Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 4/11/12

EAST:

(1) New York Rangers vs. (8) Ottawa Senators

The Senators got the Rangers instead of the Bruins on the last day of the season, but will they be able to upset the top seed in the East? As surprising as this young team has been (ESPN ranked them last in the preseason rankings), they don’t have enough to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the rest of a deep New York squad.  Don’t it expect it to be too short, though, the Sens will put up a fight.

RANGERS IN 6

(2) Boston Bruins vs. (7) Washington Capitals

The Capitals have come on strong during the latter part of the season, but find themselves in an unfamiliar position: Not in the top 3 as a division winner.  They draw the defending Stanley Cup champs, who boast an always strong and hard-hitting defense and a truckload of 20-goal-scorers.  I don’t think the Caps can handle the Bruins and they will finish what has been a disappointing season early, especially if third-string goalie Braden Holtby has to start the majority of the series.

BRUINS IN 5

(3) Florida Panthers vs. (6) New Jersey Devils

It’s rare that picking the higher seed would be mean picking the underdog, but not many are giving Florida the credit they deserve after a season with 18 past-regulation losses. Still, Ilya Kovalchuk hasn’t been good in the few playoff games he’s played, and the Devils desperately need their top goal scorer to show up.  I give the edge to the Panthers, a team almost completely created through free agent signings, in a long series.

PANTHERS IN 7

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers

These bitter rivals played twice in the last week of the season and are poised for a classic playoff series.  The Flyers’ fate hinges on the play of Ilya Bryzgalov, who was lackluster in two playoff series losses with Phoenix.  Philly can keep up with the Pens high-powered scoring attack, but I just don’t see them beating what may be the deepest team in the league.  Make sure you watch this one, though; there will be plenty of fireworks.

PENGUINS IN 7

WEST:

(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Los Angeles Kings

Once again, the Canucks find themselves Presidents Trophy winners as the teams with the most points in the league, but will it mean another Stanley Cup run?  They fell short against the Bruins last year, but don’t expect the Kings to quite deter this year’s quest for the western favorites.  Although Daniel Sedin remains questionable with a concussion, I can’t see the Kings streaky offense matching the Canucks pace.  If Jonathan Quick is as fantastic as he has been all year, then LA has a small chance.

CANUCKS IN 5

(2) St. Louis Blues vs. (7) San Jose Sharks

It’s surprising to not see the Sharks win the Pacific; many had high hopes for the team led by Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau this year after they reached the conference finals last year.  The Blues are a surprise too, but in the opposite way; their strong goaltending and stingy defense almost got them a 1 seed after missing the playoffs last season.  Be on the lookout for an upset here.  The Blues faltered slightly down the stretch, and part of their goaltending tandem, Brian Elliott, has a “day-to-day” injury.  It’ll be interesting to see if he looks off because of it, but I’m going to go with the upset.

SHARKS IN 6

(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (6) Chicago Blackhawks

It’s so hard for me to even pick this game, because I want the Coyotes to win so, so bad.  Still, in an attempt to look at the game with an unbiased eye, it’s clear to all that Chicago has the higher powered offense, but Phoenix counters with a strong, deep defense and athletic goalie Mike Smith.  This series is somewhat of a toss-up; I think that if the Coyotes get secondary scoring behind Vrbata and Whitney, they have a good chance here.  But, if Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews returns from a concussion in prime form, he may be able to will Chicago to a series win.

COYOTES IN 7

(4) Nashville Predators vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings

Intriguing match-up here, both teams are very talented and it will be a shame to see one of them go home early.  Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has been slowed by injuries lately, thus the Preds have the dominant netminder in Pekka Rinne.  You know that Detroit’s big star will show up in the clutch, so it is up to Nashville’s scoring to step up; they need a big series from Fisher, Legwand, and Erat to counter the potent Datsyuk and Zetterberg combination.  I see the Predators star-studded defense being the series-changer here; they overcome the aging Detroit core in a long series.

PREDATORS IN 7

-Strauss

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Illinois releases results of women's basketball probe

Richie Incognito named starter by Rex Ryan

DeMarco Murray isn't thrilled Eagles limited reps in practice

Brandon Weeden: 'God forbid I am forced to play' for Dallas

Ben Roethlisberger: Markus Wheaton is ready to break out

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hernandez tipster allegedly had sexual relationship with him

Rookie WR Tyler Lockett has Pete Carroll, Seahawks gushing

Packers TE returns to practice in wake of family tragedy

DeSean Jackson: Revis, Sherman can't stop me

Rob Gronkowski on Patriots LB Jamie Collins: ‘He’s a freak’

Ray Allen won't officially retire in case he gets right offer

Report: Rousey to star in film based on her autobiography

Porn star offers to cook meal for any sports champion

Why everyone is wrong about Cowboys Tony Romo, Part 1

Oregon was only team drug tested during CFB Playoff?

Five 2nd year NBA players ready to take the next step

John Daly wants to be US Ryder Cup captain

Rodgers appears in another Olivia Munn workout video

Matt Hasselbeck is still getting random drug tests

Five teams that won at the MLB trade deadline

What should be expected from Aaron Rodgers in 2015?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is waiting for Tim Duncan to match him

Report: James Harden received $200 million offer to join Adidas

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker