Hodge: Columnist makes fearless predictions
So it’s that silly time of year again when I make a fool of myself and tell you just how the NHL playoffs are going to happen. Many folks in Readerland have played this annual ritual before.
I make these silly NHL playoff predictions, readers then clip them out of the newspaper and post them on the fridge (wallboards are optional) and then laugh at my predictions throughout the remainder of the playoffs.
So let’s start close to home with the Western Division:
Vancouver vs. San Jose. This will be a hotly contested battle that will come down to the goaltenders, especially in the final three games.
Look for Vancouver to win this series in seven games. Look for Jason Garrison, Derrick Roy, and Henrick Sedin to step it up the final three games of the series, and watch for Corey Schneider who will pull off this series for B.C. fans.
Chicago Black Hawks will take out Minnesota Wild in five games.
Dany Heatley will finally wake up after his shoulder injury but it will be too little too late for Minnesota and their fans.
St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings. This is probably the hardest series to call.
Logistics say St. Louis in six, however, I am going with L.A. in seven games.
These are two tough teams who will grind out every game. Last year’s cup-winning experience will help the Kings in the end.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks should win this in five or six games but I am calling the Red Wings in seven because of three players: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Niklas Kronwall. Anaheim will take a three game to nothing lead and Detroit will then do the nearly impossible.
In the Eastern Division it is easier—sorry New York Islanders.
Pittsburgh will sweep this series in four games and the Islanders will hardly see the puck.
In fact, the Islanders may ask to concede or surrender after three games, so strong is the Pittsburgh lineup.
If the Penguins defensively sit on Islander scoring star John Tavares, it will be hard enough for his team to even score five goals in the series.
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capital.
Look to Washington to take a 2-0 series lead but lose the series four games to three after Rangers Rick Nash and Brad Richards finally wake up.
Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin will play his heart out but is likely already injured and will not be able to handle the heat.
Ottawa vs. Montreal.
Based on nothing but pure spite for the Habs, I predict Ottawa will win in six games.
The Senators are on a roll. If they had an injured Jason Spezza in the lineup, the Senators would be a strong contender to reach the Stanley Cup finals.
Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs.
This one could turn ugly but Boston’s depth will win out in the long run.
The final two teams in each division will be Chicago and Vancouver in the West and Pittsburgh and the Rangers in the East, with the Penguins and Rangers meeting for the Stanley Cup.
I look for the Penguins to win it all.
There you are— short and sweet just like moi.