We’ll take a look at the upcoming NBA playoff picture tomorrow, but for now, with the regular season at a close, the playoff seeds are set and what could be one hell of a postseason in the NHL is upon us. There is so much talent and so many sleepers that it’ll be tough to predict how it’s all going to shake out. But I’ll try anyway.
I’ll avoid the pitfall of previewing my hometown Blackhawks matchup and instead start with their arch-rival, the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit is a road warrior this series against the surprising Phoenix Coyotes. As strong as Detroit has been the last 20 games or so this season (remember when they weren’t even in the playoff pictures?), Phoenix is not to be taken lightly. The Coyotes are fighters, big time, and they’re capapble of playing intense, physical hockey. However, I believe they are not a team you will see overachieve, meaning they eventually will fall to a team with better talent. And Detroit, now healthier, is a stronger team, and should win the series, but I full expect it to go at least six games. Detoit clinching it in the Motor City would be fitting, and I can’t wait to see them advance to meet the main course of the San Jose Sharks in the second round.
That is, of course, if San Jose can get past their playoff demons and live up to their seeding this year. Facing Colordo, a team that was scraping the cellar last year only to look like the king of the league through 20 games. And the stage is set for San Jose here, it’s their series to lose. The Avs have lost 3 straight the end the season, showing their true talent level of late. They’re also working off a couple of key injuries. Predictions here? Nabakov stays stron in net, the Sharks kill them on the power play and we’re looking at a 5 game series at max. Full disclosure, though, I’m rooting for the Sharks so the Wings will have a formidable opponent if the Hawks happen to make it through to the Western Finals. Although Nashville and perhaps Vancouver (with which the Hawks have some bad blood) is not necessarily the easier path.