Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 4/10/12

#1 New York Rangers vs #8 Ottawa Senators:

The Rangers have been the NHL’s best team for the majority of the year and look to keep up that effort in the playoffs. The Rangers have a good combinations of veterans and young stars, along with one of the premier goalies in the NHL, Henrik Lundqvist. Ottawa on the other hand snuck into the playoffs on the last few days of the regular season, jumping ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. Expect the experienced Rangers to handle this series with ease and beat the Senators in five.

#2 Boston Bruins vs #7 Washington Capitals:
Boston enters this post season as defending Stanley Cup Champs, and they have a good chance of repeating. The Bruins have a vicious defense led by their captain, 6’9 Zdeno Chara, and the best American goalie in the league, Tim Thomas. The high-powered Capitals will challenge the Bruins’ defense, and the matchup between Alexander Ovechkin and Zdeno Chara is one no fans will want to miss. Alexander the Great scored an impressive 38 goals, and teammates Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom are more than capable of lighting the lamp as well. However, expect the Chara and the Bruins to shut down the Capitals and win the series in six.

#3 Florida Panthers vs #6 New Jersey Devils:

Due to the fact that the Panthers won their lackluster division, they enter this series as the three seed despite having eight less points in the standings than the Devils. The Panthers started the season hot, but finished the season horrifically, going 2-8 in their last ten. This performance almost cost the Panthers a playoff spot, but luckily for them no other team capitalized on their poor play. The Devils on the other hand have had a very solid season, but have been overshadowed because they play in the same division as the Rangers, Penguins, and Flyers. Look for veterans Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, and Ilya Kovalchuk to lead the Devils to victory in a six game series.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #5 Philadelphia Flyers:

This is definitely the most intriguing matchup in the first round, as both teams could very well be the number one seed. Despite both of these teams having more points than #2 Boston, they were forced into the 4 and 5 slots because divisional winners must occupy the one through three seeds. The Penguins are led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who are arguably the two best players in the NHL. Role players James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, and Jordan Staal all scored over 25 goals, demonstrating the explosiveness of the Pittsburgh offense. However, the Flyers have had the Penguins number this year, winning four of the six matchups with their in state rival. If you’re looking for an action packed, extremely violent, and high scoring series be sure to watch this one. At the end of it all, look for the Penguins to win this series in seven.

-Langer

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