The playoffs are fuckin here!!!! Let’s break this bitch down.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets
FHN Pick: Tampa in 5
The bolts are the best team in hockey by a country mile. The Jackets are a team better than their record shows and not an ideal first round match-up for a number one seed. That being said the Lightning are the best in the business. We could talk all day about the great depth scoring, Elite defence, and likely Vezina winning young goaltender. They tied the record for regular season wins. They aren’t stopping now.
They beat the Blue Jackets in 5 games despite a solid effort from PLD, the breadman, Bob and the studs on D. Will be a shame to see this talented team gone so soon.
Side note: Matt Duchene does not win. He is not a guy I would want anywhere near my team’s locker room. Skilled as all hell but just doesn’t have it. My money will always be on the team Duchene is playing against.
Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
FHN pick: Bruins in 7
The Leafs are lethal up front. Mitch Marner is a fuckin genius, and Tavares and Matthews are Superstars. The rest of their forward group is not half bad either guys like Kapanen, Johnsson and Bill Nylander have as much speed and skill as anyone. The Leafs can turn any game into a shootout and have the firepower to come out on top of those games. That being said I have zero faith in them beating the Bruins in a 7 game series. The B’s are just an all-around better team. Toronto wanted to get bigger and stronger at the deadline so naturally, they went out and got Nic Petan. Toronto’s 4th line centre Fredrick Gauthier is the most useless player in the NHL and Bostons depth will absolutely dominate that line regardless of who is put on the wing. They did add Jake Muzzin who is made for playoff hockey but even with that major addition their blueline lacks depth and Freddy Andersen will need to be lights out. late in the season, he has been just alright.
The Bruins, on the other hand, have arguably the best line in hockey. Pasta, Bergeron, and the rat are a nightmare to play against. It’s almost as if they are on a powerplay every time they are on the ice. They create so many chances 5on5. Jake Gardner is fucked. Boston has the more well-rounded hockey team that plays a playoff style of game. They are the more physical team that over the course of 7 games will come out on top of the speed and skill of the Maple Leafs.
Side note: If Freddy Andersen plays out of his god damn mind the Leafs can win the prize of getting pumped in the second round by Tampa Bay. But for now, I believe that honour goes to the Bruins, who will match up much better against the Lightning.
Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes
FHK pick: Caps in 6
Goaltending truly is the most important position in hockey. Brayden Holtby is much better than any of the Hurricanes netminders. Petr Mrázek the likely starter has been wildly inconsistent throughout his entire career. Couple that with the defending cup champions overall deeper roster and it’s safe to say most will have the Caps pencilled in their brackets second round.
That being said I don’t think it will be a cake walk for Ovi and company. The Cans are pretty damn good. Their blue line is stacked, and with the emergence of SEBASTION FUCKING AHO! as a true number 1 centre, the one-two punch of him and Staal down the pipe shouldn’t be overlooked. At the end of the day, it won’t be enough but the series will be an entertaining one.
New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins
FHN pick: Pens in 6
Sidney Crosby is still the best all-around hockey player in the world. He only gets better as the games get more important. Normally I would say playoff experience is overrated but in this case, I think it wins. Who in their right mind is betting against Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Letang, Big pencil Guentzel, and two time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray. I couldn’t even begin to talk myself into it. The Islanders have been a great story this year and you’ve gotta love what Barry Trotz and Robin Lehner have done this season but it ends in Pittsburgh in game 6.