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Mike Maniscalco

Good match-ups, upset potential in first round of NHL playoffs

Posted April 17

The lockers have been cleaned out, the players and head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes have addressed the media and the song remains the same, the PNC arena will be without playoff hockey again.

That doesn’t mean that the Triangle has to give up on the NHL post-season. There are plenty of good match-ups in the first round to hold your attention. The first round has upset potential with the new format, where the second and third place finishers in the division square-off against each other.

In the East

Boston looks to be the beast of the conference. This team went to the Finals last year and was a few seconds away from forcing a game seven. The first round match-up for the Bruins this year would have been a solid Stanley Cup Finals from years past. The Detroit Red Wings fresh from a move from west to east try to take out the defending Eastern Conference champs. The Wings suffered injury upon injury this year, and still found a way to make the playoffs. I have to show the Red Wings some respect, but they are too beat up to knock out the Bruins. Boston in 6.

Pittsburgh and Columbus already have a game in the books and two former Carolina Hurricanes came up big. Jussi Jokinen and Brandon Sutter netted huge goals as the Penguins erased a two goal deficit to take game one. Columbus also new to the Eastern Conference showed they have the makings of a playoff contender, but Pittsburgh has too much offense in this match-up. Pens eliminate the Blue Jackets in 5.

The Metro division playoff has longtime rivals Philadelphia and the New York Rangers dancing. Philly has Claude Giroux and toughness that can pose problems for most teams. The New York Rangers have the best goalie in the game in Henrik Lunqvist and they added Martin St Louis at the trade deadline for scoring punch. The goaltending edge is too big to ignore in this one and the Rangers have it. New York in 7.

Montreal and Tampa Bay both have the ability to score a lot of goals. Game one going to overtime showed that. Montreal taking game one in Tampa with a 5-4 overtime victory was a huge step moving forward through the round. Tampa has played great under first year coach John Cooper, playing an unorthodox style of hockey, but not having goalie Ben Bishop, who will miss the series with an elbow injury, will be huge loss for the Lightning. The Habs have the better blue line and now definitely have the better goalie in Carey Price. Montreal in 6.

Out West almost every series could go the distance

Anaheim has been invincible at home this year and the Ducks will have home ice all the way through the western playoffs. Dallas squeaked into the post season but they are no fluke team. The Stars have plenty of offense from Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and Hurricanes fans might remember that Ray Whitney and Erik Cole are capable of producing playoff magic. Anaheim is built for the post season, and while head coach Bruce Boudreau hasn’t had playoff success behind the bench, this team isn’t the flawed Washington teams he guided into the post season. Oh and with Teemu Selanne playing in his last post-season, the Ducks aren’t bowing out early. The Ducks took game one but not without the Stars putting up a fight. That should be the story of this series, Stars will fight but the Ducks are just better. Anaheim in 5.

Colorado and Minnesota could be played on a speed skating track. Both teams have the ability to skate circles around opponents but not around each other. Patrick Roy in his first year behind the bench has turned the Avalanche franchise back into the Av’s that were winning Stanley Cups. Minnesota has spent boatloads of cash to be a playoff team. This Minnesota group has enough to win the round but Colorado just wins. Not bad for a team that had the second worst record in hockey last year. Colorado in 7.

The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks are pitted against a team that many people think could win the title this year in the St Louis Blues. St Louis traded for goalie Ryan Miller to solidify the one thing that people thought was the weak part of the team. St Louis has size and skill but the Blackhawks have a different edge. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are coming back from injury and you have to kill the king to wear the crown. Chicago has skill and a defense that moves the puck quickly away from trouble. Add into the mix that the Hawks are tough, will not be pushed around, and know how to win in these kind of series. This series defines what playoff hockey is all about. It will go seven and we will want it to go more. Chicago in 7.

California has three teams in the playoffs and while Anaheim might be the best team record wise in the state, no one should be surprised if Los Angeles or San Jose hoists the Cup. This series will be physical, nasty and tough to score goals for, lack of a better term, a war of attrition. The Kings are not that far removed from a title, the Sharks have been next year’s team for the last five seasons. Trying to dent the Kings stingy defense is next to impossible when Los Angeles netminder Johnathan Quick is on and this club has no problem trying to win 2-1. San Jose is balanced, big, and this just might be next year for Joe Thornton and company. It will not be easy but this will at least be the Sharks round. San Jose in 7.

The first round this year will have something for everyone. And this time next year for hockey fans in the Triangle, hopefully it will feature the Hurricanes.

6 Comments

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  • Whistling Dixie Apr 18, 11:40 a.m.

    Thank you WRAL. I thought that because the hurricanes were out, you're nhl coverage would be... View More

    — Posted by jdpridg

    Why? This is garbage. We ain't in Canada. Or are we?

    — Posted by Whistling Dixie

    No but your welcome to go. If you don't like it then don't read it. You don't see me posting... View More

    — Posted by jdpridg

    You would enjoy it more up there. Ya know, where you came from.

  • tllight Apr 18, 10:42 a.m.

    Who cares, the Cannes are out again, as usual.

  • jdpridg Apr 18, 9:25 a.m.

    Thank you WRAL. I thought that because the hurricanes were out, you're nhl coverage would be... View More

    — Posted by jdpridg

    Why? This is garbage. We ain't in Canada. Or are we?

    — Posted by Whistling Dixie

    No but your welcome to go. If you don't like it then don't read it. You don't see me posting on baseball and nascar topics do you? Enjoy your southern sports. I'll enjoy my hockey despite your intolerance of others.

  • Whistling Dixie Apr 18, 12:00 a.m.

    Thank you WRAL. I thought that because the hurricanes were out, you're nhl coverage would be... View More

    — Posted by jdpridg

    Why? This is garbage. We ain't in Canada. Or are we?

  • GunnyGoesBaaaarf Apr 17, 10:26 p.m.

    Nice to see Jokinen and Sutter scoring in the post season, and also Whitney and one of my all time favorites Eric Cole still skating. 2006 seems so long ago (because it IS so long ago.

  • jdpridg Apr 17, 6:20 p.m.

    Thank you WRAL. I thought that because the hurricanes were out, you're nhl coverage would be slack. This is great. Hopefully you will keep up with the playoff coverage. Thanks from a fans standpoint.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
Final
MIA 103
WAS 105
Final
MEM 97
CHI 103
Final
SAN 119
POR 129
Final
DEN 109
LAC 106
Final
LAL 103
OKC 104
1:00pm Today
NYK
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
 
11:00am Today
LALAF
NEV
2:20pm Today
UTEP
UTST
3:30pm Today
COLST
UTAH
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
Final
MTST 68
CHAT 58
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
Final
MINN 92
SEAT 57
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
Final
MARQ 83
ALAAM 49
 
Final
TTU 72
ARKPB 51
 
Final
DEN 84
COLST 85
Final
CREI 75
TXPA 60
 
Final
CAL 78
EWASH 67
Final
UTST 69
IDST 56
 
Final
UTEP 55
ARZ 60
2nd
CHAM 63
HAW 94
 
12:00pm Today
GEOR
CHAR
 
12:00pm Today
WKENT
LOU
 
12:00pm Today
MICH
SMU
 
12:00pm Today
CIN
VCU
 
1:00pm Today
BSU
ABCHRIST
 
1:00pm Today
PROV
UMASS
 
1:00pm Today
AMER
MNTER
 
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
SALA
 
1:00pm Today
VILL
SYR
 
1:00pm Today
VT
CITA
 
1:00pm Today
DUQ
MLOWELL
 
1:30pm Today
FAIR
BEL
 
2:00pm Today
YALE
GTDNS
 
2:00pm Today
FD
DEL
 
2:00pm Today
PSU
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
UNCG
ELON
 
2:00pm Today
ILL
MIZZ
 
2:00pm Today
CAMP
MONT
 
2:00pm Today
LONG
PSUBEAVER
 
2:00pm Today
HOU
SCST
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
SFLA
 
2:00pm Today
BING
BONA
 
2:00pm Today
RUTG
RFLSH
 
2:00pm Today
MCNST
TOL
 
2:00pm Today
JVU
TRUETT
 
2:00pm Today
GT
VANDY
 
2:05pm Today
INDST
EILL
 
2:30pm Today
BUT
IND
 
3:00pm Today
STEPH
ARTCH
 
3:00pm Today
OREG
DELST
 
3:00pm Today
Terriers
FATL
 
3:00pm Today
TXARL
HPYN
 
3:00pm Today
KU
LAF
 
3:00pm Today
ARKST
MARS
 
3:00pm Today
MEM
ORU
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
UMBC
 
3:00pm Today
NW
WMICH
 
3:05pm Today
MIZST
EMICH
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
STJOE
 
3:30pm Today
KENT
UCLA
 
4:00pm Today
COC
DAVID
 
4:00pm Today
RIU
DET
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
HOUB
 
4:00pm Today
MURST
ILLST
 
4:00pm Today
NWST
LALAF
 
4:00pm Today
WAGN
MON
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
PITT
OU
 
4:00pm Today
TENNM
PBY
 
4:00pm Today
WYO
SOUTH
 
4:00pm Today
AFA
UCD
 
4:00pm Today
MSST
USCU
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
 
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
 
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
 
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
 
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
 
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
Final
OTT 6
ANA 2
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
Final
WIN 2
BOS 1
Final
CAL 1
DAL 2
4:00pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
 
4:30pm Today
WAS
PHI
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC