The NHL playoffs are all set and ready with mouth-watering match up’s for hockey fans to enjoy. Here is a look at the first round match-ups
(1) Boston Bruins vs (8) Montreal Canadiens
A rematch from last year with the teams in opposite seeds the Habs enter this series, losers of four of their last five and have been lucky to survive the titanic that was their season. Sub par goal tending and a long list of players on the injured list were keys to their demise. What’s worse is that the season series was all Bruins who went 5-1 winning the last 5 games outscoring the Habs 20-9. This series does not look good for Les Canadiens who will be lucky to win one game. Let’s hope for the sake of the city of Montreal that it’s in Boston so the series sees no riots this time. Boston in 5.
(2) Washington Capitals vs (7) New York Rangers
The second best power play meets the best penalty kill as the Capitals led by the Art Ross Trophy holder Alexander Ovechkin take on a recently confident Rangers team. The season series doesn’t favor the Rangers who went 1-3 versus the Caps. However they are coming off back to back wins over the rival Philadelphia Flyers led by goal keeper Henrik Lundqvist. The Swede could be the difference in the series as Jose Theodore doesn’t have a winning record in the NHL’s second season. However he does have a Vezina and Hart trophy to his credit which can not be said for Lundqvist. The Capitals have too much offense for the Rangers and enough depth for the long haul. Capitals in 6.
(3) New Jersey Devils vs (6) Carolina Hurricanes
Most of the hockey world did not expect the Devils to compete without Martin Brodeur sidelined for 3 months. Now the Devils head into the playoffs after capturing their 8th division title in 12 years. They face a red hot Carolina team who had won 9 straight before two straight losses to round out the season. The latest coming to the Devils 3-2 at New Jersey. Carolina won the series however 3-1.
This will be the fourth postseason series between the teams. Carolina defeated the Devils in five games in their most-recent meeting in the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The team that won each of the three previous series between the teams went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Devils in 6.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (5) Philadelphia Flyers
The battle of Pennsylvania continues into the playoffs. A rematch of last years conference finals this could be one of the better match ups in the first round. Evgeni Malkin can be the difference maker against a rather untested keeper in Martin Biron. However the Flyers have plenty of fire in Jeff Carter who finished second in the league in goals. The Penguins won the series 4-2 but this one could go either way. Pittsburgh in 7.