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Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010 NHL Playoff Matchups... and Predictions II

Overall we went 6-2, with a perfect bracket in the West in the First Round. However, apologies are in order to Bruins fans.  We did not give the B's their due.  Montreal, well... we did predict that you would win one game.

Hockey Plumber said: "In the East is nightmare match up central"

It was truly nightmarish for the higher seeds. All three division winners lost.  The most spectacular flame out was Washington's collapse after taking a 3-1 series lead over Montreal.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins  vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens

Round One:
Not many can say that they expected this matchup in the Conference Semi-finals.  Essentially the Canadiens were #16 overall seed facing the #1 overall seed.  Enter Jaroslav Halak.  The Canadiens stunned the Caps in seven games, completing a historic comeback.  Montreal moves past Ovechkin.  Next up? Crosby. Thank you hockey gods! No?

The Penguins dispatched a feisty, persevering Ottawa squad in six games.  Sidney Crosby was magnificent scoring 14 points in the first five games.  Malkin and Pittsburgh's other forwards were solid and did their part.  However, Marc-Andre Fleury was downright shaky at times and will need to be better going forward.

2009-2010 Regular Season and Playoff History:
The Penguins controlled the season series between the two clubs winning three of four.  Pittsburgh outscored Montreal 15-9 in that frame.  The two teams have no recent playoff meetings.

Based on Round One, many will see this as Crosby vs. Halak.  Montreal will concentrate their efforts on limiting Crosby.  It will be up to Malkin, Staal, etc... AND Fleury to make the difference against the Smurfs and Halak.

Hockey Plumber Prediction: Not this time Halak.  Penguins in six.

#6 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Philadelphia Flyers

Round One:

The Bruins went to six games with their division rival, but they were in control of the series from the very first game. Boston out worked, out-physicalled and outplayed  Buffalo most of the series.  Tuukka Rask needed to out duel Ryan Miller, and for the most part, he did.  Miroslav Satan also took his game out of moth balls to sting Miller and the Sabres at the most inopportune times.

Philadelphia smacked the Devils around, as if New Jersey owed them money all season.  Their first round match was no different.  The Devils hapless offense made Brian Boucher look like Pelle Lindbergh. The series was over in five games, but unlike Danny Carcillo, the Flyers' had real live injuries claim Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Ian Laperriere.

2009-2010 Regular Season and Playoff History:

Boston and Philly split the season series, with the Flyers claiming the first two and the Bruins the last two, which included the 2010 Winter Classic in Fenway.  The teams have no recent playoff history.

This matchup has some interesting story lines, and many comparable attributes: Chara vs. Pronger, Carcillo vs. Lucic, Rask vs. Boucher and Marc Savard returns from injury.  Both teams appear to be on their game, but Philly has injuries and Boston is getting more bodies back.

Hockey Plumber Prediction: Rask proves to be the difference, but it will be a long and ugly series.  Bruins in seven.

Hockey Plumber said: "The West won't really get interesting until round two..."

We got all the winners right, but we were wrong too, it got interesting much earlier.  All four series winners trailed after three games.  The Hawks needed some miraculous goals to get rid of Nashville and the Red Wings needed to win Game 7 on the road to advance.

#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings

Round One:

Considering San Jose's history, they had a relatively easy time beating Colorado.  The Avs looked to be in control early, as the Sharks top line was... Surprise! ... a no show.  However, the Sharks secondary scoring kicked in, Nabokov was solid throughout, and San Jose outlasted the Avalanche in some close games.

On the other hand, considering Detroit's history, Phoenix was heart attack city for Wings fans.  Bryzgalov and Howard took turns dominating games, while the other looked questionable.  In the end the Red Wings leaned on their experienced stars Zetterberg and Datsyuk to get them through an unnerving opening series.

2009-2010 Regular Season and Playoff History:

The Wings have a 3-1 advantage in the season series.  The Sharks only win came in a shoot out in Detroit. Their most recent playoff meeting was in the 2007 Conference Semis, which Detroit won four games to two.  Many of the same faces remain on both teams, but three years is a long time ago considering Detroit was backstopped by "The Dominator" and the Sharks top scorer was Jonathan Cheechoo! He could score???

The model of playoff success against the poster child for post-season flops.  Both teams are better than the ones that they faced in the previous round. Howard will need to be more consistent for Detroit, while Thornton, Marleau and Heatley will actually have to show up for San Jose.

Hockey Plumber Prediction: Another tight one.  Red Wings in seven.

#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #3 Vancouver Canucks

Round One:

Chicago's tussle with Nashville had some memorable moments, which centered around a bit of luck for the Hawks.  First, the Preds' top scorer missed nearly the entire series. Marian Hossa's little shoving incident led to a miraculous, last second, short-handed, empty net goal to tie the game, and Hossa's eventual OT game winner.  Lastly, a fluke dump in riccochet goal proved to be the difference in the series clincher.

Vancouver had their hands full with an energetic, but mostly inexperienced Los Angeles team.  The Canucks stumbled out of the gate, but they perservered, played their game and came back to control the series.  Luongo was not all that impressive, but he didn't need to be.

2009-2010 Regular Season and Playoff History:

The teams split the season series, both winning one at home and one on the road.  Their most recent meeting in the post-season was 2009.  It was a seesaw battle that got very, very nasty at points, with Chicago advancing after six games.  There is plenty of playoff hate already waiting to resurface here.

The Canucks are playing a sandpaper game already, but Chicago seemed to be looking ahead and floating a bit against Nashville.  The Hawks will need more than horseshoes and clovers to get past Canada's "Great Ice Hope".

Hockey Plumber Prediction: Revenge is sweet and best served cold.  Canucks in six.


  1. Appologies are in order to us Bruins fans!! Good reading here boys!!

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