Post your first round playoff bracket.
My playoff bracket:
Sabres vs Leafs/Isles
Sabres take it 4-2
The Leafs have proven that they can beat the Sabres, their only problem this year has been ridiculous inconsistency, especially from raycroft. The Isles under Nolan cannot be taken lightly. But these are the sabres. An upset is definately possible, especially if either the leafs or the isles can beat up the sabres defense. Also, if Miller goes down, Conklin cannot replace him.
Devils vs Bolts
Devils take it 4-2
Bolts will put up a fight, but they aren't physical enough to get to the devils. If any team can beat the devils, its the team that can hurt them. Gionta and Gomez spent a bit of time in the infirmary this season, and Elias is showing his age. Bolts have better offense. Devils have a better, more systematic defense. Goaltending definately belongs the Brodeur.
Thrashers vs Rangers
Thrashers in 7
This is pick'em. Lundqvist is capable of anything, and a motivated and healthy Jagr is a great thing. Cullen and Shanahan will be great in the playoffs. At the same time the thrashers have a now versatile defense, as opposed to the inconsistent rangers defense. Goaltending is almost equal, but in big games I give the edge to Lundqvist. The offense of the thrashers has more snipers then enemy at the gates, but the rangers have a great mixture of grit, skill and experience. It will be a story of goaltending in the end.
Sens vs Pens
pens take it 4-1
Ottawa is my team, no doubt about that. They simply cannot win close games, and cannot win important games. Sure they can claw their way back into games (they couldnt last season) but they can't ride the momentum for a win in important games. They also can't hold leads. Fleury has gotten hot again, emery has been mediocre the last few games. Pens offence is more clutch than sense offense. The only edge sens have is in their defense, but they play less of a system than pittsburgh does.
Detroit vs Calgary
Detroit takes it 4-1
Calgary really has not had a good season. The only reason they are in the playoffs is because Jose Theodore gave the Avs a huge hole to dig themselves out of, and Edmonton has played with less than 1/2 its roster in the past 3 months(injuries and trades are the culprits here). Defense, no team is better than Detroit. Offense, Datsyuk has yet to prove that he is any good in the playoffs, but the addition of Bertuzzi will show. I would say that it is almost even here (most people will disagree with me here, but hey, Conroy , Iginla and Tanguay are playoff performers, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Holmstrom are not).
Anaheim vs Minnesota
Minnesota pulls the upset, 4-3
Rematch of the 2003 western conference semi-finals but both teams are completely different. Anaheim has perhaps the best playoff defense you can ask for with Pronger and Niedermayer. They have a ridiculous depth with young stars up front, but this is where Minnesota may have an edge. Goaltending I also give to Minnesota as Bryzgalov has most definately lost almost all confidence in himself. Giguere just had a kid, and his mind might be someplace else. Backstrom has the best GAA and save percentage in the league. Backing him up is promising Josh Harding, and on the sidelines is Manny Fernandez. The offense of the Wild is oft cold, but yet very deep. They play a more systemic brand of hockey in Minnesota, and have been deadly both at home and on the road when Gaborik is healthy.
Vancouver vs Dallas
pick 'em, Vancouver in 7.
Dallas has habitually had canadian teams' numbers before. Turco is unproven in the playoffs, but the idea is he played too much in the regular season. He has no such disadvantage this year. Before, he never had much of a back-up behind him, but should Turco falter, Mike Smith has had a promising seasons so far. Luongo is Luongo though, although he perhaps has played a bit too much this year. Dallas has no doubt the superior defense, and both teams have inconsistent offense. The Sedins are unproven in the playoffs, whereas modano, morrow and all the finnish players they seem to have, make up for it in experience. The story will be goaltending, is Luongo twice as good as Turco? Can Smith come in and get hot? How will the Sedin's play? Too many question marks on both sides.
Nashville vs San Jose
Nashville takes it 4-3
Nashville may lose early because of their lack of depth from injuries, but when they get bodies back the San Jose defense won't be able to handle them. Home ice advantage is HUGE in this series. I like Nasvhille's defense, their goaltending, and if they get healthy, their forwards. Thornton has proven to be somewhat of a dud in the playoffs, but Marleau is teh heart and soul of the team.