With the playoffs about to get underway, the crew here at Hockey Wilderness offers up their predictions for the first round. We do this not because we believe we are great prognosticators, in fact, far from it. We do this because it is fun to put your name on the record and leave it out there in order to be fully mocked when your predictions fail miserably.
It also gives you a glimpse of what the Wilderness staff feels about the teams in the league. Join us after the jump for predictions after prediction. You'll love it. Think we're idiots, let us know in the comment section.
First, we look at the West, since that is the conference we should know the best here at the Wilderness. That doesn't mean we do, it just means we should.
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs #8 Chicago Blackhawks
Elise: Nucks in 6. They're the better team this year and the Hawks don't have the same chemistry/tenacity to beat them this year. But I'm still pulling for a Hawks series victory.
Dan: Nucks in 6 - I love Hawks fan but sorry, Nucks have 3 scary lines and an extremely mobile defense. And as much as I hate the Looo chants, Luongo is still a top goalie. Still, Hawks are talented and will make it a fun matchup.
JS: Nucks in 5 because they're way too strong in every aspect and the Hawks don't have the Buffy the Luongo Slayer anymore.
Bryan: Hawks in 6. I have to go with history, and the Nucks haven't proven anything to me, nor have they proven they can beat the Hawks. Make 'em throw a strike.
#2 San Jose Sharks vs #7 Los Angeles Kings
Elise: Sharks in 5. Kings could have gone far but no Kopitar is too much.
Dan: Sharks in 6 - Sharks never do well but when its time, its time. Love JJ and Doughty but doubt the rest can handle the Sharks firepower.
JS: Sharks in 6, I think the Kings without Kopitar and Williams won't last
Bryan: Sharks in 5. San Jose in on a roll, and they just have too many weapons.
#3 Detroit Red Wings vs #6 Phoenix Coyotes
Elise: Wings in 6. Who knows what could happen after last year, but I still like the Wings.
Dan: Yotes in 7 - I believe goalies win playoff games and Bryzgalov is unbelievable. Howard is very good but I think Yotes have a solid defense that can do the job!
JS: Wings in 6, because they're the damn Wings.
Bryan: Yotes in 6. What kind of Red Wings hater and bandwagon Yotes fan would I be if I chose any other way?
#4 Anaheim Ducks vs #5 Nashville Predators
Elise: Preds in 6. With the way the Preds are playing this year, I think they could pull this off.
Dan: Preds in 7 - Will be close but I like the Weber-Suter and Rinne combination and think its good enough to survive against the Ducks superstars.
JS: Preds in 7, Rinne, 'nuff said.
Bryan: Preds in 7. I think this will be a good series, but Barry Trotz will find a way to shut down Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan.
And now we present the East, the conference we shall know nothing about and base out guesses, I mean expert opinions, solely on fact and statistics. Or, you know, a dart board.
#1 Washington Capitals vs #8 New York Rangers
Elise: Caps in 6. Callahan's out and Minnesota fans have seen how Gaborik can act during the playoffs. Caps just have more star power. Of course that hasn't really helped them in the playoffs before, so who knows.
Dan: Caps in 5 - Rangers have a good roster but love the veteran additions the Capitals added: Arnott, Wideman, Sturm.
JS: Rangers in 6, Lundqvist is the next goalie after Halak to give the high-powered Caps nightmares.
Bryan: Caps in 4. No way the Rangers have what it takes against these guys. Just no way.
#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs # 7 Buffalo Sabres
Elise: Flyers in 5. This has the potential to be a really good series, but I think the Flyers will take over.
Dan: Flyers in 5 - The Sabres will have a tough time trying containing 7 40+ point forwards.
JS: Flyers in 4, hard to imagine them not making it very far, especially since they got that nasty slump out of the way.
Bryan: Flyers in 4. Come on. Really? The Sabres? Not happening.
#3 Boston Bruins vs #6 Montreal Canadiens
Elise: Bruins in 7. I think this series is going to be quite entertaining.
Dan: Bruins in 7 - As always, it will be a tight series, but Timmy will come up big and the Bruins forwards will be physical as ever.
JS: Bruins in 6, they're larger and have the goalie who got the best sv% in the history of the NHL, and the Habs already have trouble scoring. They'll simply get out-worked and only Price can save them, as Halak did last year.
Bryan: Habs in 7. This will be the series to watch. Should be a good one.
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs # 5 Tampa Bay Lightning
Elise: Bolts in 6. Bolts are rising while the Pens are trying to maintain level of play without their stars.
Dan: Bolts in 6 - Will surprise many with Roli the Goalie (we know what he can do) and Stamkos leading the way.
JS: Bolts in 7, the Pens just won't last without their star power. St-Louis is also a friggin' beast.
Bryan: Pens in 6. I just don't think Roli the goalie has what it takes to stop the Penguins. I hope they prove me wrong.
And there you have it. The Hockey Wilderness staff is on the record, feel free to come back in a week or so and rub our noses in just how wrong we were.
*I kid, of course. Monica picked the Wings.