4/10/2012 12:02:00 PM
(1) Vancouver vs. (8) Los Angeles
I think the LA Kings have every ability to win this series, because I think it will be incredibly low scoring and I'd argue that the Kings have the best goaltender in the series. That said, in tight games, I'm still more confident in Vancouver's ability to find a clutch goal.
Dan picks: Vancouver
(2) St. Louis vs. (7) San Jose
The Sharks have been to the final four in each of the last two seasons while the Blues enjoyed a surge this year that nearly carried them to the top of the conference. There's no arguing what the Blues did in the regular season, let by spectacular goaltending, but I feel hesitant to buy into it up against a team with so much experience in the post-season.
Dan picks: San Jose
(3) Phoenix vs. (6) Chicago
Another tough draw for Phoenix, who have had to endure Detroit in the first round in each of the last two years. Much like St. Louis, I just can't convince myself to buy into a less talented and experienced group up against a team that has been there before.
Dan picks: Chicago
(4) Nashville vs. (5) Detroit
Bolstering their scoring attack by adding Radulov, Kostitsyn and Gaustad late in the season was a big shot in the arm for the Predators, who already have phenomenal defense and goaltending. They won their first playoff series in franchise history last season and like them to carry the momentum into this playoff year.
Dan picks: Nashville
(1) New York vs. (8) Ottawa
I like the offense better across the board on the Ottawa side, but their defense, goaltending and systems play pales in comparison to the rigid Rangers.
Dan picks: New York
(2) Boston vs. (7) Washington
Defending champions versus a team that couldn't figure it out all season.
Dan picks: Boston
(3) Florida vs. (6) New Jersey
Though I'm afraid that Marty Brodeur isn't nearly what he once was in goal, the Devils have insulated him with one of the most well balanced offensive attacks in the league. Florida was a great story this season, but their division championship is a bit of a mirage and they're stone cold heading into the playoffs.
Dan picks: New Jersey
(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Philadelphia
The Flyers have an excellent team but the Penguins, simply, are better in every area. If Philadelphia can really push the physical game, they can give it a run, but I just don't see them hanging with the team to beat out of the East.
Dan picks: Pittsburgh