Stanley Cup Playoff Reverse Barometer Picks
The Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight – the best post-season tournament in pro sports. The games are fantastic – from the first round to the Cup Finals. Who will win? And how many overtimes will there be? The Reverse Barometer take a shot.
A match-up that used to only happen in the Stanley Cup Finals is made possible again with the Wings going East. The Bruins are the better team and have been to the Finals twice in the last four seasons. Detroit won’t be able to handle Boston’s top three lines over a seven-game series.
The Barometer pick: Bruins in six (one decided in OT)
Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
The Blue Jackets are finally worth a damn and they might have had a chance for the upset here if they were healthy. Even so, they could make the Penguins sweat a little bit. Evgeni Malkin is expected to return to the Pens’ lineup, but the key to this series is Sergei Bobrovsky. If he can play to his potential in net for Columbus, they could make things interesting.
The Barometer pick: Penguins in seven (two in OT)
Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
This might have been the match-up of the first round in the East, except Tampa goalie Ben Bishop is out. That spells curtains for the Lightning. Unless their young guns can outscore the Canadians. It’s possible but not over a seven-game series. Look for Thomas Vanek to have a big series.
The Barometer pick: Canadiens in five (none in OT)
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia
The Flyers have depth and can score. The Rangers are a puck-possession team with an elite goalie. Both teams feature veteran players whose best years are behind them, including the big three forwards from Tampa Bay’s 2004 Cup win. Steve Mason had a great season in net for the Flyers, but Henrik Lundqvist is battle tested.
The Barometer pick: Rangers in seven (two in OT)
Colorado vs. Minnesota
The Avalanche rode goaltender Semyon Varlamov all year and it should have to depend on him again in the first round vs. the Wild. Minnesota is deep and has the offense to stay in any game. Colorado is missing Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie and that might be a problem.
The Barometer pick: Avalanche in seven (three in OT)
San Jose vs. LA Kings
This might be the closest series of the first round. The chances this one goes seven games – high. Both teams are healthy and the goaltenders will have a big say in who advances. Jonathan Quick will be the difference.
The Barometer pick: Kings in seven (a whopping four games decided in OT)
Call me crazy, but I’m going with the Blues here despite everyone else who seem to be picking Chicago. Yes, the Blues are banged up a bit. Yes, they’ve lost six in a row. But I’ve liked St. Louis all year and I’m sticking with them. Will the defending champs have the edge? Yes, but there has to be an “upset” somewhere.
The Barometer pick: Blues in seven (two in OT)
Dallas vs. Anaheim
The No. 1 seed and the No. 8 seed in the West are a lot closer on paper than one might realize. Both teams have elite talent on their top lines. But Dallas is a puck-possession team and have veteran depth along the forward lines. The Ducks score well 5-on-5, which is huge in the post-season. Whichever team can convert on the power play will win.
The Barometer pick: Ducks in six (one in OT)
Down the line
West Champ: St. Louis Blues
East Champ: Boston Bruins
Stanley Cup Champions: Boston Bruins