Caps Fans Brace For Another Epic Playoff Collapse

NHL playoffs start tonite, so I thought I’d go ahead and give some predictions. as a Caps fan, I am cautiously optimistic, but after last year’s EPIC FAIL, I’m keeping my expectations low. my all-time favourite sports memory, has to be Game 5 of the Caps-Rangers first round series in 2009. I was sitting right behind the Rangers bench, when John Tortorella got into it with a fan. Torts sprayed him with a water bottle, the fan responded by throwing his beer, then Torts tried to come after him with a hockey stick. the fan was ejected, but later returned. I think I set a new personal best for most expletives uttered in a five-minute span. good times!

sure enough, the Caps-Rangers renew acquaintances in the first round, this year. the Caps have home ice in the Eastern Conference, and the Rangers got in on the last day of the season. Ryan Callahan being out of the line-up hurts the Rangers chances, but as we’ve seen time and time again, all you really need is a hot goaltender. Henrik Lundqvist is capable of carrying a team. the Caps eschewed the run-and-gun style of play, for a more defense-oriented scheme. Caps in 6

the Buffalo Sabres have been one of the hottest teams in the league, since new owner, Terry Pegula, took over. his commitment to building a winning team, is great to see with a small-market team, that has such a loyal fanbase. Chris Pronger may or may not be in the Flyers lineup. Sergei Bobrovsky has struggled down the stretch, and could be on a very short leash. Sabres in 6

Bruins-Canadiens is the best rivalry in the league. and so it is for the third time in four years, these two storied original six franchises renew acquaintances. they’ve had some spectacular games in this regular season. neither team is gonna take their foot off the gas pedal. excellent match-up in goal between Tim Thomas and Carey Price. Bruins in 7

no Malkin, no Crosby, no problem. Marc-Andre Fleury backstopped the Pens, with 36 wins and a 2.32 GAA. he will earn his paycheck against guys like Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier. Pens in 7

this is the first year, where the Presidents Trophy winner meets the defending Stanley Cup champs, in the first round. the only thing that can stop Vancouver from winning it all, is themselves. injuries hit the Canucks hard, but the Sedin twins and Roberto Luongo helped carry them to the league’s best record. the Blackhawks have put the Canucks out of the playoffs, in each of the last two seasons. this ain’t the same Blackhawks team that won the Stanley Cup, a year ago. they still have Toews and Kane, but not enough to advance. Canucks in 5

the Kings can look back on that epic 10-game road trip they had in February (6-1-3) as the turning point of their season. Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar accounted for nearly 25% of the team’s scoring, but both are out of the lineup. the Sharks are the ultimate underachievers in the NHL, but they should be able to get past a depleted Kings squad. Sharks in 6

Detroit is the model of consistency. perhaps, the only team that can derail Vancouver’s Stanley Cup parade. even without the services of Henrik Zetterberg, they are a formidable side. a rematch from last year’s first round, where Phoenix was up 3-2, in the series, and couldn’t put Detroit away. Red Wings in 5

50-goal scorer, Corey Perry, meets Vezina and Hart Trophy candidate, Pekka Rinne. expect a lot of 3-2, and 2-1 scores in this series. maybe one or two triple-overtime games thrown in for good measure. Ducks in 7

STANLEY CUP PREDICTION:
RED WINGS OVER BRUINS IN 6

Red Wings
WINGS IN 2011

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