Since you've all just read my season predictions in review and have seen that the predictions game is not something I'm all that amazing at. However, that doesn't mean that I'm not going to try my hand at playoff predictions again. Here come my Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions with a little blurb about each series.
BOS over DET in 7: The Wings are a scrappy team that will give Boston problems, but the Bruins are the deepest team in the East for a reason. There might just be too much for Detroit to overcome here.
MTL over TB in 6: The Bolts are a younger team and many of their players haven't experienced the playoff wars yet. The Habs are more experienced, and have a higher likelihood of having the hot goalie, since the Bolts best candidate is injured. Habs/Bruins anyone?
PIT over CBJ in 5: 'Lumbus is everyone's second (or first) favorite team in these playoffs, and for good reason. But unfortunately, the Pens are still the favorites, and despite their past playoff transgressions, they have too much for Columbus, who lost 5 times to Pittsburgh this season.
NYR over PHI in 6: The Flyers turnaround this season has been remarkable, and in a weird twist, the Rangers have been a quieter team all around. They may be the second best team in the East, and with Henrik's ability to shut a series down, the Rangers should be able to take it.
BOS over MTL in 6: Who doesn't love a series between Boston and Montreal? These teams not only hate each other, but they respect each other at the same time, and that should make for a great series. But, the Bruins have the ability to push the Habs around in a way I don't think can be reciprocated.
NYR over PIT in 6: The Penguins goaltending woes in the postseason are going to come back to bite them here. The Rangers will ride a wave of momentum from ousting Philly to then ousting the other team from the Keystone State.
Eastern Conference Final:
BOS over NYR in 5: Just as it went a year ago, and despite the coaching change for the Rangers, I just can't see them competing on the same level with Boston unless Henrik Lundqvist plays well out of his mind.
COL over MIN in 6: Will the young Avs mature in many of their first trips to the Stanley Cup playoffs? Will their abject terribleness in puck possession come back to bite them? Will Minnesota's goaltending carousel settle down enough for them to beat the Avs again in the postseason? Probably not.
CHI over STL in 6: The Blues are slumping, banged up, and in a funk. And now, they get to play the Blackhawks, who are getting healthy at just the right time. Bad combination. I don't think St. Louis will be able to score enough to keep up with the Hawks, who easily could out-muscle the Blues as well.
ANA over DAL in 5: Even if you are on the "Bruce Boudreau can't coach in the playoffs" bandwagon (which I am), last year they ran into the playoff-tested Detroit Red Wings. The Stars may be the classic "we're just happy to be here" team for this postseason, like the Islanders of last year or the Panthers of 2012. That doesn't bode well.
SJ over LA in 7: This will be the best series of all of the 8 first rounders. These teams are so evenly matched, and they know every detail about each other too. They can shut each other down, and beat each other up. Home ice might well decide things as it did a year ago. The Kings had it then, and the Sharks have it now. The Sharks may also have just enough secondary scoring to scrape by if their top line is shut down by Drew Doughty.
CHI over COL in 5: This is where the Avs problems in playoff experience and puck possession (not to mention they play man-to-man defense) will probably bite them. Colorado may be able to skate with the Hawks, but they'll need Semyon Varlamov to steal more than 1 game in the series to have a chance. The Hawks have been there and done that, and the Avalanche just haven't yet.
SJ over ANA in 5: Again, here is where the Boudreau-playoff funk will come into play. The Sharks have something special about them this season, and the Ducks won't be able to compete on the same footing with the well-coached Sharks defense. I also trust Antti Niemi more than I do Jonas Hiller or John Gibson.
Western Conference Final:
SJ over CHI in 7: They're going to get over the hump! I don't know how, but I just have a feeling this year might be the year. Maybe it's Tomas Hertl, I don't know.
2014 Stanley Cup Final:
BOS over SJ in 6: It shouldn't feel like chalk even when you pick the President's Trophy winners to win the Cup, because you can find faults with the Bruins, but they are the most complete team right now. Only really Chicago and. St. Louis may give them real fits, and they're both long gone. The Bruins will hoist the Cup once again. Also... the Joe Thornton storylines... who doesn't want to see this play out?
Sorry to Bruins and Sharks fans in advance.