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Mike Maniscalco

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

Posted April 17, 2014

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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  • JPack Apr 17, 2014

    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.

  • Jeanne Gunn Apr 17, 2014

    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.

  • Whistling Dixie Apr 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

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

  • JPack Apr 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    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.

  • tllight Apr 18, 2014

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

  • Whistling Dixie Apr 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
TEX 3
CLE 12
Final
COL 6
CIN 4
Final
MIA 2
PIT 5
Final
CWS 5
TOR 3
Final
KAN 2
NYY 4
Final
BOS 4
MIN 6
Final
PHI 0
NYM 7
Final
SEA 3
TAM 0
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
Final
DET 3
OAK 2
Final
HOU 4
BAL 5
Final
WAS 3
CHC 0
Final
ARI 3
STL 4
Final
SDP 5
ANA 4
Final
ATL 3
LOS 2
1:05pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Tonight
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Tonight
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
7:05pm Monday
TOR
WAS
 
7:10pm Monday
CHC
MIA
 
7:10pm Monday
MIN
BOS
 
8:10pm Monday
BAL
HOU
 
8:10pm Monday
MIL
STL
 
8:40pm Monday
LOS
COL
 
9:40pm Monday
ATL
ARI
 
10:05pm Monday
TAM
ANA
 
10:10pm Monday
NYM
SDP
 
10:10pm Monday
NYY
SEA
 
10:15pm Monday
PIT
SFG
 
Final
HOU 90
GSW 104
Final
ANA 2
CHI 5
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR