2010 NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference first round predictions

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This is what everyone loves to do as we gear up for the first of four
rounds of playoff hockey: throw a dart at the wall and hope we can come
close to predicting the outcomes of each series.

So we are, Pro Hockey Talk’s predictions for 2010 NHL Conference
Quarterfinals:

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) Montreal
Canadiens (
full
preview here
)

Season series (Tied 2-2)
Nov. 20:
Montreal 3 @ Washington 2
Nov. 28: Washington 4 @ Montreal 3
(SO)
Jan. 5: Montreal 2 @ Washington 4
Feb. 10:
Washington 5 @ Montreal 6 (OT)

Brandon: You have to feel bad for the
Canadiens, who have a decent shot of scaring the Capitals. But
Washington is too hungry and too talented. Washington in 5.

James: I have to admit that I’m surprised so many
people are picking the Habs. Is this just for attention? Did someone not
get hugged enough growing up? Washington in 5.

Joe: This will be Washington’s test, at team that has great goaltending, a semi-adherence to defensive hockey and some scoring touch. Caps will still win but it’ll be annoying for them. Washington in 6.

(2) New Jersey Devils vs. (7) Philadelphia
Flyers (
full
preview here
)

Season series (Philadelphia won 5-1)
Oct.
3:
Philadelphia 5 @ New Jersey 2
Nov. 16: New Jersey 2 @
Philadelphia 3
Dec. 12: Philadelphia 1 @ New Jersey 4
Feb.
8:
New Jersey 2 @ Philadelphia 3
Feb. 10: Philadelphia 3
@ New Jersey 2 (OT)
March 28: New Jersey 1 @ Philadelphia 5

Brandon: If the Flyers had any sort of
reliable goaltending, I’d be seriously tempted to go with the fellas
from Broad St. Yet Boucher has been too inconsistent; is Michael
Leighton better? New Jersey in 6.

James: The Devils haven’t been a great
playoff team since the lockout, but thankfully the Flyers are an
absolute mess. That being said, don’t discount the Flyers’ overall
talent in this one. New Jersey in 6.

Joe: I don’t trust Brian Boucher in the playoffs, but I do think he can steal a couple of games. New Jersey in 6.

More after the jump.

(3) Buffalo Sabres vs (6) Boston Bruins (full
preview here
)

Season series (Boston won 4-2)
Nov. 7:
Buffalo 2 @ Boston 4
Nov. 20: Boston 2 @ Buffalo 1
Jan.
29:
Boston 1 @ Buffalo 2
Feb. 9: Boston 3 @ Buffalo 2
March
29:
Buffalo 3 @ Boston 2
April 8: Buffalo 1 @ Boston 3

Brandon: Of all the teams for the Sabres
to get, it had to be Boston. The Bruins match up perfectly with Buffalo,
in what will be an extremely low scoring series. Buffalo in 7.

James: Nothing makes more sense to me than
the Bruins ending their season at home; they barely went over .500 in
Beantown (18-17-6). People assume that the Sabres lack firepower because
they don’t have a big name star, but they have too much offensive depth
for Boston. Buffalo in 6.

Joe: This
will be a slow, bleeding death for the Sabres against a dreadfully
boring team that can get by with one or two goals a game. Unless
Olympics Ryan Miller shows up, the Sabres are going to struggle. Boston
in 7.

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Ottawa Senators (full
preview here
)

Season series (Tied 2-2)
Oct. 12:
Pittsburgh 4 @ Ottawa 1
Nov. 19: Pittsburgh 2 @ Ottawa 6
Dec.
23:
Ottawa 2 @ Pittsburgh 8
Jan. 28: Ottawa 4 @
Pittsburgh 1

Brandon: Upset special! The Penguins were
too inconsistent at the end of the season, while the Senators finally
pulled it together in front of Brian Elliott. The Senators get first
round revenge for 2008, against a tired and pressured Penguins team. Ottawa
in 7.

James: If I were to pick an upset in the
East, it would be this. The Senators are frisky and the Penguins are
tired. That being said, Evgeni Malkin hasn’t been right all year
(dropping
from 113 points to 77 points), so if he gets things together the
Penguins are dangerous. Again. Pittsburgh in 6.


Joe: Everyone
that wants to pick a sweep never does and says it’ll end in five games.
Screw that noise. Pens in four over a brutally over matched Sens team. Pittsburgh
in 4.

Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again

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If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”

There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.

Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.

One team climbing, the other stumbling

With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.

During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.

Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.

Canadiens are facing some turbulence (and mostly passing the test)

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 6: Patrik Berglund #21 of the St. Louis Blues checks Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens at the Scottrade Center on December 6, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)
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The Montreal Canadiens aren’t in crisis mode, but as far as this so-far outstanding 2016-17 season goes, they are finally facing some adversity.

Alex Galchenyuk, one of their most promising young players, is out indefinitely. There are murmurs that captain Max Pacioretty isn’t getting along with head coach Michel Therrien.* Tuesday presented a body blow or two to boot.

For one thing, the Canadiens gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Jaden Schwartz grabbed an assist and scored the game’s last two goals, including the OT-winner:

Losing to a contender like the Blues, especially while still grabbing a “charity point,” isn’t that big of a deal. A possible David Desharnais injury makes things a little dicey, however:

Really, though, it’s not all that bad for Montreal. They managed a 2-2-1 mark during a five-game road trip heavy on quality opponents.

Also: six of their next seven games come at home, where they’re 12-1-1. So things will look brighter soon enough.

Still, with some injuries and a big road trip to end 2016 and start 2017, there may be some moments where Montreal looks vulnerable.

Ultimately, fighting through stretches like these could very well benefit the Habs later on.

* – Ah, the old standby: “Player X isn’t seeing eye-to-eye with Therrien.”

From the Blues’ side:

Ristolainen, Kane, O’Reilly push Sabres past McDavid and the Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Rasmus Ristolainen #55, Matt Moulson #26, Sam Reinhart #23, Kyle Okposo #21 and Ryan OÕReilly #90 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.

In particular, high-scoring defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, power forward Evander Kane and two-way center Ryan O'Reilly made the difference in Buffalo’s 4-3 overtime win.

Ristolainen’s first goal of 2016-17 was a big one, as it clinched the contest in OT:

Evander Kane scored two goals of his own, including one in the dying seconds of regulation to allow Buffalo to get a standings point (and then a second) in the first place.

Kane finished with two goals, O’Reilly generated two assists and Ristolainen managed a one-goal, two-assist performance.

It would be wrong to say that the marquee names didn’t show up at all. McDavid generated two assists and Eichel also nabbed a helper.

You’d be correct in saying that other young players stole the show, though, and the Sabres were the biggest beneficiaries.

Video: Brent Seabrook shaken up after awkward fall

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It wasn’t nearly as scary as the falls suffered by Travis Zajac or Philip Larsen, but the Chicago Blackhawks are still holding their breath when it comes to defenseman Brent Seabrook.

As you can see from the video above, Seabrook was tripped up by Jordan Martinook of the Arizona Coyotes during a simple puck battle. Seabrook was shaken up after falling awkwardly on that play.

At the moment, it’s unclear if this will be an ongoing issue or if the Blackhawks avoided a costly injury.

Martinook was not penalized.

CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers notes that Seabrook wasn’t out to begin the third period. So far, not so good.

The Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0, so the silver lining for Chicago is that they won.