So, last week’s hockey post nailed a lot of the final playoff’s teams. Just not all of them. The official 2011 Playoff Teams were finally decided with a lucky last chance addition of the Blackhawks. Below is the schedule for the first round games, which will take place April 13th – 27th.
Eastern Conference Quarter Final Matchups
#1 Washington Capitals vs #8 New York Rangers
#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs #7 Buffalo Sabres
#3 Boston Bruins vs #6 Montreal Canadiens
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #5 Tampa Bay Lightning
Western Conference Quarter Final Matchups
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs #8 Chicago Blackhawks
#2 San Jose Sharks vs #7 Los Angeles Kings
#3 Detroit Red Wings vs Phoenix Coyotes
#4 Anaheim Ducks vs #5 Nashville Predators
In the Eastern Conference, ESPN thinks that the Capitals are holding court. Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin are the key players for the team. Not surprisingly, however, while the Caps are sitting pretty, they should fear the Rangers, as they’ve beaten them three times already this season. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is the glue and glitter of the team. Watch out for him. All in all though, it is expected for the D.C. Capitals to win.
The Flyers are a formidable team with seven 20-goal scorers. Poor Tyler Myers from the Flyers is going to have to use his large frame to block a lot of shots coming their way.
This is Boston’s first appearance at the conference final since the 91-92 season when they lost the game to the Penguins. Tim Thomas has been the absolute shining star on the time with his regular season save percentage (.938) and his 35-11-9 record. Nice job, Thomas!
While the outlook seemed bleak for the Penguins, due to the injuries of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Stall, Marc Andre Fleury has held the team together admirably and hopefully will continue to do so. There is still a chance (looking slim though) that Crosby will show up for the playoffs.
The Blackhawks made the playoffs on a hope and prayer. Jonathan Toews is one of the few survivors from last year’s championship team. Pretty much the only hope the Blackhawks have to advance is if the Canucks make a lot of mistakes, which has been known to happen.
Joe Thornton is what stands between the Sharks and a championship. He plays awesome regular season, but once it gets to the playoffs, he flakes out. If he can get it together, perhaps they have a chance. Here’s hoping!
Ah, Detroit, so nice to see you in the Playoffs again! Nick Lidstrom leads his Red Wings in another championship attempt. There’s no reason to discount this team. Even the Coyotes 20 goal scorer Shane Doan, shouldn’t shake the Red Wings too much.
The Mighty Ducks! Everyone seems to discount this team for whatever reason. Seven guys on the team have Stanley Cup Rings, reigning Richard trophy winner is on the team and there are two 30 goal scorers. Corey Perry has 50 goals.
This is going to be an exciting first round of playoffs!
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