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Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs, Quarterfinals Preview


First came the Eastern Conference season recap and the Eastern Conference playoff power rankings. Here we are now at Black & Blue & Gold’s Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs preview.

Each quarterfinal match-up (sans the Sabres/Flyers series) is detailed below with staff picks after the jump.

8th Seed New York Rangers vs 1st Seed Washington Capitals

Vulgar Stats Playoff Power Rankings: 1st (WSH), 6th (NYR)
Regular Season Series: NYR wins season series 3-1-0

Phil: Before Callahan was lost for the playoffs, I had the Rangers taking this series in 7 due to how committed their players are to the system and their goaltender. Even with him gone, I still have them taking this series over the Capitals’ shaky goaltending. They don’t have the defense to hide untested net presence like the ’10 Blackhawks did. NYR in 7

Alex: While the Rangers have played the Caps as good as anyone (three wins, and two huge 6-0 and 7-0 shutouts), the Capitals are just too good for the Rangers to beat night in and night out. WSH in 7

Tom: Rangers had to hold off Carolina to stay in, but can they fight through their injuries to stay with Washington? Capitals need to win the first 2, lest the doubts from past collapses creep into their game. WSH in 5

Jay: Rangers without Callahan are a different team, and will struggle to kill penalties against a very good offensive team. WSH in 6

6th Seed Montreal Canadiens vs 3rd Seed Boston Bruins

Vulgar Stats Playoff Power Rankings: 3rd (MTL), 4th (BOS)
Regular Season Series: MTL wins season series 4-2-0

Phil: A strong opening game by the Bruins and they roll this series. Sweep, baby. BOS in 4

Alex: The Habs special teams have scorched the Bruins all year long so they should make this series close, but injuries along the Montreal blue line will seal the deal. BOS in 7

Tom: This series will either be a gang war on skates, or fizzle out. These two just HATE each other. Boston has the advantage in all categories; Offense, Defense, Goaltending, and Love of Goonery. Habs don’t stand much of a chance here. BOS in 5

Jay: The easiest pick by far, Boston is far superior physically, offensively, defensively, and in net. BOS in 5

5th Seed Tampa Bay Lightning vs 4th Seed Pittsburgh Penguins

Vulgar Stats Playoff Power Rankings: 5th (TBL), 8th (PIT)
Regular Season Series: Series tied 2-2-0

Phil: This series is going to be a fail-off (s/t to @CoreyGriswold). The lynchpin here is which goaltender steals the most games, Fleury or Roloson. I’m thinking that eventually the Lightning’s depth comes through, and as long as Marc-Andre Bergeron plays as few minutes as possible, they win. TBL in 6

Alex: A lot of fuss has been made over how the Flyers have flubbed their way into the postseason over the last few weeks of the season, but the Pens have been even worse. They can’t score, and their power play is terrible. If Tampa gets even an adequate performance out of their defense and out of Dwayne Roloson, they roll the Pens. TBL in 5

Tom: Tampa Bay is the least impressive 100 point team I’ve seen in a while. Pittsburgh is without their big guns, but haven’t really missed a beat, and are playoff tested. PIT in 6

Jay: Tampa Bay had difficulty down the stretch, but looked back to form in Carolina. Their roster is loaded with playoff performers, and depth. Pittsburgh has been great to finish the season, but missing Crosby and Malkin will finally catch up to them in the first round. TBL in 6

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