Once again it’s that time of year – Stanley Cup playoffs. This season, The Rat Trick staff along with other Florida Panthers’ fans are making predictions on the site as to who we think will win each series. Each person has submitted their selections as to who will win the series, how many games they believe it will take, and a little write up as to why they believe each matchup will go this way.
For selecting the correct winner, that person will recieve one point, one point will also be awarded for guessing the correct number of games.
The following people will participate in the poll this offseason, Justen Rosenberg, David Rodriguez, David Lasseter, Amanda Land, Gabrielle Kiger, Paige Lewis, Chrissy Parente, G.P. Hewitt, Patrick McLaughlin and myself.
We will begin with the Quarter Finals, and take a look at the Western Conference matchups.
1 Vancouver Canucks vs. 8. Los Angeles Kings
Season series: Vancouver 2-1-1, Los Angles 2-2-0
Justen: Van in 5
David R: LA in 7
David L: Van in 5
Amanda: Van in 6
Gabrielle: LA in 7
Paige: Van in 6
Chrissy: Van in 5
G.P.: Van in 4
Patrick: Van in 6
Adam: Van in 6
Justen: The Sedins and Luongo will be too much to handle. Great supporting cast outside the Sedins as well, too powerful.
G.P.: The Canucks are far too powerful for the Kings. There is no matchup here as Los Angeles just doesn’t have the firepower to compete with Vancouver.
Paige: As much as I wish the best for the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs, unfortunately I just don’t think that this is their year. Their only hope in making it to even six games is going to be the outstanding goaltending of Jonathan Quick. The Kings have struggled to put the puck in the back of the net all year long despite having top forwards such as Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Mike Richards. With Vancouver, if they get Daniel Sedin back, then they’re offense is going to be once again explosive especially with Henrik Sedin centering him, and the solid help from Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, and an impressive Chris Higgins. As far as defense, both teams have a solid blue line, but I feel Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa have been far more impressive and more exciting to watch than Drew Doughty and Matt Greene. And do I need to even talk about goaltending? If Cory Schneider plays, than the Kings are going to be in even bigger trouble than I thought. But we all know that isn’t going to happen. So, like I said, even with a struggling Roberto Luongo in net the Canucks will pull through.
David R: To me, LA was the best team in the Pacific and Vancouver is going to have their hands full during this series. The key factor will be whether or not LA can score, and if they do, will Vancouver be quick to pull Luongo. All the games during the regular season were close games and I don’t expect anything else.
Gabrielle: I like Jonathan Quick… a lot. Roberto Luongo collapsed in the Stanley Cup Finals last year… badly. The Bruins could’ve gotten a beach ball past him in that series, and though the Kings ended the regular season in somewhat disappointing fashion I think they have what it takes for an upset. After already missing nine games due to a concussion, Daniel Sedin is not expected to play in Game 1 tonight. Though LA’s offense is a bit spread out after Kopitar, Williams and Brown, they were a couple of late losses away from winning their division. This series will come down to goaltending. Also, three of the last six Presidents Trophy winners were eliminated in the first round… just saying.
2.St. Louis Blues vs. 7. San Jose Sharks
Season series: St. Louis 4-0-0, San Jose 0-4-0
Justen: SJ in 6
David R: STL in 5
David L: STL in 7
Amanda: STL in 5
Gabrielle: STL in 7
Paige: STL in 5
Chrissy: STL in 7
G.P.: STL in 5
Patrick: STL in 5
Adam: STL in 6
Patrick: San Jose will win in the shark tank, once. MVP of this series will undoubtedly be Jaroslav Halak as he will stand on his head against the Sharks.
G.P.: The San Jose Sharks have always been a letdown in the playoffs, and have never been capable of taking their play to the next level come post season time, they’re jinxed.
Chrissy: St Louis has also proven that they are a strong team. This team has played too well up to this point to lose in the first round.
Adam: St. Louis proved to be a Blackhorse team all season, as slowly they crept up the Western Conference standings and they will look to continue that trend into the playoffs. Ken Hitchcock runs a very tight ship, and knows how to keep his guys together in tough situations. The Blues are young, fast and have good snipers. Antti Niemi will show cracks early, and not recover.
Justen: I have a gut feeling that based on the way the Sharks have played all season that they are quite capable of pulling off the upset!
3. Phoenix Coyotes vs. 6. Chicago Blackhawks
Season series: Phoenix 3-1-0, Chicago 1-2-1
Justen: CHI in 6
David R: PHX in 5
David L: CHI in 7
Amanda: CHI in 7
Gabrielle: CHI in 6
Paige: PHX in 7
Chrissy: CHI in 7
G.P.: PHX in 7
Patrick: CHI in 7
Adam: CHI in 6
David R: Another series where the 3rd seed seems to be the underdog. Sorry Frank but the Yotes have played the Blackhawks well all year long and Mike Smith has stood on his head vs. Chicago. Smith will be the key to this series. During the regular season, he held the Blackhawks to only 4 goals despite the Yotes being heavily outshot. With goaltending issues and Toews not sure about his health, this could turn ugly fast.
Paige: Although Chicago has managed to stay a pretty impressive team all year long, I don’t think that they are quite ready to come out of the first series with the “W”. With a concussed Jonathan Toews, a struggling Patrick Kane, and Corey Crawford who is horribly inconsistent in net, I don’t think Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have what it takes to do it alone. Phoenix has been unbelievably impressive this year with Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney, and Shane Doan putting up solid numbers, but the most important asset to this team is goaltender Mike Smith. Smith went from being the worst backup goalie in Tampa, to a top 5 starting goal tender in the league. I believe it’s going to be a good series, a tough series, and a phenomenal coached series.
Patrick: Just like my prediction on the battle of Pennsylvania, this series will also go 7 games. Toews will return in game 2, but Mike Smith will stand on his head all series. Unfortunately, the Coyotes will lose game 7 at home. However, they will start the 2012-13 season right where this season ended, in Glendale.
Justen: Phoenix is good, just not ready to play with the big boys.
Amanda: Chicago knows what it’s like to win the cup. I think they’ll come out hungry and will drag this to 7 games.
4.Nashville Predators vs. 5. Detroit Red Wings
Season Series: Nashville 3-3-0, Detroit 3-3-0
Justen: DET in 7
David R: DET in 6
David L: NSH in 6
Amanda: DET in 7
Gabrielle: DET in 6
Paige: NSH in 5
Chrissy: NSH in 6
G.P. DET in 5
Patrick: NSH in 6
Adam: NSH in 6
Chrissy: The Predators have surprised everyone this year and I think they will continue to do so in the playoffs. Pekka Rinne has been such a good goaltender for the Preds and I see them coming out victorious.
Adam: With both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter set to become free agents on July 1st, the Nashville Predators are in a “now or never” mindset. The club has battled all year, with great results in a tough Central Division. With Alexander Radulov returning to the club for a post season run, this club appears to have just the right pieces to make a push for a cup.
Gabrielle: Luckily for the Predators, they get to start the series at home. It would be bad news if they had to work their way up after opening the series in Hockeytown when the Wings only lost a mere 10 games there all season. That said, I still think the Red Wings will find their way to the second round. They still have four players on the roster that hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup four years ago. Overall, Wings are very good in the postseason, but the Preds will put up a good fight.
Amanda: Detroit has a tremendous amount of talent and will use it to its advantage.
If you want to participate in our playoff prediciton, simply forward your selections to me as soon as possible. Eastern Conference predictions to follow shortly.