Since Psych was not renewed for a 9th season, Chuck & I are officially the best faux-psychic show in town. No time is more ripe for our charlatan act than Day 1 of the 2014 NHL playoffs. So sit back and allow us to disagree slightly on who will win in the first round.
Bruins vs. Red Wings
Pants: Bruins, because there is no way I get off this easily in life. They’re packed and they’re stacked, especially in the back (Shoop!). Tuukka Rask, brick wall with a 2.04 GAA.
Chuck: Bruins, duh. I mean, I love me some Zetterbeard and the Red Wings did take 3 of 4 from the Black and Gold in the regular season. But this is the playoffs. And the Bruins always crank it up to 11 in the playoffs. (Can I get some fries with that shake shake booty?)
Penguins vs. Blue Jackets
Pants: Penguins, because I NEED THIS, OKAY? Also they’ve beaten Columbus five times this season, Letang is getting up to form and Malkin could be back in the lineup tonight. Fleury is near the top in every category and I’m banking on confidence.
Chuck: I love a good underdog story, and this series could be it. I know this is FAAAAR from popular option with our readership but just lemme finish. The Blue Jackets are a difficult team to play against. One coach told Kevin Weekes who told me that Columbus was a “nightmare every time you play them.” They have some underrated guys and they’re physical. Last year, Pens went up against the Bruins, arguable one of the most physical NHL teams, and they got swept. But it is Pittsburgh, so I could be wrong.
Lightning vs. Canadiens
Pants: Canadiens, because the Bolts lost the one-two punch they needed to win this series when St. Louis bailed. A shame, since Alexis says Tampa’s beard potential is astronomical.
Chuck: Lightning. Because I cannot. I will not. It will be a cold day in hell before I cheer for the Canadiens.
Flyers vs. Rangers
Pants: Evil, because that is the only choice. I’ll say Rangers here but it won’t be easy. The Flyers score slightly fewer G/G (by .22) but Lundqvist’s GAA is marginally better (by 0.14) than Mason’s – who is hurt, thanks Kaitlin, and out for at least Game 1. That doesn’t help Philly. Whoever wins plays the winner of PIT/CBJ and I don’t see the Flyers leaving anything but a streak of blood to get there. Rangers in a long, brutal series.
Chuck: Rangers…I guess. Both teams have fought and scrapped to make the playoffs, especially the Flyers, who have seemed to recover from their disatrous start. Rangers’ goaltending and defense are better but this match-up has some serious Hunger Games potential.
Avalanche vs. Wild
Pants: Avs, because Patrick Roy says so. He’s turned the worst team in last year’s West into the 2nd best team in this year’s West. Varlamov has seen more shots than any goalie and won more games. By comparison, the Avs’ offense ranks 20th in shots per game – but they are accurate, with 2.99 G/G (5th overall). High-quality offense, high-quality goaltender.
Chuck: Avalanche, because why not them? They are young, exceptionally talented, and have a top notch goalie in Varlamov. Nathan McKinnon is a shoe-in for the Calder and the rest of the forward crew ain’t to shabby. While the wheels were coming off the Blues’ bus, the Avs leapfrogged over them to take the Central. Remember last year’s Red Sox team? They went from worst to first and won the World Series. Just saying….
Ducks vs. Stars
Pants: Ducks, because they score more than any other team. They’re #1 at 3.21/game. The dark horse is that Dallas draws a lot of penalties (3rd overall), and Anaheim’s penalty kill ranks 13th 82.2%. So there are freebies to be had, Stars. I still think the Ducks overpower them.
Chuck: My heart says Stars, but my head says Ducks. For reasons. Namely, Perry, Getzlaf, Bonino, Selanne. Seguin and Benn have one of the best bromance/chemistry in the NHL right now, but it won’t be enough to overpower the Ducks.
Blues vs. Blackhawks
Pants: Blackhawks. Only 4 points separate them. The Blues are slumping hard – they lost 6 of 8 in April. I would not want to ride that streak into the post-season against the defending Champs. If Toews & Kane are really ready, like ready-ready, they can tip that balance.
Chuck: Blackhawks. Toews and Kane are back. Even at 75%, they are still pretty awesome. Blues spent the month of April on a cross-country trip on the struggle bus, which not the way you want to go into the playoffs. If Blues can return to their regular season form and get some guys back, they could have a shot. But the WUYS Magic 8 Ball is saying “Outlook look not so good.”
Sharks vs. Kings
Pants: Snore. Don’t these teams play every year? Just two of the last four. I’ll pick the Sharks for the same reason I always do: aren’t they tired of eventually losing in the Playoffs? The Sharks are always a fire drill, never a fire.
Chuck: Sharks. Please dear Lord, the Sharks. I need Joe Thornton’s playoff beard to make me whole and happy.
Did your team make the playoffs? Who are you cheering for? Any Cinderellas in this year’s matchup? We want to kn0w what you think?Tags: Eastern Conference, Playoff Predictions, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Western Conference