NHL Playoffs: The Countdown
The storylines are forming, the beards will be growing — and this year’s playoffs are set to take off.
That’s the number of days left until the 2012 NHL playoffs begin. We’re getting excited, analyzing match-ups and purchasing face-paint to cheer on our favourite team. It’s a shame our Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t make the post-season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some spirited playoff hockey. And plus, we have our friends in Ottawa competing this year.
We’re looking forward to the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference. With the return of Crosby and the antics of James Neal and Evgeni Malkin — the Penguins are poised to make an impressive playoff push. Malkin leads the NHL in scoring with 105 points with just two regular season games remaining.
The Flyers also have plenty of firepower with Claude Giroux coming off a 90+ point season. The series may come down to goaltending however, as Ilya Bryzgalov and Marc-André Fleury is expected to start the series.
Sparks flew during the regular season between these two teams, and emotions will continue to boil over during this first-round matchup.
In the West, our Chill pick is the Nashville Predators. Goaltender Pekka Rinne picked up an outstanding 42 wins in 71 starts this season. Rinne leads the league in wins and currently holds a .922 save percentage.
Nashville’s strength is on their blue-line with defensemen like Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Don’t expect the predators to light the lamp. Instead look for the Predators to keep scoring low, and have Rinne lock down and steal wins against possible first-round teams like Detroit or Chicago.
Seven days. Count ‘em seven days.