Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Peacock Playoff Predictions

Everyone else is doing it, you say, and if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, etc..

So off the bridge I go, following Grand Shooteur all the way down.


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (8) Boston Bruins

Isn't it painfully obvious? Boston isn't that great, really, especially with Marc Savard confined to the chiropractor's den. Tim Thomas is a reasonably good goalie, but he's also a reasonably shaky and inconsistent goalie; I'll echo Grand Shooteur in warning you not to be surprised if Carey Price turns out to be a Patrick Roy or a Cam Ward. Then there's that pesky power play/penalty kill issue. Boston is miserable at penalty kills (28th in the league, I think), and you can be sure that they'll take a fair number of penalties. Which sucks for them, because Montreal is the best team in the league when it comes to power plays. Carey Price will be an ambidextrous wall, Andrei Markov and company will be rock-solid on defense, and look for Alexei Kovalev to be a candidate for MVP.
Peacock Prediction: Habs in 4

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators

Another hilarious mismatch. The Pens' firepower--Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Malone, some guy called Hossa--will be too much for Jason Spezza and Dany "I kill people" Heatley to match. Sergei Gonchar is one of the league's finest defensemen, much better than anyone on the Sens, and the Senators goal-tending has been nothing short of disastrous in these last few weeks. The Senators MIGHT squeak out one win. It'll be interesting to see if Hossa delivers. Whether he does or not:
Peacock Prediction: Penguins in 5.

(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers

This is going to be a wild one. I'm not going to reproduce any of the stock metaphors that the hockey press has used to describe Ovechkin and the Caps' phenomenal surge. I will say that the Caps are awfully good, and that Ovie has a fine supporting cast of defensemen and forwards. And he has Cristobal Huet backing him up. The Flyers will be ferocious though: they'll clamp down hard on Ovechkin and play violent, solid defense, egged on by their barbarous fans. But I think Ovie is such a sparkplug-firework-lighting bolt-freight train-hurricane-Cossack cavalry officer, and that the Caps fans will be so exuberant and energy-generating, that he'll break free of their clutches just enough to lead the Caps to victory.
Peacock Prediction: Caps in 7

(4) New Jersey Devils vs. (5) New York Rangers

This is going to be awfully boring. Not just because I dislike both teams, but because it will be a goalie's duel between Lundquist and Brodeur. I think Brodeur is better, as is the Devils defense, so:
Peacock Prediction: Devils in 5


(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Nashville Predators

Nothing would thrill me more than Big Greg de Vries and the Preds pulling it out over those damned Devil Wings, but, well, come on...
Peacock Prediction: Red Wings in 5

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Calgary Flames

The Sharks are lacking in almost nothing, while even a team as good as the Flames has a few holes here and there. The Sharks have the NHL's best goalie in Nabokov, the craftiest defense, and the league's best play-maker in Joe Thornton. The Flames will put up a huge, physical fight though. Jarome Iginla is a fighter in every sense of the word: look for him to have a few passionate outbursts and dust-ups. The Flames will battle bravely, and Dion Phaneuf will clear his territory as much as he can (and maybe even score a few goals), but ultimately Thornton and co. are just too hard to beat. Expect lots of highlight-reel-quality bodychecking.
Peacock Prediction: Sharks in 6

(3) Minnesota Wild vs. (6) Colorado Avalanche

Along with Washington vs. Philly and San Jose vs. Calgary, this is going to be one of the most exciting to watch. These two are evenly matched, they're division rivals, nothing I have to say here is remotely original...The Av's will put up a huge fight, but eventually:
Peacock Prediction: Wild in 7

(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Dallas Stars

Have you watched/read about the Stars recently? They suck mightily. Meanwhile, Pronger, Niedermayer, and co. are a well-oiled killing machine. No contest.
Peacock Prediction: Ducks in 4

Second round predictions? You want second round predictions? Fine.

Montreal will beat the Devils. Pittsburgh will beat Washington in a rip-roaring 7 game explosion of youthful exuberance, passion, and rage.

San Jose will beat Minnesota easily. Anaheim will beat the Red Wings in a tough and exhausting 7-game series.

Conference finals? Montreal over Pittsburgh in a GREAT 7-game series. San Jose over a tired Anaheim in a 5 or 6 game Battle of California.

Which obviously makes my picks for the Stanley Cup Montreal and San Jose. San Jose will win. A good thing, too.

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