Monday, April 29, 2013
And I sit here wondering if I am missing something. Does nobody remember last spring?
Anyhow, the East.
Pittsburgh v Islanders
OK so for starters I think the Pens are the favourites in the East. After all I'm the guy who keeps going on about depth and they added Jokinen, Morrow and Iginla so that their fourth line is what, Kennedy, Cooke and Adams? Holy shit. The problem for the Pens, however, remains the back end. They got filled in the first round by the Flyers last year, just absolutely filled, and I see a blueline which is still unimpressive plus in net they have that grinning bucktoothed bastard Fleury (I went heavy Pens in my pool last year so yeah I'm bitter) who has to be the most overrated goaltender in the league.
With that said I can't see them having much issue with the Islanders. Much like Chicago they have a pretty easy matchup. The Isles were even in GD, the Pens plus 46. Pittsburgh won 13 more in regulation or overtime too. The Isles have a nice team, no doubt, and Snow deserves credit for getting them here but Nabokov isn't stealing this series and the Isles don't have the horses to keep up. I think its Pens in five, maybe even a sweep.
Montreal v Ottawa
This one is pretty well a pick em imo and I think Ottawa might pull the upset here. Habs had five more ROW and their GD is eleven better but as we all know the Sens were ravaged by injury and now have both Anderson and Karlsson back. The Sens have problems scoring goals (look at their roster, what the hell?!) but the Habs have a hard time stopping them and for some reason Price has gone off the rails. Goddamnit!!
Ugh. OK going with the Habs even though my gut says Ottawa. Even though Anderson is the better goaltender I just don't see Ottawa scoring enough. Habs in seven.
Washington v Rangers
Another pick em, very very little to choose between them in terms of wins/GD. Caps have to get dinged for being in that division though and while the Rangers still don't score enough to make me believe they are a true contender (ninth in the conference, although top half of the league at least) I am going to err on the side of Henrik Lundqvist. If Staal was in the lineup I'd feel really good about it but as it is I am still pretty confident. Rangers in 6.
Boston v Toronto
I saw the Leafs play the Bruins live just over a month ago. The Leafs won 3-2 because of James Reimer and a lot of luck. So basically a snapshot of their season. They were actually outshot 39-13 iirc.
And while I'm not one to put much stock in past records and so on the Bruins have owned the Leafs and Phil Kessel for a while now. Where the Leafs might have gotten either Washington or the Habs this is probably the worst possible matchup for them.
Is it an impossible task? No. The Leafs actually have more ROW than the Bruins. Again, a lot of this can be attributed to luck but its not like Boston finished thirty points ahead of them.
But ... the Bruins are, as they were in 2011, a deep team, especially up front. No facepunchers on their fourth line except for Thornton and he can actually play. And they have Chara to shut down Kessel and I think that if they can shut down Kessel then they win pretty handily.
If Reimer plays out of his mind, which he might, then the Leafs might pull it off but when I look at that Leafs' D, well, they aren't up to snuff. Like the Oilers they only have two actual top four guys. Therein lies the problem.
The shitty thing for the Leaf fans that I know is that when the Bruins win (in six) invariably it will be blamed on Phaneuf, Kessel and Reimer. And that's just plain dumb.
Posted by Black Dog at 12:42 PM