First Round Predictions

Here are my predictions for the first round of the playoffs. Beyond that I am predicting San Jose over Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals.

  1. Dallas at Anaheim

    Dallas (road) Anaheim (home)
    Predicted Winner Anaheim (Some)
    Fair Odds +121 -126
    Overall Record 45-30-7 47-27-8
    Home/Road Record 22-14-5 28-9-4
    Last 10 Games 3-5-2 8-2-0
    Since Trade Deadline 5-8-2 11-4-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/20: Anaheim 1 at Dallas 3
    • 2007/11/05: Dallas 5 at Anaheim 0
    • 2007/11/21: Anaheim 1 at Dallas 2
    • 2008/01/15: Dallas 2 at Anaheim 4
    • 2008/01/20: Anaheim 2 at Dallas 5
    • 2008/02/15: Dallas 4 at Anaheim 2
    • 2008/03/19: Anaheim 2 at Dallas 1
    • 2008/03/30: Dallas 2 at Anaheim 3 (SO)

    My Prediction: Both Anaheim and Dallas play a tight defensive system but with the return of Selanne and Niedermayer the Ducks have the edge offensively and that should be enough to give them the series. For Dallas to win Brad Richards really has to play well and above what he has contributed so far in Dallas (or in Tampa this season). Anaheim in 6.

  2. Colorado at Minnesota

    Colorado (road) Minnesota (home)
    Predicted Winner Minnesota (Some)
    Fair Odds +124 -132
    Overall Record 44-31-7 44-28-10
    Home/Road Record 17-19-5 25-11-5
    Last 10 Games 5-4-1 6-2-2
    Since Trade Deadline 12-5-1 10-4-5
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/21: Colorado 2 at Minnesota 3
    • 2007/10/28: Minnesota 1 at Colorado 3
    • 2007/11/11: Minnesota 2 at Colorado 4
    • 2007/11/18: Colorado 1 at Minnesota 4
    • 2008/01/24: Minnesota 3 at Colorado 2
    • 2008/03/17: Colorado 1 at Minnesota 3
    • 2008/03/30: Colorado 2 at Minnesota 3 (OT)
    • 2008/04/06: Minnesota 3 at Colorado 4 (SO)

    My Prediction: I believe that Minnesota is likely the better team but don’t count Colorado out as they have an abundance of offensive game breakers in Forsberg, Sakic, Smyth, Stastny, etc. to take this series. The two keys to the series will be whether they can solve the Wild’s defensive system and whether Theodore (or Budaj) can provide consistent and good enough goaltending. The key for Minnesota will be generating enough offense. This series really could go either way but I’ll give the edge to Colorado. Colorado in 7.

  3. Calgary at San Jose

    Calgary (road) San Jose (home)
    Predicted Winner San Jose (Some)
    Fair Odds -100 +100
    Overall Record 42-30-10 49-23-10
    Home/Road Record 21-19-1 22-13-6
    Last 10 Games 5-5-0 7-2-1
    Since Trade Deadline 9-8-1 16-2-2
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/22: San Jose 4 at Calgary 1
    • 2008/01/03: Calgary 3 at San Jose 2 (OT)
    • 2008/01/30: San Jose 4 at Calgary 5
    • 2008/02/12: Calgary 4 at San Jose 3 (OT)

    My Prediction: This series features one of the hottest teams in the league against an up and down team that hasn’t proven consistent enough to really get consideration as a true Stanley Cup contender. We all know how great San Jose has been since acquiring Brian Campbell and a large part of Calgary’s inconsistencies can be blamed on Mikka Kiprusoff’s poor play. But we all know what Kiprusoff is capable of so that should worry the Sharks. If Kiprusoff gets hot he and Iginla are capable of taking the Flames a long way. But in the end the Sharks are just playing too good to overcome. San Jose in 6.

  4. Nashville at Detroit

    Nashville (road) Detroit (home)
    Predicted Winner Detroit (Some)
    Fair Odds +103 -103
    Overall Record 41-32-9 54-21-7
    Home/Road Record 18-18-5 29-9-3
    Last 10 Games 6-3-1 7-2-1
    Since Trade Deadline 9-8-1 12-4-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/07: Nashville 2 at Detroit 3 (SO)
    • 2007/11/22: Detroit 2 at Nashville 3
    • 2007/12/10: Detroit 2 at Nashville 1
    • 2008/02/12: Detroit 2 at Nashville 4
    • 2008/03/09: Nashville 3 at Detroit 4
    • 2008/03/15: Nashville 3 at Detroit 1
    • 2008/03/20: Detroit 6 at Nashville 3
    • 2008/03/30: Nashville 0 at Detroit 1 (OT)

    My Prediction: Except for the stretch around Lidstrom’s injury Detroit has been by far the best team in the league over the course of the season but they aren’t without a few question marks that make them a potential upset victom. The key concern is whether Hasek has enough left for another Cup run and/or wether Osgood has it in him. Generally Osgood has been the better goalie this year but he has been considered the backup so who knows how this will play out. The other potential issue is scoring depth. After Datsyuk and Zetterberg they don’t have any big time scorers up front (their third leading scoring forward is Dan Cleary with 42 points). For Nashville they have no pressure on them and that is always a good position to be in. Some consider their season to be a resounding success just making the playoffs. We saw in the Superbowl what can happen when one team has a huge amount of pressure to win and the other team is given next to no chance of winning. I am picking Detroit in 6 but something tells me this series could very likely go the other way.

  5. Boston at Montreal

    Boston (road) Montreal (home)
    Predicted Winner Montreal (Some)
    Fair Odds +126 -135
    Overall Record 41-29-12 47-25-10
    Home/Road Record 20-13-8 22-13-6
    Last 10 Games 4-2-4 8-1-1
    Since Trade Deadline 8-6-6 13-4-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/22: Boston 1 at Montreal 6
    • 2007/11/08: Montreal 2 at Boston 1
    • 2007/11/17: Boston 4 at Montreal 7
    • 2007/12/06: Montreal 4 at Boston 2
    • 2008/01/10: Montreal 5 at Boston 2
    • 2008/01/22: Boston 2 at Montreal 8
    • 2008/03/20: Montreal 4 at Boston 2
    • 2008/03/22: Boston 2 at Montreal 3 (SO)

    My Prediction: There is really no sane reason why anyone would choose Boston to win this series. They have been thoroughly dominated by Montreal for a couple seasons now. Who knows what the reason for this domination is but you can’t dispute the numbers. Boston will be lucky to squeek out one win. Montreal in 5.

  6. Ottawa at Pittsburgh

    Ottawa (road) Pittsburgh (home)
    Predicted Winner Ottawa (Some)
    Fair Odds -114 +112
    Overall Record 43-31-8 47-27-8
    Home/Road Record 21-16-4 26-10-5
    Last 10 Games 3-6-1 6-3-1
    Since Trade Deadline 11-6-1 7-9-2
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/22: Pittsburgh 6 at Ottawa 5 (SO)
    • 2007/12/13: Ottawa 4 at Pittsburgh 1
    • 2008/02/23: Ottawa 4 at Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
    • 2008/03/01: Pittsburgh 4 at Ottawa 5

    My Prediction: Ottawa has been one of the worst teams in the NHL since their 15-2 start. Pittsburgh has been one of the better teams after a poor 8-11-2 start. Pittsburgh is fairly healthy while Ottawa is without Alfredsson, Fisher and Kelly. It seems like a no-brainer that Pittsburgh should easily take this series. But Ottawa has played Pittsburgh very tough this year and Pittsburgh is still a fairly young and inexperienced team. The key for Ottawa to win this series will be to have some success early in the series to boost their confidence and put some question marks in the minds of the Penguin players. To do that they will need to focus on their defensive game, not take bad penalties and get some big time goaltending from Martin Gerber. For a significant part of the year both those things have been problems for the Senators and I don’t think they will overcome some or all of those issues. Pittsburgh in 6.

  7. Philadelphia at Washington

    Philadelphia (road) Washington (home)
    Predicted Winner Washington (Good)
    Fair Odds +138 -161
    Overall Record 42-29-11 43-31-8
    Home/Road Record 21-15-5 23-15-3
    Last 10 Games 7-2-1 9-1-0
    Since Trade Deadline 11-4-4 14-4-0
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/02: Philadelphia 3 at Washington 2
    • 2007/11/23: Washington 4 at Philadelphia 3 (OT)
    • 2008/01/13: Philadelphia 6 at Washington 4
    • 2008/02/06: Washington 4 at Philadelphia 3

    My Prediction: Washington has home series advantage but Philadelphia actually had more points. But interestingly enough, home ice may be a disadvantage as the road team won all four of the games in the season series. The Capitals are kind of in the same situation as Nashville is in that they might just be happy that they have made the playoffs. The Capitals have been one of the best teams in the NHL in 2008 and have been on a ‘make the playoffs’ mission for a long time led predominantly by Alexander Ovechkin. But Ovechkin is highly competitive, loves to play hockey, and I don’t see him quitting now that they have
    made the playoffs. Plus he has a very supportive team behind him who will follow Ovechkin’s lead so I don’t see the Capitals taking it easy just happy they made the playoffs. For Philadelphia they is just one key to their playoff hopes. Will Biron (or Niittymaki) play well enough over the duration of a 7 game series and a playoff run for them to win. Both goalies have had stretches of great play and stretches of mixed play. The Flyers need consistent goaltending for them to win. I am going to stick with the hot team and pick Washington to win in 7.

  8. NY Rangers at New Jersey

    NY Rangers (road) New Jersey (home)
    Predicted Winner New Jersey (Some)
    Fair Odds +120 -125
    Overall Record 42-27-13 46-29-7
    Home/Road Record 17-14-10 25-14-2
    Last 10 Games 5-1-4 4-5-1
    Since Trade Deadline 10-3-5 9-8-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/25: New Jersey 0 at NY Rangers 2
    • 2007/11/03: New Jersey 1 at NY Rangers 2 (SO)
    • 2007/11/14: NY Rangers 4 at New Jersey 2
    • 2007/12/09: New Jersey 0 at NY Rangers 1 (OT)
    • 2008/02/01: NY Rangers 3 at New Jersey 1
    • 2008/03/19: NY Rangers 2 at New Jersey 1 (SO)
    • 2008/03/27: New Jersey 2 at NY Rangers 3
    • 2008/04/06: NY Rangers 2 at New Jersey 3 (SO)

    My Prediction: This will be a defensive struggle if there ever was one. Both teams rely heavily on their goaltenders and this series will be no difference. Martin Brodeur has the experience but Lundqvist is more than capable of matching Brodeur’s performance. The Rangers should have a little more depth offensively so I will predict the Rangers in 6.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. i’ve got anaheim over dallas as well, but i just think people (myself included) are being overly bullish on the ducks. dallas is a great team and they added a conn smythe trophy winner at the deadline. should be a great series.

    excellent stats in your predictions. respect, keep it up

  2. I think this is Montreal’s year. Don’t ask me why. Price could be the difference or the Habs’ biggest liability. Impossible to tell. But this team has consistently been the best team in the East since Jan. 1. So, pencil in Canadiens-Rangers in the East finals. In the West, if Detroit doesn’t get all schizo as in past years, I like them to face Anaheim for the title. Anyone agree a Montreal or N.Y. vs. Detroit Stanley Cup finals series is something the NHL desperately needs?

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