NHL Playoffs 2014 – The Quest For The Cup!

NHL Playoffs Banner
The Playoffs Are Coming!

That’s right, in less than 48 hours the puck will drop in Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Anaheim to start the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs… and I’m excited.

I know that many/most Canadian hockey fans are dealing with feelings of disappointment and sadness as their teams are not in the post-season tournament, but as a Habs fan, I’m hyped for more hockey.

To kick off the playoffs I’ve drafted my good friend and great hockey fan Sean to give us his picks for the first round and some thoughts on what we might see.

So, have a look at our picks, agree or disagree as you will (please don’t make too much fun of us) and share your picks for the first round of the 2014 NHL Playoffs!

2014 NHL PLayoff Bracket

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (4)

Sean: Original six foes who haven’t had a playoff matchup in three generations. Grand Rapids – sorry, Detroit – took the season series and will make it closer than it ought to be. But I can’t pick against the President’s Trophy winners, and Jarome Iginla’s surprising season.
Boston wins 4-2

Josh: As much as I hate the Bruins, and I really really do (except for Jarome Iginla) I don’t see a way that the undermanned, banged up, skin of their teeth Red Wings can knock off Boston in this series. Look for 5 games.
Boston wins 4-1

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs Montreal Canadiens (3)

Sean: Three of the four games between these teams were decided by a single goal in overtime or a shootout., which means this series is all about the goaltending – Tampa losing starter Ben Bishop last week, while Carey Price has seemingly been doing everything right this year.
Mnn… mnh… Montreal wins 4-3 (as a Leafs’ fan, that really, really hurt to say)

Josh: This is a tight match-up with these teams finishing the regular season very similarly. The difference for me right now is goaltending. If Ben Bishop can’t compete for the Lightning the edge definitely goes to Gold Medal winning Carey Price and the Habs. 6 games here.
Montreal wins 4-2

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (4)

Sean: The Penguins might be missing Evgeni Malkin, but Columbus is definitely without Nathan Horton. Pittsburgh’s goaltending is always the playoff question mark. However, Pittsburgh had Columbus’ number all season long. That, and the best player in the world, tell me the Pens go through.
Pittsburgh wins 4-1

Josh: Before the season I wouldn’t have picked Columbus to make the playoffs. And now that they’re here I won’t be picking them to beat the Penguins in the first round. As long Fleury can stop a puck the Pens win.
Pittsburgh wins 4-1

New York Rangers (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (3)

Sean: Patrick Division represent – two very, very evenly-matched teams should mean a close series. Home ice will mean a lot – the home team won each game between these two this season, and Philly has been snakebit in New York for the last few years. Martin St. Louis will be motivated to validate his trade-deadline pickup, and not many teams have found a way to put him on ice.
New York wins 4-3

Josh: I don’t know enough about these teams to be quite honest. But I hate the Flyers and I think that Alain Vigneault can coach the Rangers past Philly in the opening round.
New York wins 4-3

Western Conference

Colorado Avalanche (1) vs Minnesota Wild (4)

Sean: Colorado was the huge surprise of the regular season, bouncing back from a horrible run with a very young team. Meanwhile, if the Wild were an ice cream, they’d be vanilla – I have no line on them, beyond that playoff decision tree that’s floating around telling me they should be my team now. The Avs had the upper hand in a close season series.
Colorado wins 4-2

Josh: The Avs have been a great surprise this season with Patrick Roy leading the young team from behind the bench. The Wild have been a great story and can’t be upset with their season, but I’m looking at the young stars from the Rockies to win here.
Colorado wins 4-3

St. Louis Blues (2) vs Chicago Blackhawks (3)

Sean: Both teams have been bit by the injury bug in recent weeks, putting a late blemish on St. Louis’ amazing year. Chicago looks like it’ll be healthier more quickly, and as the defending champion, have to be taken very seriously. It feels like the Hawks are just too stacked, but Ryan Miller is going to have a lot to prove here and could put the Blues on his back long enough for them to heal up a bit.
St. Louis wins 4-3

Josh: The Blues have had a fantastic season and bringing in Ryan Miller was HUGE for them. But they’re sliding right now and the Blackhawks should be getting Kane and Toews back which gives them scoring, defense and leadership.
Chicago wins 4-3

Anaheim Ducks (1) vs Dallas Stars (4)

Sean: The Ducks have a lot to prove after an untimely exit in last year’s playoffs, and a lengthy swoon just after mid-season. Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin seems poised to continue this season’s coming-out party and be a difference-maker. Every first round needs a big upset, and this one feels like the most likely choice to be it.
Dallas wins 4-2

Josh: The Ducks have been lights out for most of the season with a balanced attack and Teemu Selanne who we all love. I think this team is going to try to make a run and the Stars are the first ones to fall along the way.
Anaheim wins 4-1

San Jose Sharks (2) vs Los Angeles Kings (3)

Sean: San Jose has their own bad playoff mojo to overcome, but comes armed with strong team defense and a core group of forwards in Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Joe Thornton who’ll be hard to handle. On the other hand – Jonathan Quick? Drew Doughty? The team with a Cup in their recent history brings world-class defense and goaltending.
LA wins 4-3

Josh: The Kings have a ring, the Sharks don’t. And while I don’t think that this is the year Joe Thornton gets to raise the Stanley Cup, I do think that they knock off their California rivals in round 1.
San Jose wins 4-2

There you have it. Round 1 picks in the books!

Stay tuned for more playoff coverage as we make our way towards Lord Stanley’s Cup!

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NHL Playoffs 2014 – The Quest For The Cup!

NHL Playoffs Banner
The Playoffs Are Coming!

That’s right, in less than 48 hours the puck will drop in Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Anaheim to start the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs… and I’m excited.

I know that many/most Canadian hockey fans are dealing with feelings of disappointment and sadness as their teams are not in the post-season tournament, but as a Habs fan, I’m hyped for more hockey.

To kick off the playoffs I’ve drafted my good friend and great hockey fan Sean to give us his picks for the first round and some thoughts on what we might see.

So, have a look at our picks, agree or disagree as you will (please don’t make too much fun of us) and share your picks for the first round of the 2014 NHL Playoffs!

2014 NHL PLayoff Bracket

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (4)

Sean: Original six foes who haven’t had a playoff matchup in three generations. Grand Rapids – sorry, Detroit – took the season series and will make it closer than it ought to be. But I can’t pick against the President’s Trophy winners, and Jarome Iginla’s surprising season.
Boston wins 4-2

Josh: As much as I hate the Bruins, and I really really do (except for Jarome Iginla) I don’t see a way that the undermanned, banged up, skin of their teeth Red Wings can knock off Boston in this series. Look for 5 games.
Boston wins 4-1

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs Montreal Canadiens (3)

Sean: Three of the four games between these teams were decided by a single goal in overtime or a shootout., which means this series is all about the goaltending – Tampa losing starter Ben Bishop last week, while Carey Price has seemingly been doing everything right this year.
Mnn… mnh… Montreal wins 4-3 (as a Leafs’ fan, that really, really hurt to say)

Josh: This is a tight match-up with these teams finishing the regular season very similarly. The difference for me right now is goaltending. If Ben Bishop can’t compete for the Lightning the edge definitely goes to Gold Medal winning Carey Price and the Habs. 6 games here.
Montreal wins 4-2

Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (4)

Sean: The Penguins might be missing Evgeni Malkin, but Columbus is definitely without Nathan Horton. Pittsburgh’s goaltending is always the playoff question mark. However, Pittsburgh had Columbus’ number all season long. That, and the best player in the world, tell me the Pens go through.
Pittsburgh wins 4-1

Josh: Before the season I wouldn’t have picked Columbus to make the playoffs. And now that they’re here I won’t be picking them to beat the Penguins in the first round. As long Fleury can stop a puck the Pens win.
Pittsburgh wins 4-1

New York Rangers (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (3)

Sean: Patrick Division represent – two very, very evenly-matched teams should mean a close series. Home ice will mean a lot – the home team won each game between these two this season, and Philly has been snakebit in New York for the last few years. Martin St. Louis will be motivated to validate his trade-deadline pickup, and not many teams have found a way to put him on ice.
New York wins 4-3

Josh: I don’t know enough about these teams to be quite honest. But I hate the Flyers and I think that Alain Vigneault can coach the Rangers past Philly in the opening round.
New York wins 4-3

Western Conference

Colorado Avalanche (1) vs Minnesota Wild (4)

Sean: Colorado was the huge surprise of the regular season, bouncing back from a horrible run with a very young team. Meanwhile, if the Wild were an ice cream, they’d be vanilla – I have no line on them, beyond that playoff decision tree that’s floating around telling me they should be my team now. The Avs had the upper hand in a close season series.
Colorado wins 4-2

Josh: The Avs have been a great surprise this season with Patrick Roy leading the young team from behind the bench. The Wild have been a great story and can’t be upset with their season, but I’m looking at the young stars from the Rockies to win here.
Colorado wins 4-3

St. Louis Blues (2) vs Chicago Blackhawks (3)

Sean: Both teams have been bit by the injury bug in recent weeks, putting a late blemish on St. Louis’ amazing year. Chicago looks like it’ll be healthier more quickly, and as the defending champion, have to be taken very seriously. It feels like the Hawks are just too stacked, but Ryan Miller is going to have a lot to prove here and could put the Blues on his back long enough for them to heal up a bit.
St. Louis wins 4-3

Josh: The Blues have had a fantastic season and bringing in Ryan Miller was HUGE for them. But they’re sliding right now and the Blackhawks should be getting Kane and Toews back which gives them scoring, defense and leadership.
Chicago wins 4-3

Anaheim Ducks (1) vs Dallas Stars (4)

Sean: The Ducks have a lot to prove after an untimely exit in last year’s playoffs, and a lengthy swoon just after mid-season. Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin seems poised to continue this season’s coming-out party and be a difference-maker. Every first round needs a big upset, and this one feels like the most likely choice to be it.
Dallas wins 4-2

Josh: The Ducks have been lights out for most of the season with a balanced attack and Teemu Selanne who we all love. I think this team is going to try to make a run and the Stars are the first ones to fall along the way.
Anaheim wins 4-1

San Jose Sharks (2) vs Los Angeles Kings (3)

Sean: San Jose has their own bad playoff mojo to overcome, but comes armed with strong team defense and a core group of forwards in Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Joe Thornton who’ll be hard to handle. On the other hand – Jonathan Quick? Drew Doughty? The team with a Cup in their recent history brings world-class defense and goaltending.
LA wins 4-3

Josh: The Kings have a ring, the Sharks don’t. And while I don’t think that this is the year Joe Thornton gets to raise the Stanley Cup, I do think that they knock off their California rivals in round 1.
San Jose wins 4-2

There you have it. Round 1 picks in the books!

Stay tuned for more playoff coverage as we make our way towards Lord Stanley’s Cup!

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