I want to start off by apologizing to all Rangers fans because I will not predict the outcome of their series against the Washington Capitals. People think picking what will happen when your favorite team is involved is easy: the homer in me says to pick the Rangers while the realist inside me leans to the Capitals, even if I think the Rangers can beat them. Then there is the jinx factor, that I should pick the Capitals so that the Rangers will end up winning. It’s all very confusing, so I will just nix all of that by not picking anyone. I am a Ranger fan first, a writer second, so if you want to dock me points for not being brave, then by all means do it—I’m not that proud.
- Washington Capitals (1) vs New York Rangers (8)
Outcome: See above paragraph
Notes: I will say this, the Rangers definitely have a shot, because they played well against them during the regular season and Henrik Lundqvist was great down the stretch, and is better than Michael Neuvirth and Brandon Holtby. The defensive combination of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi have always fared well against Alex Ovechkin, but these are the playoffs, and AO’s personality and skill level will only be magnified. The Capitals’ offense is infinitely scarier than that of the Rangers, even though the Rangers outscored them on the season 233 to 224. Somehow Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky don’t intimidate like Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom do. Should Marian Gaborik decide to wake up, though, then maybe the Rangers can match them.
- Philadelphia Flyers (2) vs Buffalo Sabres (7)
Outcome: Buffalo in 6
- Boston Bruins (3) vs Montreal Canadiens (6)
Outcome: Boston in 5
- Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (5)
Outcome: Tampa Bay in 7
- Vancouver Canucks (1) vs Chicago Blackhawks (8)
Outcome: Chicago in 7
- San Jose Sharks (2) vs Los Angeles Kings (7)
Outcome: San Jose in 6
- Detroit Red Wings (3) vs Phoenix Coyotes (6)
Outcome: Detroit in 5
- Anaheim Ducks (4) vs Nashville Predators (5)
Outcome: Anaheim in 5
Sorry that I did not put explanations this year, guys. I just did not have enough time this season to watch as much hockey as I normally do, so that is the reason. I would just like to add that I really think Buffalo is going to take Philadelphia, because the Flyers struggled down the stretch while the Sabres were torrid, winning eight out of their last ten. I will also say that the Blackhawks will upset Vancouver, because they are the defending Cup champions, and even with all their wins, the Canucks just do not scare me. As for Stan Fischler picking that the Rangers will be in the Stanley Cup Finals, I just have one thing to say: retire.