Washington has home ice advantage throughout playoffs, and I expect that’ll pay off handsomely for them this time around. The team, the coach, it all seems to have come together. I see them beating Philly in 6 games — as good as Washington is, Philly is playing hot right now and Washington coasted in.
Pittsburgh is also playing on fire. They’d be contenders most years, the way they’ve come together. This isn’t most years. They’ll get past the Rangers in seven games (Henrik will steal a few to make it competitive) and arrive at DC’s door worse for wear.
The Islanders are a damn good team. Unfortunately for them, so are the Panthers, and the Panthers are playing with some emotion and the wind at their backs. Panthers in five.
Detroit backed into playoffs. They’ll come alive against Tampa, but despite their injuries, I expect the Bolts to make it to the first dance with the Panthers in the post season. Bolts in 5.
In the west, I fully expect Chicago to give their all against St. Louis. And it’ll be just too little — Blues in 7.
Dallas will get the only sweep against a Minnesota team that made playoffs by the grace of other teams falling short — Stars in 4.
San Jose and Los Angeles will go head to head in a hell of a series in California. I expect seven games. But the Sharks make it out.
Anaheim will get past Nashville in six games.
Washington over Pittsburgh. Probably go six or seven games, but Washington has a shot to get it done in the fifth game.
The Battle of Florida is going to be tricky. I like the Panthers to win it, but somehow I feel like Tampa will, in six games. Florida’s high of winning their first series won’t carry them past a Bolts team that’s been to the big dance.
The second battle of California will be won by the Ducks — breaking the home game seven curse after a long series.
And the Blues will send the Stars home in 5 games.
Tampa’s luck runs out in Washington. They’ll have gone through a Detroit team that backed in and a Panthers team that was embracing the emotion of getting to the playoffs. Washington will have exorcised some demons against the Pennsylvania teams. Washington in 4.
Anaheim will also exorcise some demons — by winning the West, in a lengthy seven game series.
As much as I, a SeaWolves fan, love Bruce Boudreau and want to see the old coach get the big trophy… I think the road there, against home ice, and a team that is the best in the league… it won’t work for them. Washington, at home, in five games.