Once again its 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 matchup. 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 the playoffs will go this way.
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 Eastern Conference matchups.
1.New York Rangers vs. 8. Ottawa Senators
Season Series: New York 1-2-1, Ottawa 3-1-0
Picks: Justen: NYR in 5
David R: NYR in 6
David L: NYR in 6
Amanda: NYR in 5
Gabrielle: NYR in 5
Paige: NYR in 5
Chrissy: NYR in 6
G.P.: NYR in 4
Patrick: NYR in 6
Adam: NYR in 6
Paige: Although the Ottawa Senators have gotten their starting goal tender Craig Anderson back, and their veterans have found a way to put the puck in the puck in the back of the net all year long, I’m still going to have to go with the New York Rangers. Despite the Rangers having a weak defense the past couple of years, youngsters such as Mike Del Zotto, and Ryan McDonagh I believe will be huge assets on the blue line, as well as forward and “fastest skater in the NHL” Carl Hagelin. If you throw veteran sniper Marian Gaborik, Captain Ryan Callahan, and Brad Richards passing abilities into the mix, now you have a great group of forwards. But I think the real weapon in the series is going to be King Henrik Lundqvist.
David L: Ottawa gives the Rangers a run for their money by stealing Game 1 at the Garden and makes the Blueshirt faithful extremely nervous.. But, in the end, Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes is the difference.
2. Boston Bruins vs. 7. Washington Capitals
Series: BOS 1-2-1, WSH 3-1-0
Picks: Justen: BOS in 5
David R: WSH in 6
David L: BOS in 5
Amanda: BOS in 6
Gabrielle: BOS in 6
Paige: BOS in 6
Chrissy: BOS in 5
G.P.: BOS in 6
Patrick: BOS in 5
Adam: BOS in 5
David R: A lot of people are counting out the Caps, but the Caps have played extremely well against Boston. Washington was 3-0-1 vs. Boston during the regular season and I think Washington will surprise many people here. Despite past playoff blunders, going under the radar in the 1st series might be a good thing.
Chrissy: Yeah this is coming from a Panther fan who doesn’t like the Caps but I think the defending Stanley Cup Champions will come through and take this one. While the Caps did get Backstrom back, I still think the whole team is a tossup every night on whether they play well or not.
Amanda: I feel like the Capitals will put up a bit of a fight but it won’t be enough to break Tim Thomas and the Bruins.
Gabrielle: The Caps’ goaltending situation is a mess as they will likely have to rely on third string netminder Braden Holtby to start the off the series. Not to mention the B’s boasted the highest goal differential in the NHL (+67) and are loaded with snipers who are sure to fire a lot of shots on goal. Zdeno Chara is a pro at shutting down big name players (Ovechkin comes to mind) and his veteran experience will play a significant factor in advancing.
3. Florida Panthers vs. 6. New Jersey Devils
Series: FLA 2-1-1, NJ 2-2-0
Picks: Justen: FLA in 6
David R: FLA in 7
David L: FLA in 7
Amanda: FLA in 6
Gabrielle: FLA in 7
Paige: FLA in 7
Chrissy: FLA in 7
G.P.: FLA in 7
Patrick: FLA in 6
Adam: FLA in 7
G.P.: Florida better Stay alert, because the New JerseyDevils came to play. I love my panthers, but this series will be extremely close.
Paige: I feel that the New Jersey Devils are quite possibly the best match-up for the Florida Panthers. New Jersey has the upper hand on offense with theirs consisting of solid scorers such as, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrick Elias and a surprising David Clarkson etc. But with the Panthers adding veterans Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski to the mix, as well as shut down defenseman Erik Gudbranson, along with our returning players Mike Weaver, and Dmitry Kulikov I feel that their defense will match up quite well against their top six forwards. As far as special teams, this will be interesting to watch as the Devils have the best PK% in the league and the Panthers have an impressive 7th best power play. But in the end, Panthers have won the season series over the Devils, and despite hearing Theodore and Clemmensen “aren’t good in the playoffs”, I don’t know the Devils Marty Brodeur can catch his playoff fire back either.
Adam: This will be a tough series for the Panthers. Nerves will get to them early in the series as it will be their first postseason play in 12 years. But, the Panthers will remain hot at home just as they did all season. One bad game for Martin Brodeur and his play will become shaky. Game 7 will prove to be huge on home ice, with the Panthers winning by one goal – with Scott Clemmensen in net.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5.Philadelphia Flyers
Series: PIT 2-3-1, PHI 4-2-0
Picks: Justen: PIT in 7
David R: PIT in 6
David L: PHI in 7
Amanda: PHI in 7
Gabrielle: PHI in 7
Paige: PIT in 7
Chrissy: PIT in 7
G.P.: PIT in 5
Patrick: PIT in 7
Adam: PIT in 7
David L: A fan’s dream for a first round series. Philly’s ability to play well in Pittsburgh is the difference.
Amanda: The rivalry between the two will make this a heated series. Most likely going to be an extremely physical series, but I see the Flyers coming out on top.
Gabrielle: By far, the most interesting first round matchup in either conference. I think a lot of people are discrediting the fact that the Flyers won the regular season series 4-2 (of course the Pens had a number of key players injured, but still). Sure to be physical as these two in-state rivals – coaching staffs included – have developed even more hate for each other than in years past. Expect Briere to come out fired up and a lot of goals from Claude Giroux. Same old story with Crosby, Malkin and Staal being the go-to guys for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh: Justen: Picking pit to win the cup. Great goalie great team in generally and having a healthy Crosby doesn’t hurt.
Patrick: Neither team wins at home, until game 7 where Pittsburgh will defeat the Flyers, and move on to the second round.
G.P.: Philly will make in interesting, but will lose to the Penguins who will go on and will eventually win the cup.
Adam: Philadelphia is a strong, physical team and will come out of the gate playing great. But, as the series moves along, Ilya Bryzgalov will get beaten more often, and become less confident in his play. Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby will come up huge late in the series as he will lead his team onto the second round in a big way.
Again, if you wish to participate in our predictions, get your guesses with a little writeup included into me as soon as possible!