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Eastern Conference Quarter Final Predictions
Take these to the bank!
4/15/14 - By LGS Staff -

We've sized up the first round of the playoffs with our form of predictions, LGS style. Do not use for gambling or any form of wagering. For your entertainment (or not) only.

We've called out series winners, why they'll win, who we think will be the x-factor in the series, but most importantly, who will be the goat!

Boston vs Detroit
Ken Smyth - Bruins in 6
An all-Original Six matchup, this is the perfect series for traditionally minded fans so selective they’d never watch a game with a California team playing, or at least not pay me for the tickets they used (you know who you are!). Boston looks like they’re on a roll to the Conference Final, while Detroit coach Mike Babcock has done a masterful job dealing with injuries and threading some “who-are-these-guys” from Grand Rapids into the Wings lineup to make the playoffs. Boston has traditionally (that word again) had problems in the first round but they should win this one in six games.

Standout- Tomas Tatar of the Red Wings- can’t carry the team but gives them moments

Goat- Jimmy Howard – Red Wings goalie- gives Boston their moments
Ryan Hall - Bruins in 5
I can't recall the last time these two original 6 teams met in the playoffs, which should make this a treat to watch if you're the sort of fan that digs nostalgia. If you aren't, but you like watching one team cream the other, then this series will also be good for you as the Bruins are too deep, too physical, and too good. One caveat: If Detroit can extend the series to a game 6 and Zetterberg returns, then watch out for the upset.

Standouts: Watch for Loui Eriksson for Boston to have a strong series in this playoff debut for Boston, and Gustav Nyquist (Detroit) to continue his strong play.

Goats: Known for their quick tempers, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchant could sink the Bruins if they take too many penalties and let the Wings PP do some damage. For Detroit, the pressure is on Jimmy Howard to prove he really is a legitimate playoff goalie.
Paul Krill - Bruins in 5
The red-hot Bruins should take this series from yesterday's wonders, the Red Wings, in 5 games. Tuukka Rask continues his excellent play in goal for the Bruins while the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard continues to fail to get it done in the playoffs. At least Howard won't have to face the Sharks again.
Mike Lee - Bruins in 6
Look for the Red Wings to play nothing resembling Red Wings hockey. Detroit has too many holes and won't compete against the Bruins bruising style of play. Tuuka Rask will have a field day with the Red Wings. The Bruins are the odds on favorite to win the Cup for a reason. Solid up and down the lineup, and they have plenty of talent that knows what it takes to win it all.

Standouts: Look for the usual cast of characters to do most of the damage in the series. David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic will carry Boston to the Division Semi-Finals.

Goats: Detroit's leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson will do what he always does in the playoffs. He'll go into a shell, leaving the Red Wing faithful wondering how he vanished. Jimmy Howard may steal a game or two, but he won't be able to sustain the Bruin's barrage.

Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
Ken Smyth - Canadiens in 6
The snowbird series, both team were recharged at the trade deadline with the Canadiens adding Tomas Vanek and the Lightning taking Ryan Callahan. Both teams have strong goaltending with Carey Price for Montreal and Ben Bishop for Tampa. As much as the chaos lover in me wants Tampa to win just to see the scapegoating that takes place whenever a Canadian team loses, this should go to Montreal in six or seven games.

Standout- Steven Stamkos’ admantium leg

Goat- Tampa Bay penalty kill (all because of Canadian referees??)
Ryan Hall - Canadiens in 6
This series should be an exhibition of wide open skating, with goals galore for all to see. In the end that favours the Habs, as they are deeper in the scoring department than the Lightning who rely on Stamkos to carry them. A slight nod in goaltending towards Carey Price also means that Montreal will win this series without being pushed too hard.

Standouts: Steven Stamkos for Tampa will be the one to watch no matter how his team does. On the flip side, Thomas Vanek returns to the playoffs after a long drought, and that motivation should drive him to excellence.

Goats: Ben Bishop/Anders Lindback (goalies) for the Lightning will bear the brunt of criticism if things go sour for Tampa Bay. Similarly, lightning rod P.K. Subban will wear the horns if the Habs flame out in the first round.
Paul Krill - Canadiens in 6
Canada's only playoff team this year will beat Tampa in six games. These teams are about as close in the standings and teams can get, 101 points for Tampa and 101 for Montreal. The Canadiens will feed off their always-fanatic fan support to win this series, with Max Pacioretty rising to the occasion for Montreal while Steven Stamkos will show signs of rust, having just come back from a major injury for Tampa.
Mike Lee - Lightning in 6
Simply playing the history game here, Tampa Bay takes this series simply because they match up well against the Canadiens, having won three of four games during the regular season series. Since trading Martin St Louis at the trade deadline, Tampa Bay has rediscovered the art of playing solid hockey. Montreal has the weight of a nation sitting on their shoulders, being the only Canadian team to qualify for the playoffs this season. How does that even happen?

Standouts: Look for Ryan Callahan to finally do something in the playoffs, and leave Rangers fans scratching their heads. Steven Stamkos will simply be Steven Stamkos, scoring at will.

Goats: Once the Lightning figure out that if they shut down Max Pacioretty, they shut down the Canadiens, this series is over. Montreal isn't exactly a goal scoring machine, and Tomas Plekanec isn't enough to pick up the slack. P.K. Subban won't be the offensive juggernaut from the blueline that everyone in Montreal needs him to be.

Pittsburgh vs Columbus
Ken Smyth - Penguins in 4
Columbus has been in only one other playoff series in their history and didn’t win a game. That streak should stay alive here. Penguins in four.

Standout- Sidney Crosby- no matter what, they’ll say it was all Crosby

Goat-Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus goalie) for not shutting the Pens out four straight.
Ryan Hall - - Penguins in 5
It seems the vogue pick this year is to bet against the Penguins and take the Blue Jackets; something about Marc-Andre Fleury being a playoff dud I think? People seem to forget he DID take the Pens to two finals. Also, this year's squad didn't overexert themselves chasing individual hardware, so I expect to see a Pittsburgh buzz saw cut a swathe through a very game, but ultimately overwhelmed, Blue Jackets team.

Standouts: For Pittsburgh it'll be Sidney Crosby taking advantage of a Blue Jackets team that just isn't quite ready for the prime time. With that being said, look for the standout Ryan Johansen to prove that he's a real superstar in the making.

Goats: Okay, it's obviously going to be Fleury's fault if the Penguins do the unthinkable and lose. Meanwhile, most of Columbus gets a free pass but Brandon Dubinsky has seen enough postseason ice time that if he isn't noticeable (in a good way), he'll draw lots of fire.
Paul Krill - Penguins in 6
It should be an easy series for the Pens, unless Sidney Crosby decides to play the way he did in San Jose a while ago (as in lousy). Otherwise, he will star in this series and Sergei Bobrovsky will under-perform for Columbus, just like Team Russia at the Sochi Olympics.
Mike Lee - Penguins in 4
Congratulations to the Columbus Blue Jackets for simply qualifying for the playoffs. After dumping Rick Nash two seasons ago, the Blue Jackets have quietly constructed a lineup up good old fashioned hard-working hockey players. Too bad they're facing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round. The Penguins didn't exactly light the league on fire over their last 10 games, but they have the horsepower to dispatch the Blue Jackets. This series won't even be close. Look for the Penguins to get Evgeni Malkin back in the lineup.

Standouts: Pittsburgh has so many offensive weapons that there won't be that one guy. Looks for Chris Kunitz and James Neal to become regular names to the casual hockey observer. Syndney Crosby takes a back seat as he primes himself for the spotlight of the latter rounds.

Goats: It's tough to pin a goat tag on a team that really has no chance in this series, but I'll give it to Sergei Bobrovsky primarily because he's the one guy that could save Columbus in this series. Problem is, he won't do it.

New York vs Philadelphia
Ken Smyth - Rangers in 7
Two teams not terribly friendly with each other since the days of the Patrick Division. Have the Flyers found a goalie in Steve Mason. Probably not, but if he and his team can stay hot this could be fun. Rangers have Hendrik Lundqvist in goal and import Martin St Louis brought in for scoring. This will be a physical series and Ranger fans may wish they’d kept Ryan Callahan.

Standout- Hendrik Lindqvist who is out to prove something

Goat- Steve Mason, because the goalie is always to blame when the Flyers lose. Never mind the style of play in front of him. (side bet- how many times will a broadcaster slip and call him “Chris”?)
Ryan Hall - Rangers in 7
Pound for pound, this should be the best opening round series of the entire playoffs. Two teams that really don't like each other meet for the first time since Gretzky and Lindros were playing, and I for one can't wait to see the bad blood flow. While the Flyers are deeper up front, the Rangers are better on the backend and in net, meaning that in the pivotal Game 7 they'll have just enough to tip the scales in their favor.

Standouts: After leaving Tampa and signing a big deal with Philly, Vincent Lecalvier really needs to have a good playoffs, and I think he will. On the other side of the ice, Henrik Lundquist will have the biggest say in just how successful the Rangers are.

Goats: Steve Mason finds himself cast in the comical role of Flyers post-season goalie; that's a no win spot. If he so much as lets a single bad goal in, he'll bear all the blame. For NY, Rick Nash makes the big bucks and needs to produce, or he could find himself getting the Marian Gaborik treatment next season, as he shops for an apartment in a new city.
Paul Krill - Rangers in 7
This series, featuring probably the two most-popular NHL teams in New Jersey, should have the Rangers eking out a series win in 7 games. But in a twist, Claude Giroux will be the series star (he has 86 points this year) while the Rangers' Henrik Lundquist will slip in goal. He has to be a bit frustrated, having had all this praise heaped upon him for years and still having never even been to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Mike Lee - Flyers in 7
This is going to be one of the series where New York looks back and asks how it lost the series. Based on the goofiness of the NHL's new playoff seeding system, the 5th best record in the East faces the 6th best record. Philadelphia struggled down the stretch, but had enough in the tank to squeek ahead of Columbus and Detroit. This series will be one of those oddities that pegs a Flyers team that's better suited for the playoffs than their opponent.

Standouts: Very quietly, Steve Mason won 33 games this season. Look for the Flyers netminder to steal this series for the Flyers.

Goats: Martin St Louis was brought to New York to get the Rangers over the hump, but he'll fall short. Rick Nash will dissapear as he always does come spring time. Henrik Lunqvist will be average and average doesn't advance you to the next round.

Check out our Western Conference predictions.


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