Yep. You read that title right. We’re doing it again, we’re picking the NHL playoffs. Why you may ask? Well, we figure we were so horribly bad at it last year that we figured we couldn’t possibly do any worse. Don’t believe us, here check out last year’s picks and see just how badly we did. (Badly enough we haven’t tried it again since the Stanley Cup Finals but my co-blogger thinks the time is right for a reboot. I think he has some inside info somehow. After all, he not only picked teams, but the number of games too!)
So here we go. We’ll break it down by East and West again, and give you each writer’s picks.
Washington (1) vs Montreal (8):
King: I think this is one of the easier match-ups of the first round. New York didn’t have an impressive March and I think the only thing that saved them is Lundqvist. Washington in 5
Beer: Based on the news I’ve read, Bryan Murray is in Ottawa now (Destroying the team and getting a three year contract extension for it). Why do I bring this up? Because for years when Bryan and Terry Murray were in Washington, they’d have a great regular season and then fold like a lawn chair in the playoffs. I’m tempted to watch history repeat itself here. King Henrik could give the Caps fits and steal the series. I think he’ll give the Caps fits, but not steal the series. Washington wins.
Philadelphia (2) vs. Buffalo (7)
King: Something about Phillie just doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe I have this feeling like they’re thinking…oh wait, we made it to the finals last year…easy trip. Buffalo in 7
Beer: I’m with the King on this one. Pronger is banged up/out. Goaltending is unsettled. And the Sabres have Ryan Miller. Even though Miller has already played in something like almost every game this year, he’ll probably make it through the first round before running out of gas. Buffalo with the upset.
Boston (3) vs. Montreal (6)
King: Except for Carey Price, I don’t see anything positive with Montreal. Plus Tim Thomas has been playing out of his mind. I’m a big fan of his. Boston in 5 (plus – CAM NEELY WAS MY IDOL!)
Beer: Okay, I added the Cam Neely part for him this year. Obviously the King forgot that part this year. For this one… flip a coin. This is old school, Adams division, Original Six, empty-the-benches, riot-in-the-streets hockey. These two teams do not like each other. Hockey as God intended. It could go either way, so flip a coin. What was the advice I ignored last year? “When in doubt, go with the Habs”. Done. Habs win.
Pittsburgh (4) vs. Tampa Bay (5)
King: No Crybaby….No Lurch..I mean Malkin…still think the Pens are a good team. I think that Tampa Bay is a better team though…Tampa Bay in 7
Beer: Hmm.. I get the feeling the King doesn’t much like Crosby, Malkin, or Pittsburgh. I think right now the Penguins are realizing the one thing that even Mario couldn’t explain. The thing you have to live through to really experience. When you play as much hockey as the Pens have the past few seasons, suddenly all that fatigue really starts to turn into injuries (See: Last year’s Red Wings). Still, I like the Pens to make it out of the first round. But I’ll be pulling for the up and coming Bolts. Penguins win.
Vancouver (1) vs. Chicago (8):
King: Vancouver reminds me a lot of the Wings in the 90s…great talent that never seemed to carry them far in the playoffs. That was until something clicked. Vancouver seems to have clicked this year. Vancouver in 6
Beer: Clicking in the regular season has never been the issue for the Canucks. Their playoff success, this round and throughout the playoffs will come down to this. “Which Roberto Luongo is showing up?” Canucks face off against a tough Chicago team that fought to the last game of the season to sneak into the playoffs. The champs don’t stay long at the party though. Canucks win.
San Jose (2) vs. Los Angeles (7):
King: The biggest trade deal at trade deadline, Dustin Penner has only scored 2 goals in 19 games with LA. Kopitar is out with a broken ankle. I don’t think SJ is really that good this year, but in this match-up they beat LA. San Jose in 6
Beer: An all California match-up. Earliest start time is 9:30 EDT on a Saturday night. All but guaranteeing that I’ll probably only see highlights of this series. Is this the year San Jose gets over the hump? Can they finally make a run? I don’t know, but I think they get out of the first round. Sharks Win.
Detroit (3) vs. Phoenix (6):
King: I don’t think the Wings have been a great team in 2011. I think their defense looks horrible and with Zetterberg out, they will struggle. I still think they have a little bit of magic left though…Wings in 7
Beer: I’ll keep this short. Mostly because I’ll need to run and hide after this… Every year there is an upset in the first round. Here it is. Phoenix wins.
Anaheim (4) vs. Nashville (5):
King: There is few teams that I find scary this playoffs, but for some reason Nashville gives me the chills. I think the pickup of Mike Fisher was a great move and I think Anaheim is still searching for a goalie. Nashville in 6
Beer: If a tree falls in the forest… does it make a sound… what? Oh, right the pick… Do I have to? Really? Is anyone actually gonna watch this one? Ok, fine. Ducks win.
So there we have it. Unlike last year, coins were flipped, and darts were thrown at dartboards. We threw in a few gut feel picks, and standard upset rules, too. We’ll see how we did come the second round, when we may try it again.
Beer & King