Detroit vs. Anaheim
Wings in 7. Yes the ducks did just knock off this season’s arguable favourite for the cup, but let’s be real, how many years in a row has SJ been favoured? They have managed to disappoint every year which is why I am not surprised that they are already gone. The reason I am giving the Ducks enough respect to last until game 7 is because of their young tender Jonas Hiller. He managed to keep the Sharks, a team with 257 goals in 82 games during the reg season, down to 10 goals in 6 playoff games with a GAA of 1.64 and a sv% of .957. Although these numbers are impressive, we also witnessed the Red Wings put 18 goals in the net in only 4 games, and every goal went past probable rookie of the year and potential Vezina winner Steve Mason. This series may very well be over before game 7, but Anaheim has a very tough and young core that could potentially do some damage away from Jos Louis arena.
Vancouver vs. Chicago
Canucks in 6. This series is shaping up to be your classic gaoltender’s duel. On one side you have a goalie with a stanley cup in Khabibulin who seems to give his team a chance to win every night. On the other side you have arguably the league’s best goaltender in Luongo who also has the best GAA and sv% this postseason. Both these goalies could very well win this series for their respective teams, so i think the determining factor in the series will be the Canuck’s very tough defensive core matching up against the inexperienced and young offense of the ‘Hawks.
Boston vs. Carolina
Bruins in 5. This series is a strange one that is difficult for me to make any predictions on. I just cannot see how the Canes keep winning, I think that the stanley cup run they made back in 05/06 is the reason they keep surprising me. Their best player by far is Eric Staal, and Cam Ward has been solid in net as he has proven he can be in the past. After Staal and Ray Whitney there is a large drop-off in skilled offensive players. you could make cases for both Brind’Amour and Samsonov, but both seem to have reached their peak years ago. The Bruins have the perfect mix of veterans and skilled young’ns between Savard, Recchi, and Ryder, Krejci, Lucic, and Kessel. They also have a goalie that has proven through this season that he can be just as good if not better than Ward in Tim Thomas.
Washington vs. Pittsburgh
Pens in 7. The pens could easily end this series quickly, but i think it is more of a hope than an actual prediction for a game 7. This series has been a long time in the making, Sid the Kid vs. Alexander the Great. Who wouldn’t want this series to go to 7? Personally i am a big Ovechkin fan so I am rooting for the Caps, but i don’t see how they could beat the Pens. Pens win the tender battle hands down, and I won’t change my mind until Varlamov can prove himself. Fleury has been slightly unstable in the past, but for the most part has proven himself, including proving that he can bring the Pens to the cup finals. There is no reason why Fleury should fall apart when facing the Caps offense, he has faced offenses that are just as good if not better than the Caps in Philly this year and the Sens last year without giving in. If the Caps hope to surpass the Pens, they will need solid goaltending once again from Varlamov and they will need the core of their firepower, Ovi, Semin, Kozlov, Laich etc. to keep producing, and maybe even take it one step further.
Stanley Cup Winners: Detroit Red Wings. There are my predictions.