Hooks and I did a little e-mailing and such to come up with our overall playoff predictions. Surely you've witnessed a fair share of predictions and preview this week, but if you can manage to stomach one more we'd love to see what you think.
Hooks - Boston in 5
I don't see Montreal getting in Boston's way too much. The B's are deeper up front, on defense and have had steadier goalie play. Montreal is just waiting to fall apart and seems to have a very fragile pysche.
Frank - Boston in 5
I really wanted to say sweep but I think the Habs can at least pull out one win in front of the home crowd. Of course if it goes to five games they will likely hear a few boos from the home crowd as well but such is the life in Montreal.
2 Washington (Japers' Rink)
7 New York Rangers (Blueshirt Banter)
Hooks: Washington in 6
The big matchup to me is the Rangers' PK against Washington's talent laden power play. If New York can't shut down the Caps there and if Henrik Lundqvist isn't the best player in the series by far, the Rangers don't stand a chance. I think he can do it for a game or two, but not enough to steal the series.
Frank: Rangers in 6
I don't know why I feel like the Rangers will somehow pull this off but part of me thinks it's possible. If this turns into a goaltending duel then New York easily has the upper hand. Special teams won't get it done for the Rangers and Washington's PP will likely face a lot of obstacles going up against the #1 PK in the league.
3 New Jersey (In Lou We Trust)
6 Carolina (Canes Country)
Hooks: New Jersey in 7
Carolina comes into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the East, but I'm saying Martin Brodeur is the difference maker. Take nothing away from Cam Ward, but if Marty gets hot and clamps down I don't see the Canes getting past him.
Frank: Canes in 6
New Jersey may have been hot for a while but they are backing into the playoffs. Carolina has the same momentum as Pittsburgh heading into the postseason and will likely continue to feed off of that throughout the run. I speculate Marty is not feeling 100% but I'm no team doctor. Ward will stop what little offense the Devils muster up.
1 San Jose (Fear the Fin)
8 Anaheim Ducks (Battle of Cali)
Hooks: Ducks in 7
It always seems like the Sharks take an exit in round 1 or 2 and this year they're up against a Ducks team that boasts Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Francois Beauchemin and Ryan Whitney. If JS Giguere can get his act together that could be enough to put the Ducks over the top.
Frank: Sharks in 5
I don't know what Hooks is thinking but the Sharks are at least getting past the first round this year. Anaheim's D may be tough but the Sharks' forwards are too much to handle.
2 Detroit (Winging it in Motown)
Hooks: Red Wings in 5
I see this as the Blue Jackets trial by fire (see Pittsburgh 2007, Washington 2008). Their time will come, but it's not now against the veteran Detroit team that knows how to win this time of yea.
Frank: Red Wings in 4
Like Hooks said this is Columbus' first taste of the playoffs. I'm thinking quick exit a la the Thrashers of 06/07.
3 Vancouver (Nucks Misconduct)
6 St Louis (St. Louis Game Time)
Hooks: Vancouver in 6 games
The Blues are arguably the best story in the playoffs with the turnaround that they accomplished. Vancouver is hot opponent too though, and I favor Roberto Luongo over Chris Mason.
Frank: Vancouver in 6
As much as I'd like to see the Blues turn this Hollywood story into a Fairy Tale ending, I just don't think the Canucks will let that happen. Bobby Lou is playing phenomenal in net for Vancouver and the Sedin twins won't go easily into the night.
4 Chicago (Second City Hockey)
5 Calgary (Matchsticks and Gasoline)
Hooks: Chicago in 5
The Blackhawks are streaking and the Flames seem to be middling. I like Chicago's team speed to break it open and never look back.
Frank: Chicago in 5/6
I couldn't make up my mind on this one so I had to throw them both out there. Earlier in the year I was contacted by ESPN the Magazine to give a few predictions. I said the Hawks would make it 7 or 8 and likely make it to the second round. Although off by a few spots in the standings, I'm sticking by that second round prediction.
5 Philadelphia (Broad Street Hockey)
Hooks: Penguins in 5
Pittsburgh has better forwards, an even set of defensemen and a much better goalie. It's in everyone's minds how Crosby, Malkin and the boys smoked Martin Biron last season. And I say they'll do it again. Though Philly will have players they didn't have then (notably defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn) but I don't see it counting too much. The Flyers are a very talented team, but at times they are a fragile one. If the Pens break them early, it could be a quick series, and that's exactly what I hope to see happen.
Frank: Penguins in 6
Marty Biron isn't taking the Flyers anywhere even if they do manage to get past the first round. Although Philly has a better offense this time around and a healthier defense, the Penguins are a more well-rounded team. If Philly plays anything like they did in the fight for home-ice against the Ranger then we have nothing to worry about.