2010 NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference first round predictions

13 Comments

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.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

2816marty4
New Jersey Devils
Leave a comment

The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

15 Comments

The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Three
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils
Getty Images
2 Comments

The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.