NHL PLAYOFFS: Eastern Conference Preview

If you're a Canadian, like I am, the site of snow leaving the ground and the NHL playoffs are the best signs that spring has officially arrived - and this GeekWeeker couldn't be happier.  After months of watching countless episodes of Hockey Night In Canada, the real season can finally commence ... As the sixteen teams prepare to do battle in what can arguably be the toughest championship to win in sports.  Not only do you have to win, the team better make sure it has a horseshoe up it's ass or the injury bug will quickly take your team off the ice and onto the golf course.  I've seen teams poised to run through the competition, only to to hit a brick wall in later rounds after their previous opponent ripped every last bit of fight out of them.

As we get ready for Wednesday's big games, I'd like to quickly give you a preview of the match ups you can expect during the first round of the Eastern Conference:

#1 Washington Capitals LOGO_Washington_Capitals



#8 Montreal Canadiens LOGO_Montreal_Canadiens

After dominating the regular season, Alexander Ovechkin is on mission... and his journey to Lord Stanley begins with the Canadiens.  Washington is clearly the favorite in this series, but that could quickly change though, as the Canadiens have been known to dethrone top seeds in the first round before.  

If Washington can do what Boston did last year - out-classing Montreal in all facets of the game - they should be able to get into the second round within five to six games.





#7 Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia_flyers_1996

After being shocked by one of the biggest last minute comebacks I've ever seen, the New Jersey Devils will want to forget what Carolina did to them last year and make sure that this season the Philadelphia Flyers don't get a chance to make the same move as the Cane's achieved last year.

Martin Brodeur comes into this playoff with the league lead in wins, and is hoping to add another Stanley Cup to his resume.  Considered a "living legend" Brodeur knows that his team's success relies heavily on his shoulders.  If Brodeur falls apart at any point in this series, the Flyers won't hesitate to stomp all over the Devil's trek to another championship.


#3 Buffalo Sabres Buffalo_sabres_1993


#6 Boston Bruins Bruins

After an upsetting performance in the second round of the playoffs last year, The Bruins want to prove to the city of Boston that they still have a team that can bring their city a championship. But, Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres might have something to say about that...

After missing the playoffs for the past three seasons, one of the best goaltenders in the business takes a rough and tough team - lead by Coach Lindy Ruff - into battle with the Bruins.  Which, could be their only weakness.  With the Sabres not having played any playoff hockey for three seasons, will the entire team be ready for what's about to happen this week? I hope the new guys understand that the playoffs is a whole new game.

This series is going to be won either two ways: 1) One team sweeps the series or 2) Both teams go to a grueling seven game series.  There is no in between here. 


#4 Pittsburgh Penguins Pitts



#5 Ottawa Senators Ottawa_senators

Once again we get another edition of the Senators and the Penguins first round rivalry.  Captain Sidney Crosby readies his troops for another go at the Stanley Cup as the Penguins look to become the first team since the 97-98 Red Wings to win back-to-back championships.

The Senators were a success story that most sports critics didn't pick at the beginning of the season, so their arrival in the playoffs is unexpected and also quite interesting.  With no signs of slowing down can the Senators take out the champs and begin their own championship run? Or will Pittsburgh dispose the Senators and get ready for the real match-up every one wants to see: Washington vs Pittsburgh.


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