I am a true believer in the fact that you can not just crank up your game because it is playoff time. With that in mind here we go.
The Canucks had points in eight of their last 12 games, but more importantly, Henrik Sedin won the scoring title. He and his brother Daniel had an incredible 34 points in the last 11 games. Los Angeles won five of their last 12 and lost four in shootouts. Jonathan Quick has not won a game in eight starts. Dustin Brown has 10 points in his last six games and had the hat trick against the Canucks on Apr.1. Kopitar has not scored a goal in his last five games and neither has Ryan Smyth.
Prediction: The Canucks should win this one in 5.
San Jose won eight of their last 10. Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton have something to prove and have been getting good support from Joe Pavelski and his line. The Colorado Avalanche lost nine of their last 12. Matt Duchene is hurting and Milan Hejduk has gone six games without a goal.
Prediction: I hate to say that any team will win four straight, but the Sharks will sweep this one.
Chicago won six of their last seven, but three of those were against non playoff teams. Their goaltending has been spotty and they will miss Brian Cambell. Nashville won eight of their last 12 and during that time Pekke Rinne had three shutouts.
Prediction: If Jason Arnott stays healthy I think the Preds can pull off the upset. Nashville in 6.
Phoenix had seven shootouts in their last dozen games. They won five of them. Too bad they do not have those in the playoffs. Wojtek Wolski has been the hottest of the desert dogs with 11 points in the last eight games. He has the reputation of disappearing in the playoffs. Detroit has been the best team in the league since the Olympics. Jimmy Howard had two shutouts in his last seven starts and playoff standout Tomas Holmstrom had 12 points in his last nine games.
Prediction: Take Detroit in 6.
The only upset I can see in the East is Ottawa over Pittsburg. Alfredsson and Spezza have been on fire and Brian Elliott has been very good. The Penguins have been inconsistent to the point where they were shutout twice in their last six games by non playoff teams Tampa and Atlanta.
Washington will beat Montreal.
Boston, without Marc Savard, will lose to Buffalo and make Ryan Miller look good.
New Jersey, in front of Martin Brodeur, will make short work of Philly. Brodeur allowed just seven goals in his last seven games.
The next round will be harder to play and predict.