Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Preview: Eastern Conference

I still don't understand the draw of this sport ~ X Mark


It is my honor to write the first hockey-related entry to SexySports. X Mark isn’t the greatest hockey fan (he’ll tell you he hates it), so I’m here to offer some insight into the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Ask any hockey fan and SHE (yes, I said she. Have you ever seen the chicks at NHL games? They are all dime pieces.) will tell you that there is NOTHING better than the Stanley Cup playoffs. Triple overtime  thrillers filled with blood, sweat, and tears. Furthermore, it is the only professional sport where you will see the
opponents shake hands at the conclusion of each series.

Last year, the Bruins left Boston wondering WTF!? They will most likely do it again this year (39 years w/o a Cup!?!?!?), but I can almost guarantee it won’t be as dramatic and epic of a loss in the series, let alone a Game 7. Who chokes on a 3-0 lead in Game 7 anyway?

#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 NY Rangers

It’s a simple theme with playoff hockey. Ride your goalie’s heater for as long as possible. The Rangers have one of the hottest goalies in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist, but with Daniel Callahan sidelined, the Rangers could be hard-pressed to score goals.

Furthermore, the Capitals folded as the #1 seed in the East last year losing to Montreal in seven games. I don’t see them having the same fate this year.

Capitals in 6.                  

#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #7 Buffalo Sabres

I hate Philadelphia and I am letting my passionate hatred get in the way of this pick. Or am I? Keeping with the goaltending theme, the Sabres have arguably the best “big-game” goalie in the NHL. Ryan Miller has a knack for standing on his head when it counts (see 2010 Olympics). The Sabres have been on a tear since February and if Miller is healthy, then they could pull the upset.

Philadelphia really stumbled towards the end of the season. The Broad Street Bullies played .500 hockey in their last 20 games and played the goaltending carousel all season long.

This series is a tale of two teams heading in opposite directions. Give me the team peaking at the right time.

Sabres in 7.                       

#3 Boston Bruins vs. #6 Montreal Canadiens

I have voiced my criticism of the Boston Bruins throughout the season despite their success. I hope I am wrong this year, but I see another disappointment in Beantown yet again this year. Montreal won the season series, 4-2, but the Bruins have been playing better hockey as of late despite going through a rough patch through March. Tim Thomas has played exceptionally all season long, but I’m waiting for the Cinderella run to end. If the line of Nathan Horton-Milan Lucic-David Krejci are clicking, then the Bs SHOULD pull out a series victory.

Carey Price is dirty and the heartthrob of Canadian women. I love Canadian women. I have a real tough time saying this, but…

Canadiens in 7.             

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s plain and simple. Without the scoring prowess of Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby, the Penguins will be hard-pressed to score goals. However, Marc-Andre Fleury could ride his season-ending heater into the playoffs and steal the series.

I don’t see this happening with career years from Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

Lightning in 6.                   

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