2013 Stanley Cup playoffs: Conference quarterfinal picks
It’s time for my sixth annual NHL Stanley Cup playoff predictions.
I’m going to keep doing this until I get it right. The last five years, I have failed to correctly pick the winner of the Stanley Cup. It’s been downright frustrating. With this season being a shortened one thanks to the lockout, maybe I will get lucky and correctly pick Cup winner. But I doubt it.
One thing this year is that I won’t be doing this year is picking with my heart because my Philadelphia Flyers decided to give some other teams who haven’t been to the postseason in a while to participate. So, welcome back to the playoffs Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders.
So, here are my conference quarterfinal picks:
No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 8 New York Islanders — The teams have met three previous times, with the Islanders winning every time. But I don’t see a fourth win for the Islanders, although they will make it interesting. Penguins in 6.
No. 2 Montreal Canadiens vs. No. 7 Ottawa Senators — The Canadiens stumbled down the stretch, but still won the Northeast Division because the Boston Bruins were equally as bad. The Senators managed to make the playoffs despite some devastating injuries. This series is going the distance. Canadiens in 7.
No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Rangers — The Capitals got off to a very slow start, and many wondered of Adam Oates was head coaching material. But Oates, the RPI great and Hockey Hall of Famer, stuck with the process, and the Capitals thrived. The Rangers, meanwhile, have been an enigma. They have a lot of talent, but it never really came together consistently. Capitals in 6.
No. 4 Boston Bruins vs. No. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs — The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was 1974. The Bruins, with Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr leading the way, rolled to an easy series win. The Bruins will need Esposito and Orr to help with an offense that is struggling.
The Leafs are in the playoffs since 2004. Do they have enough to overcome the Bruins?
This will be an offensively challenged series. Bruins in 7.
No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 8 Minnesota Wild
The Wild are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, although they nearly choked that chance away in the final days of the season. The Wild’s reward: they get the best team in the league in the Blackhawks. The Wild would have been better off not making the playoffs. Blackhawks in 4.
No. 2 Anaheim Ducks vs. No. 7 Detroit Red Wings
The Ducks were the surprise winners of the Pacific Division. The Red Wings are a team in transition. Duck move on. Ducks in 5.
No. 3 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 6 San Jose Sharks
The Sharks stumbled the early part of the year, but got it together in time. The Canucks still have goalie Roberto Luongo. Get the golf clubs ready, Vancouver. Sharks in 5.
No. 4 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Kings
On their way to winning the Stanley Cup last year as the No. 8 seed, the Kings pulled off a stunning sweep of the Blues in the conference semifinals. The Blues are out for revenge. They won’t get it. Kings in 6.