NHL Playoff Previews [Eastern Conference]

Breaking Down the Eastern Conference [NHL Round 1 Playoff Previews]

4/30/13 in NHL   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Hello out there in FanIQ Land and welcome to a very special edition of our NHL pregame show!  The playoffs are upon us, and we're here to break down each and every matchup for you.  I'm Bryan, your thorn between two roses.  Joining me as always are my co-hostesses with the mostesses, Debi and Jess, but that's not all.  Also on the panel are some of the Q's best and brightest hockey fans.  We're going to preview each of the 8 matchups in two separate blogs, one for each conference.  For those that may not know who we are, allow me to introduce our panel!

Your 3 Hosts:
Debi (JrCanuckFan) - She may be a Canuck, but she's no Vancouver fan.  This girl is a fan of the Calgary Flames.  She's also been one of my co-hostesses all year, and it's been a blast having our very own version of the NBC Studio guys!
Jess - She's your awesome community manager, but not only that she's a fan of the Anaheim Ducks.  Like Debi, it's been a lot of fun doing the live threads and picking the games all season!
Bryan (kramer) - That would be me, BK as I'm affectionately referred to by my co-hostess Jess.  I'm your resident Pittsburgh Penguins fan.  Now that you know a little about your host and hostesses, let's meet our guests panelists who will be breaking down the playoffs here with us.

Special Guests:
Dan (Dan_B) - He's your chief editor of the FanIQ Blog and other community manager, and a great addition to our writing crew!  He's also a fan of King Henrik and the New York Rangers.
Scott - He's the Q guru, been here since forever, and he's from the Gateway to the West.  Yep, you guessed it, Scott is a fan of the St. Louis Blues.
Marcus (marcus_nyce) - This man is your QMZ go-to guy.  He's always good for a laugh, and a huge asset to the Q.  He's a fan of the Montreal Canadiens
ML31 - Like a lot of these guests he's been around a very long time, and a huge contributor all across the board.  ML is a fan of the San Jose Sharks
Nick (Nick__): Good for a laugh, a great fan of the game, and a fan of the #1 team in the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sid (Sharp Square): Sid doesn't have a favorite hockey team, but he's a great addition to the Q.  He does follow the NHL, and is still here to give us some analysis from an unbiased view...maybe.
Jonathan (The_Real_Stoney):  Stoney is actually an amateur hockey player himself, and I wish he would bring back his classes, he's a really fun teacher and is also a great addition to our writer staff as well as the Q as a whole.  He's a fan of the Colorado Avalanche.

Blog Photo - NHL Playoff Previews [Eastern Conference]
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard!  We're going to let our guests go first.  This is your Eastern Conference playoff preview for Round 1.  We're each going to give you a short analysis of each series and give you our pick for it.  Your matchups in the east are as follows...

1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs 8 New York Islanders
2 Montreal Canadiens vs 7 Ottawa Senators
3 Washington Capitals vs 6 New York Rangers
4 Boston Bruins vs 5 Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog Photo - NHL Playoff Previews [Eastern Conference]
Dan: Sidney Crosby or no Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh’s offense is scary. The Penguins can light the lamp at an unbelievable clip – probably too much so for John Tavares and the Islanders to keep pace. I do think that the Penguins often-pedestrian defense will bite them at some point – but not in round one.
Pittsburgh in six.

Scott: Led by John Tavares and Matt Moulson, the resurgence of the New York Islanders as a playoff team was one of the NHL's best stories this season.  However, this feel good story is running into a juggernaut of a team that has played some of their best hockey without the league's best player, Sidney Crosby, in the lineup.  The Islanders are definitely trending up but the Penguins are too good
Penguins in 5

Marcus: Although I think this series may be John Tavares’ coming out party, the Pens loaded up before the trade deadline effectively giving them, in the words of Nate Dog, “16 in the clip and 1 in the hole.” Which is way too much firepower for the Islanders and most other teams in the conference to handle.
Pens in 5 with one break out Tavares game on Long Island.
ML31: Pens over Isles in 4.
Pens too good and I just don't believe in the Isles yet.

Nick: Pit has clicked all season long. The problem may actually be inbetween the twines for PIT as Fleury has had an up and down year. The positive side is that PIT can score at will.  NYI don't have enough fire power to combat PIT.
PIT in 5

Sid: The pens are stacked and are def thinking about playing for the cup this season. As long as they don't get too caught up looking ahead they shouldn't have too much trouble moving past the Islanders in this opening series.
Even if Crosby doesn't make it back for this series the Pens have NY out-gunned.

Jonathan: Even with the status of Sidney Crosby up in the air heading into game one, the Pens are still head and shoulders above the rest of the conference.  They are far too deep and experienced for the Islanders, and I am looking for a big series out of Jarome Iginla. Speaking of the Islanders, I’m looking forward to seeing how John Tavares plays on the big stage.  The guy has continually improved in his first three years in the league and is a legitimate star in the league. He and Matt Moulson are a formidable pair, but won’t be enough against Pittsburgh.
Pens 4-0

Debi:  As usual, I'm a little late to the party!  I see the Pens taking this one in four straight.  I can't see it any other way, unfortunately. Pens in 4

Jess: I don't see this series going very far. I don't have much to add to the conversation because I haven't had a chance to watch a whole lot of Eastern Conference hockey but I do know that Pittsburgh's so much better than the Islanders it's comical.
Pens in 4

BK: The Isles nearly shut out the Pens earlier this year in Pittsburgh.  The team was booed off the ice.  It was their second home game and their second home loss.  It woke them up.  After that they went 18-4 at the Consol, won the conference, are the highest scoring team in the league, and beat this Isles team the next 4 times.  They finished with the same home record as away record (18-6) whereas the Isles are better on the road than they are at home.  The Pens are the only team to ever finish a season without an overtime consolation point.  I think that bodes well for them knowing that you don't get OT points for losing in the playoffs.  My biggest key here is 3rd period scoring.  The Pens scored the 2nd most goals in 3rd periods this year.  Who wants to take a guess which team gave up the most 3rd period goals?  Yup, that would be the Isles.  I think the Islanders find a way to win one at Nassau and avoid the brooms, but that's about it.
Pens in 5

Blog Photo - NHL Playoff Previews [Eastern Conference]
Dan: The Canadiens limped into the playoffs, almost blowing their once-large Northeast Division lead. In fact, had Boston not played poorly down the stretch, the Montreal could easily have been playing in the 4-5 matchup. These teams played four games in the regular season, and they were very evenly matched – each one a game in regulation and a game in overtime. The Senators are playing better now, so I’ll go with them.
Ottawa in seven.

Scott: Thanks to the struggles down the stretch of the Boston Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens were able to sneak into the playoffs as the winner of the Northeast division.  On paper, the talent level between these two teams is about even, especially now that the Senators are fully healthy.  To me, the difference could very well be goaltending.  Carey Price was good for the Canadiens but Craig Anderson was better, and he led the league in GAA and save percentage.  I wouldn't be shocked one bit if he stole this series for Ottawa.  That said, home ice advantage is king and the Canadiens use that to survive and advance in a 7 game thriller
Canadiens in 7

Marcus: Honestly this has to be the match up both teams wanted. And hopefully, this series involves them chartering trains instead of buses between games making it a true nod to 1913 and the sport's history. Who doesn’t want passive aggressive sound bites from a dining car? I want a rivalry born on a train, Original Six style. Would it kill the media to have their press passes in the band of their fedoras or have the Habs wear throwback Montreal Maroons jerseys for game 1?
Stingy D and Erik Karlsson steal one of the first two in Montreal, but I think the Habs push back and take it in 7.
ML31: Sens over Habs in 6.
I believe this to be a favorable match up for Sens.

Nick: Solid year from the Habs this year has Nyce squirming like a little girl that just opened an Easy Bake Oven for Boxing Day!  I'm still not sold on OTT as an all-around team but their Defense is solid!  MON in 5

Sid: This could be one of the more interesting series of the opening round. This all-Canadian series figures to be a close and exciting as the Senators look to be getting healthy at right time, although it may not be enough without Spezza to take down the Canadians.
Montreal wins a couple real dog fights here to advance.

Jonathan: I love this matchup. First of all, you have two Canadian teams going head to head, and second you have one of the best stories of the season in the Pesky Sens, the two most exciting offensive defensemen in the league and the return of Erik Karlsson from a nasty Achilles injury who threw up 4 points in his first 3 games back.  Like a lot of playoff series, this one’s going to come down to the men between the pipes. If I’m a Habs fan, I don’t know how confident I could be in Carey Price heading into this series. As a non-Habs fan, I can’t wait to see the PK Subban show. If you haven’t watched him play much, tune in. At the other end, Craig Anderson is my Vezina choice this year, leading the league in save percentage and goals against average.  He’s shown he can steal games, and in the right instance I think he can steal a series like he almost did single handedly with the Avs 3 years ago against the Sharks..
Sens 4-3

Debi:   This one hurts my heart.  My son is a true Habs fan, but I have been so impressed with the heart of the Senators this year, that I really want them to win.  The Sens have Erik Karlsson back from the Achilles Tendon injury, so that's a huge plus.  I really want them to win this, but it is going to be a series, either way.  It could go all the way to seven.  Sens in 7 games

Jess: This will be the series to watch in the east, both teams quite impressive. Remember when the Senators were supposed to be awful due to injuries? Yea that didn't happen. Obviously there's depth on that team, which is exactly what you want in the playoffs. I think this goes out 7 games but ultimately...
Habs win

BK: Ottawa is below .500 away from home this year, and the Habs sort of backed into the division title, stumbling down the stretch.  The Sens have all their players back, but neither team impresses me.  The Habs did, but not the last 3 weeks of the season.  I wouldn't be surprised to see this one go pretty long just because neither team wants to win.  These two split their season series both going 2-1-1 against each other. I'm gonna call this my upset special if nothing else based on a lackluster finish for the Habs after clinching a playoff berth.
Sens in 7

We'll be right back on Page 2 with the other 2 series in the East after these messages and a word from your local stations!
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5/14/13   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

I was debating whether to round up the troops for round two, but it's too late.  Maybe we can all do something for the conference finals?

5/14/13   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

And I went 3 for 4 in the east.  The one series I missed was the one I figured to be the toughest series to pick.

Tooting my own horn here....  laugh

5/1/13   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Just for kicks...  Based on the regular season here are my NHL final rankings.  Please note this is not a playoff prediction.  Just based on regular season performance only.

1.  Blackhawks
2.  Penguins
3.  Ducks
4.  Canadiens
5.  Maple Leafs
6.  Kings
7.  Bruins
8.  Canucks
9.  Blues
10. Red-Wings
11. Capitals
12. Rangers
13. Senators
14. Jets
15. Wild
16. Islanders
17. Sharks
18. Flyers
19. Blue Jackets
20. Coyotes
21. Devils
22. Stars
23. Flames
24. Oilers
25. Sabres
26. Hurricanes
27. Lightning
28. Predators
29. Avalanche
30. Panthers

4/30/13   |   The_Real_Stoney   |   25694 respect

well played chaps

4/30/13   |   Sharp Square   |   11959 respect

Very well done Kramer and company !  yes  

4/30/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Great stuff.. Thanks to all of you at FanIQ.