Might as well jump on the bandwagon of making playoff predictions that I won't be even remotely close on...
Buffalo (1) vs NY Islanders (8): The Islanders came thisclose to a heartbreaker, when they allowed a goal just 1 second away from clinching a spot against the Devils. They ultimately won in OT, but won't go far. The Sabres look unstoppable this year. Buffalo in 5.
New Jersey (2) vs Tampa (7): Vinny Lecavalier has finally arrived in the NHL, with a 52-goal season. He and Martin St Louis cracked the 100-point barrier this year, while the Devils didn't have a guy reach 70. New Jersey is the lowest scoring of all 16 playoff teams, while the Lightning have the most goals allowed. That should be some not very exciting hockey. Devils win - because of Martin Brodeur. - in the dullest series of the playoffs. New Jersey in 6.
Atlanta (3) vs NY Rangers (6): I really like Atlanta. They may not look the greatest on paper, but I think they have a great mix of talent, toughness and feistiness. They also have a goalie in Kari Lehtonen who can get hot. Nothing against the Rangers, but I think the Thrashers will win here. Atlanta in 6.
Ottawa (4) vs Pittsburgh (5): The series to watch in the East, maybe the entire league. Five of the NHL's top 18 scorers will be featured. With the #2 and #3 offenses in the NHL, both teams can put up points in a hurry. This one probably will boil down to how well Marc-Andre Fleury can hold up. I think Ottawa wins in a close, exciting series. Ottawa in 7.
Detroit (1) vs Calgary (8): Probably the toughest off all the series to call. I've been expecting Hasek to take his groin and go home for months now, but he's still hanging in there like a trooper. So many compelling stories...Will the Flames win on the road? Will Datsyuk show up in the playoffs? Will Phaneuf improve his diving? This one will be fun to watch. Calgary in 7.
Anaheim (2) vs Minnesota (7): On paper, a closely matched series. In real life, I think the Ducks win easily. I think they have too much size for the Wild to handle over the long haul. 35% of Minnesota's wins came in OT or the Shootout. Dallas used a similar play-for-OT approach last year, and they ended up laying an egg in the playoffs. I think the Wild will have a similar letdown here. Anaheim in 4.
Vancouver (3) vs Dallas (6): I love the Luongo / Turco matchup. Both have so much to prove: Luongo has never played in the postseason, and Turco has a reputation for choking in the playoffs. Personally, I think the Turco stuff is a bit unfair. Vancouver has terrific defense, goaltending and penalty killing, but, in the end, I think Dallas has too many weapons in a low scoring series. Dallas in 6.
Nashville (4) vs San Jose (5): This series was a hoot last year, and the teams have since added Peter Forsberg, JP Dumont and Bill Guerin to the mix. This should be a back and forth series, almost as exciting as the Penguins v Senators. The Sharks win. Barely. San Jose in 7.