The fun begins: NHL Playoff preview

Sleep will be scarce for the next two months as the NHL playoffs begin. Here’s a little preview aka my picks for the first round.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Rangers vs. No. 8 Ottawa
The Rangers will win this in 5 games. And they will go much deeper.

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 7 Washington
Most people have Boston winning this but I smell upset IF Semin realizes he’s playing for a contract, if Backstrom’s health holds and if Boston goalie Tim Thomas can’t tune out the political charade.  So either Washington in 7 or Boston in 5…

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 6 New Jersey
It should be Devils in 5.

No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Philadelphia
It’s hard to bet against the Penguins with all their firepower, defensive strengths and the playoff proven goalie. If Giroux, Hartnell, Jagr and especially Bryzgalow can keep their pace it will be a very interesting series though. The thing that bugs me though is that if the Rangers, the Bruins, the Panthers and the Penguins were to advance, Pittsburgh would play New York in the next round and that would be much too early. Pens in seven.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Los Angeles
If Daniel Sedin doesn’t play the Kings will pull off the upset in 6 games, unless Ryan Kesler turns it on.

No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 7 San Jose
San Jose’s window is closing, as they say. From everything I read and saw St. Louis is the much hungrier. As the skill level is obviously there, this will be Blues in 5.

No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 6 Chicago
Chicago in 6.

No. 4 Nashville vs. No. 5 Detroit
This isn’t Detroit’s year yet, they will shop in the summer and next year some of the younger players will be ready to attack. This time, Nashville in 6.