After 1,230 regular-season games, the best part of the year is here. The 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Wednesday, and while there are certainly favorites -- I'm looking at you, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks -- the field is as wide open as ever. Most first-round series are tough to read and I wouldn't be surprised if all four in the Western Conference went seven games.
The best part about the playoffs, though, is that no one really knows how it's going to shake out, including me, but I'm going to take my best stab at it anyway. Here are my picks for the first round of the 2015 postseason.
Ottawa Senators over Montreal Canadiens -- I always talk about how the way you're playing is more important than where you finish, and no one on this planet is hotter than the Senators right now. Andrew Hammond is playing great, they're getting goals from a lot of different guys, Erik Karlsson has been great and they've just got that youthful exuberance that can be so dangerous come playoff time. Montreal is capable of beating anybody with Carey Price in net, but if Price struggles the tables can turn fast. Don't forget, Max Pacioretty's status will have a huge impact in this series. If he's not 100 percent, that's a huge issue for the Canadiens. Even if he is, it may not be enough to stop Ottawa from achieving the upset. The Senators just have one of those auras about them right now.