Everyone has an opinion and prediction for the playoffs and here are ours. Feel free to add yours in the comments and we'll track 'em as things progress.
Montreal v. Ottawa
Hooks: Montreal in 6. I don't think that Carey Price is as bad as he's been lately and I like the Habs forward core better than Ottawa's. It seems like Erik Karlsson is back in full form, so it's hard to pick against him, but I'm going with old Coach T on this one.
Conley: I think the Canadiens can win this one in 7, but only because they have some depth up front. Their end to the season doesn't inspire confidence, but there's no way Ottawa can manufacture enough goals to top anyone in the postseason.
JustinM: MTL in 6, 59% chance of victory. Neither team really seems to have a top line the way we think of it here in Pittsburgh, and that will keep Montreal from running roughshod over Ottawa.
Washington v. New York Rangers
Hooks: New York in 7. This is the hardest one to call. Both teams know each other, having met in the playoffs in 4 of the past 5 seasons. Last year Braden Holtby had some magic with a defensive system behind him, but the Caps are playing well in front of Coach Adam Oates (who beat the Rangers last year when he was with the Devils). This one's basically a coin flip to me, so I'll lean to NYR, who I think got a little better at the deadline.
Conley: The Rangers should take this one, maybe in 6. I'm not sure how well the Capitals will stand up to playing teams outside the Southeast Division. They certainly look hot, but the Southeast was trash and gave them most of their late-season life. Momentum is definitely in Washington's favor, but the Rangers are a quality club.
JustinM: WSH in 7, 51% chance of victory, basically a total coin flip. Call it Alex Ovechkin vs. Henrik Lundqvist if you want, probably not far from the truth.
Boston v. Toronto
Hooks: Boston in 6. Even though the B's have been slumping of late, I like their experience and think in a seven game series they can wear down and defeat their division rival.
Conley: Really hard to say, as both looked god-awful down the stretch. Boston has historically tormented the Leafs, and they hold home-ice advantage. The Leafs score goals in bunches (Boston does not), while Boston stops most shots they face (Toronto does not). Each has an excellent PK and awful PP. Two teams with severe weaknesses are actually matching strengths in this one. I'll still take Boston in 7, though only on account of their experience.
JustinM: BOS in 7, 56% chance of victory. Believe it or not, Toronto's scoring ability has been better than Boston's this year so far, and that will keep them in it...although Toronto has a 1030 PDO right now, so they could be due for a crash
Chicago v. Minnesota
Hooks: Chicago in 4. I think Chicago's a buzzsaw and I don't see them having any problems in dismantling Minnesota. .
Conley: Minnesota helped along the lockout last summer with an anti-labor owner who nailed down two of the cap-circumventiest contracts we've ever seen, then played his inevitable part in the owners group that called the work stoppage a vital and necessary part of making sure such deals don't continue into the future. Chicago in 3. #Lumbus
JustinM: CHI in 4, 87% chance of victory. Minnesota just cannot score enough to break through Chicago's defense.
Anaheim v. Detroit
Hooks: Anaheim in 5. Similarly, I don't like Detroit's odds here either. Sure they have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, but other than that there's not a ton to like or make me think that the Red Wings are about to embark on a long playoff run.
Conley: Played one of the best playoff series' in recent memory in 2009. Wings did what they needed to get into the dance, but they have no depth to speak of. Ducks in 6.
JustinM: ANA in 6, 56% chance of victory.
Vancouver v. San Jose
Hooks: San Jose in 7. Calling an upset here, I don't like how Vancouver has handled their goaltending situation all season and with Cory Schneider showing cracks at the worst possible time, I see a circus and a distraction in the making. On the other hand, Antti Niemi has been quietly among the top goalies in the league and has provided a steadying force for the Sharks.
Conley: Underachiever city. It would take a head-to-head match between these two in which one has to advance to make sure that either gets past the first round. San Jose is too streaky to hold things together, even with Niemi playing like a G. Vancouver in 6.
JustinM: VAN in 7, exact coin flip. The luckier team will win this series. I'm not sure I've ever seen two more equally matched teams.
Los Angeles v. St. Louis
Hooks: Los Angeles in 6. I like the defending champs to get some of their mojo back here in what should be a great re-match series from last year. STL has a greatly improved defense, but if Jonathan Quick can find his game, it won't much matter.
Conley: Should be the most competitive of all playoff series outside of Washington - New York. St. Louis was my preseason Cup pick but looked nothing of the sort for long stretches. LA is going to find out how hard it is to recapture everything they expended to win it last year. St. Louis in 7.
JustinM: LAK in 6, 58% chance of victory. The Kings have the second-best Fenwick number again this year, and best out of the playoff teams. This is a good sign for them to do well in the playoffs again this year.