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PHT Predicts who wins the Stanley Cup

Apr 13, 2011, 3:29 AM EDT

Henrik Sedin, Alex Ovechkin AP

If we learned anything from last year’s playoffs it’s that anything can happen. We saw top seeds crumble in the playoffs last year in the Eastern Conference as the top three teams all lost in the first round creating mayhem for the rounds to follow. After all, it’s not every year when the seven seed hosts the eight seed in the conference final, but when Philadelphia did that last year against Montreal, it left prognosticators and self-appointed know-it-alls everywhere baffled.

The Western Conference last season was a bit more friendly to those who bet on the higher seeds to roll through. Top seeded San Jose made it all the way to the conference final against the second seeded Blackhawks while they each dispatched the the third seeded Canucks and fifth seeded Red Wings in the conference semis.

With things going half-and-half last year as far as long shots and favorites went, we’re going to err on the side of caution this year. Showing that we don’t give much thought to what happened in the past and it is what it is, we’re going out on a major league limb with who we think is going to take things in each conference.

In the Eastern Conference, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau has us sold on the Caps dedication to defense and playing a more sandpaper-like brand of hockey. Mix that in with the all-universe talent of Alexander Ovechkin and a supporting cast including a healthy Mike Green along with forwards Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Knuble that mix of vertan savvy and youth has us buying heavily into the Caps. It might not be the high-flying offense we got used to in the past, but they’re consistent now and they’re good. With Michal Neuvirth set to start in goal for Washington, he’s been their steady man all season long.

The flash and dash is gone and boring steadiness is the rule of the day for Washington. While there’s always the threat of a team getting hot and going on a tear through the postseason, we’re sold on the Capitals out of the East.

The West makes us a bit more scared and why not, it’s loaded out West. We could see any of the top five teams making a run through the playoffs and finding a way to steal the Western Conference bid to the Stanley Cup final. Vancouver is the heavy atop the standings, the Sharks are on fire in the second half, Detroit has the veteran knowhow, Anaheim has the best line in the NHL and a potential game-stealing wild card in goal should Jonas Hiller return, and Nashville has the kind of goalie that can win you 16 games in the postseason with the nasty defense to support him.

The choices aren’t easy out West, but when it comes down to it all Vancouver is just disturbingly good. They’ve dealt with countless injuries along their blue line and yet still Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider won the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed. They continued to pound on teams after they had nothing to play for, and their offense boasts two 90+ point scorers in the Sedin twins including Art Ross Trophy winner Daniel.

Ryan Kesler is their top shutdown forward and even he had 40 goals this season. Factor in supporters like Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson, and Mason Raymond and it boggles the mind to think what they can do in the playoffs. Vancouver is sickeningly good and they’ll show the West they mean business winning the Western Conference.

In the final, with two teams that have yet to win the Stanley Cup in franchise history, desperation takes on a whole new meaning but in the end, destiny belongs to the Canucks as they dispose of the Capitals. Canucks win the Stanley Cup in 6 games in what turns out to be a memorable and legendary series and gives Vancouver something major to celebrate in their 40th anniversary season.

  1. tommytd - Apr 13, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    First they need to get past the Chicago Blackhawks and that ain’t a done deal. The Hawks are in their heads and we know they’re in “Bobby Lou’s” head. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Hawks knock them off AGAIN!

  2. sknut - Apr 13, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    While Vancouver is a solid choice, I am going with a Boston-San Jose finals with Boston winning it all. But really there are 6 or 7 teams that wouldn’t suprise me if they won it, that is why even though my squad isn’t in it I am excited about the playoffs.

  3. dcent87 - Apr 13, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    Once again people take a 1seed vs 1seed always….to bad that never happens…its gonna be Philly over San Jose ….that’s if pronged makes it back in time for at least game 2 in the series vs buffalo

    • emperor83 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      Philadelphia’s not getting past Buffalo, with or without Pronger. With 60 points, the Sabres have been the top team in the Eastern Conference (second in the league to Vancouver) since 1/1/11. Only because of an unlucky Oct. to Dec. 2010 are they not at the top of the division. Buffalo easily takes the series.

  4. dcent87 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    If u call 3 months of bad hockey “unlucky” you sound stupid….buffalo realized they sucked and stepped it up at the end ….it wont transfer to the playoffs as you will soon learn

  5. seaner44 - Apr 13, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Wow a one seed vs a one seed. Really putting your neck out there with that one. Wings vs bruins. Bruins in 6

  6. atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    This year’s Canucks team reminds me a lot of recent Sharks teams, dominating in the regular season, but missing the key ingredients to do something truly special in the playoffs. I think the Canucks biggest weakness is in goal, “Playoff” Luongo shows up once again and the Canucks are eliminated quickly by the Blackhawks. “Looooooooooooooooooooo!”

    As much as I dislike them, Detroit has a history of showing up big in the playoffs, this year is no different, it will be a Red Wings v Capitals final, with the Caps winning it in 6 games.

    • polegojim - Apr 13, 2011 at 9:49 PM

      Oops…..must have been a misprint….. you mean Red Wings in 6 right?

  7. dustydehart - Apr 18, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    I agree with a few of you in regards to Detroit and Who knows about the East. Could be Washington, Boston or Philly.

    As for saying Vancouver doesnt have the team to go all the way is just plain…Stupid! What don’t they have? The crushed the whole league with 3/4 of there defense core watching from the stands. Ryan Kesler is arguably one of the best two way players in the game. They can roll 4 lines against any team in the league.

    As for Luongo, yeah he has struggled in the past but he lost to teams that the Canucks should have lost to. Sure some of you say he lost the Chicago series and yeah he had a bad series but Chicago won the cup! I would not feel to bad being knocked out by the champs.

    This team is a super power. Their test will be Detroit. If they beat Detroit they will walk on the East with ease. Either way the cup stays in the west! End of story!

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