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.
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. Calgary Flames (8)
Flames in 6
IPB is nothing less than trendy and thus we’ll pick the Flames to win. It’s a gut-feeling thing.
Anaheim Ducks (2) vs. Minnesota Wild (7)
Ducks in 4
Did we say we didn’t like predicting sweeps? ‘Cuz we lied.
Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. Dallas Stars (6)
Canucks in 5
Marty Turco. Enough said.
Nashville Predators (4) vs. San Jose Sharks (5)
Sharks in 6
We might not know much about the Western Conference, but we do recognize a team that’s done when we see it. And Nashville? Is done. How’d that Forsberg trade work out for them?
Because we strive to give you more bang for your buck here at IPB, we won’t stop at the First Round. Oh no! We are so confident in our skills of prognostication, we will tell you here how the remainder of the Playoffs will unfold.
In the Eastern Semi-Finals:
Sabres vs. Lightning
Sabres in 5
Sorry, that goaltending against that offense? (By that we mean Tampa’s goaltending against Buffalo’s offense.)
Senators vs. Rangers
Sens in 7
In the Eastern Conference Final:
Sabres vs. Senators
Senators in 6
After two easy opponents, the Sabres will be complacent and rife with bad habits. The Sens will capitalize on said bad habits. Bryan Murray will still be teetering on the edge of control.
In the Western Semi-Finals:
Ducks vs. Flames
Ducks in 4
Sharks vs. Canucks
Sharks in 7
In the Western Conference Final:
Ducks vs. Sharks
Ducks in 7
In a battle of good vs. evil, evil will prevail. There will be much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair at IPB.
In the Stanley Cup Final:
Ducks vs. Senators
Ducks in 6
Scott Neidermayer will win the Conn Smythe, thereby eliminating that last lingering shred of fondness we have for him after he was snubbed for the playoff MVP in 2003.
So there you have it. If you don’t like the Ducks, you might as well just not watch the playoffs because you already know how it’s going to end. Mark our words.