The NHL’s second season starts at 7:30pm Wednesday tonight. If you’re hitching your ride to the TMLfans.ca bandwagon, beware, this author was only 7-for-15 last year (you can always place your Pro-Line/fantasy wagers based on the opposite of what I’m picking).
- Western Conference:
- Vancouver over Los Angeles in 6 games – The President’s Trophy winners are looking to erase last season’s humiliating Game Seven loss in the Cup final resulting in the infamous riots. Jonathan Quick may steal a game or two for the Kings, but Vancouver should prevail, with or without Daniel Sedin.
- St. Louis over San Jose in 5 games – Jack Adams Trophy candidate Ken Hitchcock’s defence will stifle Joe Thornton and company, who’ll be bowing out early after a semi-final appearance last year.
- Phoenix over Chicago in 6 games – Arguably the hottest goalie in the NHL, Mike Smith, will prove to be too much for the Blackhawks. Even if Jonathan Toews returns, how effective can he be?
- Nashville over Detroit in 7 games – Predators’ shutdown begins and ends with the trio of Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. Scoring – even with Alex Radulov – will be a challenge. They should barely squeak by the seemingly-down, but never out, Red Wings.
- Eastern Conference:
- NY Rangers over Ottawa 6 games – Credit to Ottawa for turning around their season, but didn’t show enough spark over the final two weeks to be considered any threat. Craig Anderson won’t be perfect at Madison Square Garden for much longer; he’ll be outplayed by Henrik Lundqvist.
- Boston over Washington in 7 games – Yes, I said seven games. The Bruins are better on paper, and they’ll still win the series, but they seem disjointed enough to let the Capitals make a series of it. The loss of Nathan Horton hurts. Besides, what distractions could Tim Thomas possibly have in DC?.
- New Jersey over Florida in 5 games – When is a #3 seed not a third seed? When it’s the Florida Panthers, who backed into a division title by playing among a bunch of SouthEast misfits. Welcome to the post-season, finally, Stephen Weiss. Too bad your team won’t be around for long.
- Pittsburgh over Philadelphia in 7 games – If the final week of the regular season is any indication, the other series are the undercards to this hotly-contested Pennsylvania rivalry. In the end, it will come down to Philadelphia’s lack of clutch goaltending, with Ilya Bryzgalov not being able to continue Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Mallkin. But the Flyers will bang up the Penguins enough to leave Dan Bylsma’s squad limping into the next series.
Congratulations to long-time TMLfans.ca member Kelly, who was interviewed on CBC News on April 10th in an interview arranged by this website’s administrator. Kelly provides her insight on the Leafs pathetic 2011-12 collapse and Brian Burke’s subsequent apology to the fans. If you missed it, you can catch the clip here:
Rob Del Mundo is the author of Blue And White Beat, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca
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