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Basketball philosophy

NHL Playoff Preview – Ranking what playoff series interest me the most, 1 to 8

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Evgeni_Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, USA

The Penguins are the odds-makers favorites for the Stanley Cup, but are in danger of losing in Round 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t pretend to know hockey in depth enough to make a real analysis one each series. Therefore I will be a narrative whore and rank the series according to how much they intrigue me and how much I want to watch them, with analogies, one phrase descriptions and key match-ups for each.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (4th, East) vs 5 Philadelphia Flyers (5th, East)

The marquee match-up with star power and bad blood to spare. Two contenders for whom a 1st round loss is a massive failure.

Why Pittsburgh will win: Star talents stepping up and great goaltender

Best analogy for Pittsburgh: The most popular girl in her class, gets a mix of adorers and hatred for the attention

One phrase description for Pittsburgh: Superstar talent

Why Philadelphia will win: Greater offensive depth and a mean streak

Best analogy for Philadelphia: A younger brother of the perfect son, constantly ignored for his strengths and brilliance, has a opportunity to kick the perfect son’s ass

One phrase description for Philadelphia: Explosive and angry

Match-up that could decide the series: Gs Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) vs G Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI). With both teams’ offensive talent, the goalies stepping up will be key.

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7 games

2. Boston Bruins (2nd, East) vs 7 Washington Capitals (7th, East)

The defending champions vs the most infamous perennial playoff letdown. A chance for Boston to prove they have the motivation for another run, and a chance for Washington to make up for a nearly lost season.

Why Boston will win: Their physically dominant style and defense won them the title last year, and they’re a playing a team with a history of softness being their downfall

Best analogy for Boston: A champion boxer in his late 30s. You’re unsure if he’s lost a step, but he’s still scary in the meantime before he proves that.

One phrase description for Boston: You come at the king, you best not miss

Why Washington will win: More finesse skill and a team who had to win down the stretch to get in, while Boston hasn’t played a meaningful game in months which could make their competitive wheels rusty.

Best analogy for Washington: NBA player Lebron James. Supreme talent and great regular season results most of the time, but until they come through in the playoffs they will wear a crown of thorns

One phrase description for Washington: Enigmatic

Match-up that could decide the series: D Zdeno Chara (BOS) vs LW Alexander Ovechkin (WAS). Boston’s top defenseman against Washington’s 2 time MVP who finally began to dominate down the stretch in the regular season.

Prediction: Boston in 5 games

3. St. Louis (2nd, West) vs San Jose (7th, West)

Two likeable franchises and teams, who despite competitive histories do not have a Stanley Cup. St. Louis’ young team hasn’t been here yet, San Jose has been here too many times, making their contrast an intriguing combo.

Why St. Louis will win: They had one of the great defensive seasons of all time and can get the physical edge on San Jose.

Best analogy for St. Louis: On a football team, they’re not the star quarterback or wide receiver, they’re the massive defensive lineman who needs to be double teamed at all times

One phrase description for St. Louis: Shut-down

Why San Jose will win: Much more experienced and used to the playoffs than St. Louis’ young team, they can get the jump on them in a playoff series

Best analogy for San Jose: The guy who makes it through the 1st or 2nd date with a girl, but by the 3rd his confidence finds a way to betray him

One phrase description for San Jose: Kicked puppy

Match-up that could decide the series: D Alex Pietrangelo (STL) vs C Joe Thornton (SJ). St. Louis’ young star defensemen has people whispering the word “generational” in talent but hasn’t been here before, Thornton has had his playoff struggles in the past but is now full of tricks from his experience

Prediction: San Jose in 6 games

4. Nashville Predators (4th, West) vs Detroit Red Wings (5th, West)

Should be an fundamentally sound and even series, between a Predators team who wants to make the next step and a Red Wings team looking to prove they have gas left in the tank.

Why Nashville will win: Younger legs and the ability to physically manhandle games, Detroit played awful on the road all season. Could be 2-0 Nashville quickly.

Best analogy for Nashville: On a tv show/movie where the good guy gets into a bar fight, they’re be the 6’5 300 pound bald trucker who throws him through a table

One phrase description for Nashville: No-nonsense

Why Detroit will win: The more talented offensive team, motivated to win before Nik Lidstrom retires. If they steal a game in Nashville, they are dominant enough at home that it may be enough

Best analogy for Detroit: A sophisticated European man who talks to women better than you and who’s lack of flaws from a moral, intelligence, class, etc. perspective enrages you

One phrase description for Detroit: Oh, them, again

Match-up that could decide the series: D Shea Weber (NSH) vs C Pavel Datsyuk (DET). Weber is arguably the defense-men of the year winner, Datsyuk is the usual choice for the league’s most skilled player. They will play against each other the entire series.

Prediction: Nashville in 6 games

5. Phoenix Coyotes (3rd, West) vs Chicago Blackhawks (6th, West)

Chicago has the star power and experience to be dangerous in the playoffs, Phoenix has to prove the doubters wrong with a team much better than it looks on paper.

Why Phoenix will win: A much better defensive and goaltending season than Chicago, they play a fundamental style to Chicago’s better flash

Best analogy for Phoenix: An art house film, the diehards are well aware of it and enjoy it’s technical strengths, but many don’t even know it came out

One phrase description for Phoenix: Grinding it out

Why Chicago will win: Much more star talent and dynamic forward play, who are used to the playoffs after winning the title in 2010

Best analogy for Chicago: Picking them to make a run is like deciding to eat a big bag of skittles, it may feel great at first but later you will feel sick to your stomach and wish you chose meat and potatoes instead

One phrase description for Chicago: Wild-card

Match-up that could decide the series: RW Shane Doan (PHX) vs C Jonathan Toews (CHI). Toews is the Blackhawks best player and emotional leader, Doan prides himself on his physical two way play. Getting the Blackhawks forwards off their game could be key to Phoenix having a chance.

Prediction: Chicago in 6 games

6. Vancouver (1st, West) vs Los Angeles Kings (8th, West)

Vancouver’s back-to-back best record in the league seasons and blowing a 3-2 lead in the Finals last year, make them a must watch. LA had a moderately disappointing season but have intriguing talent.

Why Vancouver will win: A complete, skilled team who may dominate the Kings on special teams

Best analogy for Vancouver: The protagonist in an action movie, after his best friend and partner is killed by the bad guy, he’s back for vengeance.

One phrase description for Vancouver: Under-pressure

Why Los Angeles will win: A goalie that can win games by himself and a mid-season trade that woke up a hibernating offense may make them better than their record

Best analogy for Los Angeles: A friend who had great grades in high school and then is working at a convenience store 4 years later, you’re just not sure if he gives a shit enough to reach his potential

One phrase description for Los Angeles:  Don’t quite have it this year

Match-up that could decide the series: C Henrik Sedin (VAN) vs D Drew Doughty (LA). Henrik may need to step up with brother Daniel easing his way back from a concussion, Doughty has disappointed Kings fans considering his star talent but could make an impact in the series.

Prediction: Vancouver in 5 games

7. New York Rangers (1st, East) vs 8 Ottawa Senators (8th, East)

The Rangers were on top of the league for most of this season, Ottawa is one of the better stories coming from expected bottom-feeder to a playoff spot

Why New York will win: A much more fundamentally sound team, anchored by great defensive and goal-tending play to go along with as much star offensive talent

Best analogy for New York: The hard-working office man who pays his dues and finally gets promoted to  a management position, except once it happens everyone he used to work for doesn’t respect him or treat him as an authority yet

One phrase description for New York: Complete

Why Ottawa will win: A fast, up-tempo style of play that can put a lot of goals on the board even against well played set defenses

Best analogy for Ottawa: NBA player Blake Griffin, you know he has flaws like defense and a technical side to his game, but he’s fun enough to watch that you choose to ignore them

One phrase description for Ottawa: We’ll just outscore you

Match-up that could decide the series: D Dan Girardi (NYR) vs D Erik Karlsson (OTT). Karlsson is the Senators’ superstar and is the key to the Senators’ transition offense by being the best offensive defensemen in the league, Girardi is the Rangers shut-down guy and will try to get the young Swede off his game.

Prediction: New York in 5 games

8. Florida Panthers (3rd, East) vs 6 New Jersey Devils (6th, East)

Florida is a great story having broken a decade long playoff-less streak with a team full of “we traded for this guy to get to the salary floor” cast-offs, New Jersey has a dynamic group of forwards and an improving defensive play

Why Florida will win: A surely raucous crowd can get them to a good start, and Martin Brodeur has been shaky his last handful of playoff series

Best analogy for Florida: One of your friends from your past finally got off the drugs and is getting his life back together with a real job, but deep down you wonder how long it’ll last

One phrase description for Florida: Surprise Attack

Why New Jersey will win: A more talented team front to back, with gamebreakers offensively

Best analogy for New Jersey: A deadly snake, they’ve been sitting hidden in the grass and biding their time most of the year, but don’t be surprise if they end up getting their bite in

One phrase description for New Jersey: Strike-ability

Match-up that could decide the series: D Brian Campbell (FLA) vs LW Ilya Kovalchuk (LW). Campbell is the Panthers’ best player and the guy showing them the way as a veteran who’s been here before, Kovalchuk is one of the league’s most talented but is still looking to establish himself in the playoffs.

Prediction: New Jersey in 4 games

2nd round:

1 Vancouver vs 7 San Jose – Vancouver in 6 games

4 Nashville vs 6 Chicago – Nashville in 6 games

1 New York vs 6 New Jersey – New York in 7 games

2 Boston vs 4 Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh in 7 games

3rd round:

1 Vancouver vs 4 Nashville – Vancouver in 7 games

1 New York vs 4 Pittsburgh – New York in 7 games

Stanley Cup Finals: 1 Vancouver vs 1 New York – Vancouver in 6 games

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Written by jr.

April 11, 2012 at 9:21 am

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