PHT predicts the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup playoffs

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Earlier we told you about how we thought the regular season was going to play out and now it’s time to look at how we think the playoffs will go.

Joe says:

Eastern Conference quarterfinals

Washington over Tampa Bay
New Jersey over Montreal
Philadelphia over Buffalo
Pittsburgh over Boston

Eastern Conference semifinals

Washington over Philadelphia
New Jersey over Pittsburgh

Eastern Conference finals

New Jersey over Washington

 

James says:

Eastern Conference quarterfinals

Washington over Carolina
New Jersey over Tampa Bay
Philadelphia over Boston
Pittsburgh over Buffalo

Eastern Conference semifinals

Washington over Philadelphia
New Jersey over Pittsburgh

Eastern Conference finals

Washington over New Jersey

In the Western Conference, things shake out a bit differently for your two favorite writers at PHT. Never mind that we’re the only ones here, that’s besides the point.

Joe says:

Western Conference quarterfinals

Vancouver over St. Louis
Nashville over San Jose
Detroit over Los Angeles
Chicago over Phoenix

Western Conference semifinals

Vancouver over Nashville
Detroit over Chicago

Western Conference finals

Vancouver over Detroit

 

James says:

Western Conference quarterfinals

Vancouver over St. Louis
Chicago over Phoenix
San Jose over Nashville
Detroit over Los Angeles

Western Conference semifinals

Detroit over Vancouver
Chicago over San Jose

Western Conference finals

Detroit over Chicago

Finally, for the Stanley Cup finals, we shake things down and get our love out for all things Western Conference.

Joe says:  Vancouver over New Jersey

I fully admit, I’m drinking a lot of blue and green Kool-Aid this year. I like too much what they’ve added on defense, the Sedins are the real deal and just getting better and with a more competent defense playing in front of Luongo, he’ll get the monkey off his back. Also note I had Vancouver avoiding Chicago in the playoffs. That would help out.

As for New Jersey, I can’t shake the feeling that the mix of home-grown players and old-school throwbacks will put it all together with John MacLean coaching them over the first round playoff hump once again. Running into an old school mirror image team like Vancouver in the finals will be too much to overcome after getting run around by the wild Capitals in the East final. Vancouver will celebrate their 40th year in the NHL by finally getting to have that parade they so sloppily and publicly plan each year.

James says: Detroit over Washington

Detroit’s goalies might be a tad bit better than Washington’s (certainly from an experience stand point in Chris Osgood, who won a Cup in relief of Dominik Hasek). Mike Green is no Lidstrom. Zetterberg or Datsyuk might not be able to shut down Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin completely, but I think they can match or maybe even out-play the two elite forwards. Johan Franzen and Alex Semin would probably be the X-factors in this series and I have much more confidence throwing my imaginary vote to Franzen.

I feel weird choosing Detroit because I feel like they’re an aging team with questionable forward depth, but I’m going with my bulbous gut on this one. Feel free to mock me as an old and decrepit Red Wings team doesn’t even make the playoffs this season…

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

***

For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.