By now you’ve probably read a lot of other first round predictions — now read what’s actually going to happen.
Buffalo Sabres (1) vs. New York Islanders (8)
Sabres in 5
We’re only saying it’s going to go 5 because we don’t like predicting sweeps. What is there really to say? This is a huge mismatch, whether Pretty Ricky’s in net or not. Look for Ryan Smyth to disappear, for Ryan Miller to play solidly until the final minute of each game, and for the wily and speedy Sabres to run circles around the confused and frightened Islanders.
New Jersey Devils (2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (7)
If you have not already seen our prediction, check it out here: The Devils on the Eve of the Playoffs (an IPB exclusive)
Atlanta Thrashers (3) vs. New York Rangers (6)
Rangers in 7
We have mentioned in this space how much we hate the R******. So of course they’re going to win this series. Sean Avery is going the difference-maker, Jagr is going to be the Jagr of old, Shanny is going to prove that he’s not too ancient to play, and the only solace we’ll be able to take from it is that Keith Tkachuk is going to fall on his face again.
Ottawa Senators (4) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (5)
Ottawa in 6
The Senators will win this series in spite of Bryan Murrary’s complete lack of professionalism, which by Game 3 will be bordering on insanity. As much we’d like to think the lack of experience won’t faze the young Penguins, the Senators are a well-oiled machine. IPB thinks that Sid Crosby will shine, but Marc-Andre Fleury… well… won’t.