The 2012 NHL Playoffs start tonight, and as is our custom here at Defending Big D, just because we don't have a dog in the hunt doesn't mean we're not going to throw our (very analytic and completely serious) two cents in...
Please share your thoughts in the comments as we prepare to watch the greatest playoff tournament on the planet.
Brandon Worley: Part of me wants to see the New York Rangers fall flat on their faces while the other part of me knows that the Senators just aren't good enough to beat them. Rangers in 6.
Josh Lile: lol Rangers in four
Erin Bolen: The Rangers are a little overrated to me, but I don't think that will show up in this round. Ottawa simply doesn't have the firepower to hang with them for more than a few games. - Rangers in 5
Taylor Baird: Henrik Lundquist is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, which means he's doomed according to the SI curse. The Rangers' powerplay leaves something to be desired, and they don't have much scoring depth in general. Ottawa on the other hand could most likely just simply outscore the Rangers to beat them, and have done so several times in their four game series with the Rangers this season. No one expected Ottawa to even make the playoffs, and the Rangers were everyone's early favorites to win the Cup. Rangers in 6.
Brad Gardner: The Rangers were made for absolute war, and this won't be anywhere close to that. Have to go with Josh on this one.
The rest after the jump...
(2) Boston Bruins vs (7) Washington Capitals
Brandon Worley: The Washington Capitals are the worst-coached team in the NHL postseason. Is it wrong of me to look forward to see what sort of train wreck this will be for the Capitals? Bruins in 5.
Josh Lile: If Dale Hunter weren't in charge (and every veteran didn't hate him)I'd take Washington, but he is. Boston in six.
Erin Bolen: The Bruins aren't the machine they were last year, but Washington kept finding unique and interesting ways to give games away against teams without near the talent. I hope it's not a sweep because I'd love to see Ovechkin for more than four games. - Boston in 4
Taylor Baird: Tim Thomas has looked warn out down the stretch, not playing at the same caliber as last season. The Caps managed to sneak into the playoffs, and I don't think the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin can be underrated. However, the Caps are in an injury situation with their starting goaltenders - as in, both are injured at the moment. Braden Holtby will most likely be the starter for the Caps, with an AHL goalie as the backup. I think that's going to be the downfall of the Caps against the potent Bruins. Bruins in 5.
Brad Gardner: Caps took three of four, including both on the road in regular season. Tim Thomas hasn't been himself. This one could be more interesting than people think. Still... Bruins in six.
("3") Florida Panthers vs (6) New Jersey Devils
Brandon Worley: The Florida Panthers, I'm sorry to say, were not as good as their division title would suggest. This is a big season for them and it's good to see a struggling franchise get to the postseason. Devils in 5.
Josh Lile: When in doubt go with the better players. Devils in six.
Erin Bolen: I'd love to see Florida win, but I just don't think they have the horses to do it. I'd love for them to surprise me, and it's great to see them in the post-season.- New Jersey in 5
Taylor Baird: Florida makes the playoffs for the first time in what feels like forever, on a rag-tag roster put together through contracts people wanted to get rid of and free agents. I question how long Martin Brodeur can keep going, and I don't feel too confident in the Panthers' goaltending either. New Jersey is riding a six game win streak going into the playoffs. Devils in 6.
Brad Gardner: I've watched the Panthers exactly once this year. They trounced Dallas 6-0 at the AAC. So they must be pretty awesome, right? Devils in 6. If NBC Sports Network could just steer clear of this one that'd be great.
Brandon Worley: This is going to be the most fun series in the entire first round. The hope is that both teams absolutely destroy each other in a knock-down, bloody first fight of a series. I'm predicting seven games just because that's how long I want this series to last. Penguins in 7.
Josh Lile: One of the two best series of the opening round (LAK/VAN the other). Pittsburgh in six.
Erin Bolen: I figure we'll hear more about this series than the other four in the east combined. The bloodier the series, the bigger the advantage that the Flyers have. But I can't see the referees letting the series get too out of hand with so many of the league's precious superstars involved, so I think the Penguins pull through on the strength of their power play. - Pittsburgh in 6
Taylor Baird: Which wins out - the physicality of the Flyers or skill of the Penguins' now-healthy offensive weapons? When Pittsburgh is clicking, they play on a whole other level from most teams, so I say the skill wins this one, but it'll be a dog fight to the end. Penguins in 7.
Brad Gardner: Which Bryz shows up for this series? He should have something to prove this time around. I hope he does, because the thought of the Pens out in round one amuses me greatly. Still, I'll lean toward the more talented team: Pittsburgh in 6.