2013 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals


Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the playoffs. The glorious promised land of the NHL. The gated community that welcomes the worthy and shuts out the rest, leaving them to draw lots for who gets the cardboard box (If you can’t see that that analogy stands for the Draft, I forgive you.).

While the Playoffs begin tonight, we here at NOTSC figured that we should make some predictions, and that is precisely what we’re gonna do. While the chance that these predictions will be 100% accurate is about as likely as the Hartford Whalers winning the cup, we want to make them, anyway. So, without further ado, here are the NOTSC Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions for the Quarterfinals!

Eastern Conference

1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 8) New York Islanders

If you picked the Islanders to make the playoffs this year, go out, buy several lottery tickets, fill them out, and mail them to me. This team has surprised everyone this year, making the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. However, they picked the worst opponent to meet in the first round. This year’s Penguins team is absolutely loaded. Having Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby on one team is unfair as it is, but adding Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla is borderline Miami Heat-esque. The absolute stomping the Islanders will receive will be considered a human rights violation in several countries. John Tavares was seen lobbying for a trade after finding out they were playing the Penguins in the first round (We’re still trying to confirm whether Pens GM Ray Shero tried to acquire him), and Tim Thomas came out of exile long enough to decry their luck as a product of President Obama’s favoritism (He has since gone back into hiding).

That said, it would be foolish to predict a sweep. While the Penguins are ludicrously good this year, the Islanders apparently have some sort of voodoo magic stashed up their sleeve, considering they made it this far. However, that magic will be crushed beneath the juggernaut that is Ray Shero’s club.

Prediction: Penguins over Islanders in 5


2) Montreal Canadians vs. 7) Ottawa Senators

It’s a good ol’ fashioned Canadian series! Exciting, eh? Don Cherry is so excited he’s actually wearing a normal suit!

These teams bring a nice contest to the Playoffs, with both squads overcoming immense obstacles to reach the postseason. Ottawa watched as Matt Cooke viciously stomped Erik Karlsson’s Achilles tendon into oblivion in an act of pure malice Erik Karlsson suffered a freak injury that nearly ended his season, and the Canadians overcame being in the same division as the Bruins.

Both teams will look to jump out to an early lead. Ottawa will want to minimize Craig Anderson’s exposure to the Habs, since he only has to face a team a couple times before that team figures him out and scores eleventy billion goals against him (which is surprisingly less than what Ilya Bryzgalov or Roberto Luongo give up). Montreal will want to get ahead in order to establish the superiority of French in hockey, as well as capitalize on Nordiques fans’ money.

This series has the potential to get ugly in a hurry. Since Quebec wants to be independent of Canada, this series, assuming Ottawa wins, might actually blow up into a full-blown Canadian war, complete with polite deferrals and general ambivalence. Neither team appears to have an advantage, though, so this may drag out the tension. We live in frightening times, my friends.

Prediction: Canadians over Senators in 7


3) Washington Capitals vs. 6) New York Rangers

Alexander Ovechkin is really trying to prove he is the greatest hockey player in the world, isn’t he? After practically carrying the team on his back for the second half of the season, the Capitals won the Southeast Division, barely beating out the Winnipeg Thrashers, er Jets. The Rangers just squeaked into the playoffs as well. Sources revealed that the driving force behind their playoff push was Rick Nash worrying that Columbus was going to make the playoffs after he left. That, combined with the Rangers unloading Marian Gaborik (on Columbus, no less), pushed the Rangers into the postseason.

This series is a rematch of last year’s eastern Conference Semifinal, which the Rangers won in 7. Expect the Capitals to take out Henrik Lundqvist with an errant cross-check try to figure out Henrik Lundqvist in a hurry, shooting at him often, including during warmups before the game starts. On the other side of the ice, expect the Rangers to try to make Alexander Ovechkin a non-factor. Tactics include double-teams, excessive checking, and offering him an all-expense paid trip to the Baltic Sea. The team that loses its star first will be the team that falls. We expect that to be the Capitals.

Prediction: Rangers over Capitals in 6


4) Boston Bruins vs. 5) Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s nice to see the Maple Leafs back in the playoffs. I mean, they finally got rid of that incompetent Brian Burke guy. He did absolutely nothing to help the Maple Leafs build for this return to the playoffs. Nothing. Zilch. On the other hand, Boston’s return to the postseason was completely expected. I mean, they have been a playoff feature for the past how many years, exactly?

This series will be a fun one. Tyler Seguin will get a glimpse of the team he could have been a part of. Tuukka Rask will try his hand at being a playoff goalie. James Reimer will try to prove to Toronto fans that he is the goalie they can count on. The world will finally see what Nazem Kadri brings to the table. Phil Kessel will beg to be traded back to the Bruins. It’s gonna be great, people.

This was the toughest series to predict in the Eastern Conference, and we still aren’t quite sure who to pick as the clear-cut favorite. However, we expect the Leafs will implode under the weight of fan expectations as well as underwhelming play.

Prediction: Bruins over Leafs in 6

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