banner
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

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Newest First
View all
  • 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.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • tllight Apr 18, 10:42 a.m.

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

  • 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.

TV
  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Today at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 78
UCLA 56
12:00pm Today
NCCU
EILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
 
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
1:00pm Today
BOS
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
 
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
 
Final
TEXAM 17
LSU 23
Final
TEX 10
TCU 48
11:00am Today
WMICH
NILL
12:00pm Today
SMU
HOU
12:00pm Today
IOWA
NEB
12:00pm Today
SFLA
UCF
12:00pm Today
MARS
WKENT
1:00pm Today
KSU
AKR
1:00pm Today
BGU
BST
1:00pm Today
UMASS
BUF
1:00pm Today
EMICH
TOL
2:30pm Today
MIZZ
ARK
3:00pm Today
SALABAMA
NAVY
3:30pm Today
ARZ
ARST
3:30pm Today
AFA
COLST
3:30pm Today
UCLA
STAN
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
TENN 64
SCU 57
Final
RMU 71
LAMON 54
Final
BUT 46
OKLA 59
Final
BRO 58
PEAY 79
Final
UTEP 62
PRIN 56
Final
CHAT 78
CCAR 67
Final
RIU 60
KU 76
Final
USCU 68
FIU 53
Final
GEOR 65
WISC 68
Final
USB 73
LIU 54
Final
XAV 82
SDU 71
Final
INDST 62
ILL 88
Final
WRST 62
CSFU 67
Final
STJOE 59
WKENT 62
Final
RIDE 45
MSU 77
Final
UNC 78
UCLA 56
Final
WMICH 55
LBSU 73
Final
GT 70
MARQ 72
Final
PVU 61
STEPH 73
Final
MERC 77
RICE 71
Final
UF 56
UAB 47
Final
WASH 78
SJST 56
Final
MEM 47
BAY 71
 
2nd
UCSB 63
WASU 40
 
12:00pm Today
NCCU
EILL
 
12:00pm Today
KU
TENN
 
1:00pm Today
TEXAM
NO
 
1:30pm Today
NCAT
RAD
 
2:00pm Today
GEOR
BUT
 
2:30pm Today
BRO
PVU
 
2:30pm Today
RIU
SCU
 
2:30pm Today
NARZ
SOUTH
 
3:00pm Today
DART
MAST
 
3:30pm Today
WRST
FIU
 
3:30pm Today
XAV
UTEP
 
4:00pm Today
OSU
JMU
 
4:00pm Today
TXSOU
LAM
 
4:00pm Today
TAMCC
MVSU
 
4:00pm Today
AKAN
MIZST
 
4:00pm Today
BUCK
PSU
 
4:00pm Today
PROV
YALE
 
4:30pm Today
UGA
MINN
 
4:30pm Today
WISC
OKLA
 
5:00pm Tonight
Terriers
NORST
 
5:00pm Tonight
PEAY
STEPH
 
6:00pm Tonight
FSU
CSOU
 
6:00pm Tonight
VALPO
DRAK
 
6:00pm Tonight
CIN
MTST
 
6:00pm Tonight
SDU
PRIN
 
6:00pm Tonight
CSFU
USCU
 
6:15pm Tonight
TBA
TBA
 
6:30pm Tonight
GT
RIDE
 
7:00pm Tonight
TXPA
ALAST
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
TCU
BRAD
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
HART
EMERSON
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GONZ
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
MON
 
7:00pm Tonight
JVST
SAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
SALA
 
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
VANDY
 
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
 
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
 
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
 
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
 
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
 
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
 
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
 
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
 
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
 
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
 
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
 
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
 
11:59pm Tonight
TBA
TBA
 
Final
NAS 1
EDM 0
1:00pm Today
PHI
NYR
 
4:00pm Today
ANA
CHI
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
NYI
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
MON
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
VAN
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
WIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN
 
Final
DET 34
CHI 17
Final
DAL 10
PHI 33
Final
SFX 3
SEA 19