Vancouver Canucks lifting Lord Stanley
  • Hockey nut, Pierre McGuire said that the Detroit Red Wings will win another Stanley Cup over the Pittsburgh Penguins
  • James Duthie predicted John Toews to once again lift the Stanley Cup, beating out Philly once again
  • Sportsnet analysis’s Darren Millard and Mike Brophy both picked the Washington to win it all, meanwhile Doug Mclean picked the Nucks and Nick Kypreos picked Pittsburgh

So with all the rumours and speculation from around the league, I have picked the Vancouver Canucks to win it all. Yes the Vancouver Canucks. On paper Mike Gillis and the Canuck management has put together the best team in the league.

But why the Canucks? : It has been 40 years since the Vancouver Canucks have entered the National Hockey League and through those 40 years the Canucks have been cup-less. The city is desperate for a winner. Well Vancouver finally has a team. The Sedin’s have ripped apart other teams defence and have given goalies a sore neck from looking in the back of the net. Luongo is one of the best goalies in the league and has backstopped team Canada in the 2010 Olympics that won the gold medal. Luongo has come into training camp determined to win and shredded some pounds for easier side to side movement. Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard were brought in this offseason adding onto a defence core that already contains Elder, Ehrhoff, Bieksa, and Salo. Gillis did an amazing job at improving the blueline without giving up too many picks and prospects. Also the depth up front is strong. Burrows, Samuelsson, Kesler, Raymond, and Torres all can provide secondary scoring for the Sedin twins.

The thing that gives me the most hope is that Vancouver has been knocked out of the playoffs for two straight seasons and underachieved both years, and the team has taken it personally. The Canucks were pissed off for being knocked out of post-season play in the second round against the ‘Hawks. Vancouver is now on a mission to prove to the rest of the league and themselves that they can win in the playoffs. Luongo lead by example by gave up his captaincy and has focus on improving all offseason, not taking the recent failures lightly. With all the adversity, I believe has brought the team together and made them even stronger building up to this year. Things are starting to fall in place for the Canucks and it is a do or die year for the Nuckleheads.

It was a tough decision for me to pick the Canucks, as I think that the Penguins are a threat to take home the Stanley Cup. We all know how good the Penguins offence is, improving defence, and Flower is bound to play better this season. Crosby and Penguins are a close second in my books.

It is early to pick anyone to win the Stanley Cup and a lot can change between now and June. Let’s sit back and have fun seeing on how things will play out.