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Let's compare what I thought would happen in the first round with what actually happened:

ME / REALITY

BOS over MON in 5 / BOS over MON in 4 - to be fair, I gave too much credit to Montreal at home. Still, I nailed it.

NYR over WAS in 6 / WAS over NYR in 7 - I don't know what's more amazing: that Lundqvist was good enough to have this go 7 (without him, Washington wins in five), or the fact that he was one more save away from having his team advance. It's amazing that with their talent, the Rangers have no offense.

NJD over CAR in 7 / CAR over NJD in 7 - To be fair to myself, I didn't think this series would be decided by the Greatest Goaltender of All Time™ giving up two soft goals in the last minute and a half of a game 7; if not for those two shots, I'd have nailed this one. Still, credit to Carolina. Cup pick #1, gone.

PIT over PHI in 6 / PIT over PHI in 6 - NAILED IT~

SJ over ANH in 5 / ANH over SJ in 6 - Wow. I FUCKED this up. I didn't expect Andy Hiller, Journeyman Extraordinare, to come up and start kicking some serious ass, and displace a Smythe winner. I didn't expect Anaheim to look so good and so under control against a President's Trophy winning team. But worst of all, I didn't expect Thornton and Marleau to have ANOTHER shitty playoff against what I thought was a decidedly inferior team. In short, I thought that the dominant Sharks of the season would show up against an aging, undisciplined team, when in reality, the best 8 seed in history went against the softest, worst led 1 seed in history. How Marleau still has a C after this is beyond me; at least Thornton tried to get his team going, even if he couldn't get any goals. This means both my picks for the Cup are gone in round 1.

DET over CLB in 4 / DET over CLB in 4 - NAILED IT~

VAN over SLB in 5 / VAN over SLB in 4 - I didn't think Vancouver had a sweep in them, but in reality, that was more caused by the Blues and their lack of discipline - and possibly a letdown - than anything Vancouver, or really anyone other than Roberto Luongo, did. Still, it's great for a Canucks fan like myself to see Vancouver get so many good performances from so many different players.

CGY over CHI in 7 - CHI over CGY in 6 - I figured two things: Calgary would get stronger performances from anyone not named Jarome Iginla, and Chicago wasn't ready for playoff hockey. I was surprised at how many people showed serious composure in Chicago's lineup - Brent Seabrook and Dustin Byfuglien were awesome - and how few showed any heart in Calgary's. Do Keenan and Sutter need to go? Does that team need to be blown up?

So I finished at 50%, even if both my picks for the Cup are gone. Let's see how badly I can fuck up Round 2.

EASTERN SEMIFINAL

BOSTON BRUINS (1) vs. CAROLINA HURRICANES (6) - Don't sleep on this series. Both teams are deep, both teams are great defensively, they both have good goaltending, and the rust in Boston is going to be offset by coming fatigue after that series Carolina just went through. I have to admit I'm not totally sold on the Bruins yet; too many people in that lineup have no history of playoff success. That said, I think Tim Thomas is awesome, and has just enough to pull out a surprisingly close series.

PREDICTION: BOSTON IN SEVEN

WASHINGTON CAPITALS (2) vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (5)

It took awhile, but the rest of the NHL is finally catching onto something I figured out the moment the horn blew in Washington: we got a real fucking treat in this series. Ovie vs. Crosby! Ovie vs. Malkin in the Slapfight of the Century! Questionable defence vs. questionable defence! And to top it off, both sides have questions in goal, with Fleury's inconsistency coming up against Varlamov's inexperience, and inability to purchase alcohol.

In the end, I like Pittsburgh; Ovechkin's awesome, but I sense he's going to get tired. Boudreau's playing the hell out of him - he almost had 30 minutes in game 5, which is high for a defenceman, let alone a forward - and Pittsburgh's a deeper team than Washington. But damn, will it be fun to watch.

PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH IN SEVEN

WESTERN SEMIFINAL

DETROIT RED WINGS (2) vs. ANAHEIM DUCKS (8)

Here's another series not to sleep on; Anaheim's showed they're closer to their Cup form than their form of the past two seasons, and people - myself included - seem to forget they have two Norris winners on their blue line. This is going to be a good, tough series that's ultimately decided on special teams... which is bad news for Anaheim, because they simply go on the penalty kill too often. I think all the games will ultimately be close, but Detroit will pull it out. And then maybe, Chris Osgood will start getting some fucking respect.

PREDICTION: DETROIT IN SIX

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (3) vs. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (4)

This series is by far, to me, the closest one so far of either round. Vancouver didn't beat the Blues as soundly as the sweep would have people believe, but their special teams are great... as are Chicago's, and both are riding hot goaltenders, including Chicago, who has the World's Greatest Contract Year Goaltender (once again, Khabi gets hot just before free agency... buyer beware).

In a series this close, I have to find a distinct advantage for someone to exploit, and the only one that comes to my mind is Chicago's scoring depth; they have two solid lines, and a good offensive blueline, whereas Vancouver has one outstanding line, and question marks the rest of the way (Mr. Demitra? Mr. Sundin? Any time you're ready, guys). As hard as I try to find a way Vancouver can take this series... I can't find it. They play best against one-star teams where Kessler can shut down a superstar; Chicago's too deep to focus on one guy, though I think Kessler vs. Toews will be fun.

That said, whoever wins this better hope Detroit gets upset.

PREDICTION: CHICAGO IN SEVEN

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
burning_phoneix
Apr. 30th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
I always wondered why you don't do Champions League predictions. :P
superbus
Apr. 30th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
All Football predictions for tournaments are crapshoots. I think it should go no better than just predicting title winners, honestly, because picking the winner of a home-and-home is usually just guesswork, especially with the spectre of penalties.
misterwaffles
Apr. 30th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
It's not Andy Hiller journeyman extraordinare, it's Jonas Hiller, who's spent most of his time in the Swiss league. The Ducks are his only NHL team.
superbus
Apr. 30th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Should'a caught that. My bad.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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