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O'Callahan: Predictions O'Plenty

Wednesday, 04.15.2009 / 3:37 PM CT / Feature
By Seamus O'Callahan  - Hockey Historian
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O\'Callahan: Predictions O\'Plenty

Seamus O'Callahan
First off, I need to brag a little bit. I called seven of the eight playoff teams in the West back in September. Yes, even Columbus.

The only problem? The one team I missed on was our Dallas Stars (I didn’t have St. Louis in the top eight). Oh well, what can you do?

Even without our beloved Stars in the post-season, tonight is still a great night to turn on the tele and watch some compelling action. The beginning of the greatest playoffs in sports begins tonight with four games to kick off the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So it’s naturally time to post some playoff predictions. Here are mine:

In the East, the two series that catch my eye are New Jersey vs. Carolina and Pittsburgh vs. Philly. I really like the Hurricanes and the way they finished the season, and I want to pick them so bad to win this series. But I’ll take the Devils in seven. Pittsburgh has done a good job in climbing the ladder late in the season, but I’m taking the Flyers to win this one in six.

Boston should take care of the Habs in five games and I’ll take Ovechkin and the Caps to take out Avery’s Rangers in six games.

The West is tricky. I think there are at least four teams that are capable of making it to the Stanley Cup Finals (on paper) and they may beat each other up in the process. Obviously any of the eight teams can win the conference (see Edmonton in 2006).

San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago and even Calgary all have the stuff needed to make a deep run. But then there’s St. Louis, a team that finished the season with a record of 25-8-7 over their last 40 games (tops in the league). You think the Canucks are happy to face them in round one?

San Jose vs. Anaheim is the first-ever playoff match-up between two teams in California. It’s about time. This will be good for the Golden State and should be fun to watch. Anytime you get two division foes in a playoff series, it is usually a tight series. Give me the Sharks in seven.

I am rooting for the Columbus Blue Jackets with every fiber of my being. It will be very exciting for the Jackets’ fans – seeing playoff hockey for the first time. As much as I want Columbus to win, give me Detroit in six.

Back to the Canucks-Blues series. Looking at St. Louis, the main reason they have been so good in the second half has been phenomenal goaltending. That alone will win you a playoff series. But I’ll take my chances with Roberto Luongo. Canucks in seven.

It is very good for the league to have the Chicago Blackhawks back in the playoffs. They will face a Flames team that looked to be a favorite on paper after the trade deadline. But Calgary did not finish the season strong and were beaten out for the division by the Canucks. Not many are predicting the Flames to go far in the playoffs and you can include me in that camp. Hawks in six.

For Conference Finals participants, I’ll take the Sharks to face off against the Canucks, with Vancouver winning the Campbell Bowl for the Western Conference. In the East, I like the Devils to face the Bruins, with Boston coming out on top.

The Stanley Cup will return to Canada for the first time since 1992, with Vancouver defeating Boston in seven games.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Enjoy the playoffs everyone – even without our Stars in the tournament.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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