Time for gutsy playoff predictions
The Boston Bruins enter the NHL playoffs with the best odds at capturing the Stanley Cup. (REUTERS)
One of these 16 playoff teams will raise the Stanley Cup. Below are my first round predictions along with the current Las Vegas odds for each team to win it all.
Philadelphia (20/1) vs. New York (20-1)
It's the Flyers’ potent offence vs. the Rangers’ stingy defence. This match up has the potential to go the distance. If that's the case, I'll take King Henrik in game 7 at home over Steve Mason every time.
Detroit (20/1) vs. Boston (3.5/1)
I believe this version of the Boston Bruins is a better team than the one that broke Canucks fans hearts in 2011. They are built for war. The Red Wings are not — they are built with speed and niftiness. That's just not enough to even win once.
Columbus (50/1) vs. Pittsburgh (7-1)
This is not your father’s Blue Jackets, these are a bunch of committed players who can outwork their opponent. Unfortunately a healthy Penguins roster begs the question, can they outscore them too? Not this year.
Canadiens (20/1) vs. Lightning (25/1)
If defence wins championships then having a better/healthier goaltender should be the difference in this first-round match up. Whether Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop plays or not, I'm still liking Carey Price and the Habs.
Minnesota (40/1) vs. Colorado (14/1)
Patrick Roy's Avalanche enter the first round as the hottest team in the league, losing just once in their final 10 games. Despite a solid year the Minnesota Wild are in over their heads against a team I believe has a real shot at getting to the Conference Finals.
Los Angeles (10/1) vs. San Jose (9/1)
It's the battle of the last two teams to dispatch the Canucks from the first round. The Sharks at home are a nasty piece of business, but all it takes is one Kings road win to steal home ice and Jonathan Quick is the only goaltender in this series capable of doing just that.
Chicago (8/1) vs. St Louis (6/1)
The St. Louis Blues are the coldest team entering the post-season losing six straight. That's definitely not the recipe for taking out the defending champs. The Blackhawks are getting healthy at the right time and have a playoff overdrive no other team possesses.
Dallas (50/1) vs. Anaheim (9/1)
The Dallas Stars have one of the league’s most exciting tandems in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. After that there's quite a drop off in depth. That's certainly not the case for the Ducks, who are loaded and ready to make a deep run.