I haven’t written anything about hockey since April 18th in a perfunctory, last-minute post before getting on an airplane for California. Since then… well… almost the entire first round of the playoffs has transpired without a word from me.
Let me explain.
The only team that I really cared about was the Tampa Bay Lightning, since the Washington Capitals were nowhere near the playoffs. Last season (two years ago), I made multiple predictions about the Bolts taking whatever series they were playing (Islanders, Canadiens, Flyers, Flames) in six games. I wasn’t right once (5, 4, 7, 7—respectively).
The impetus behind my not posting anything about the Lightning’s first-round matchup against the Ottawa Senators was that I had yet another prediction… but it didn’t favor the Bolts. I called Ottawa over the Lightning in five games. You may be thinking, “hindsight is twenty-twenty,” or “you’re a liar, Gary,” but I have records of my prescience.
Unfortunately, the Bolts were out in five. That sucked.
Around the rest of the NHL… in the West: Edmonton Oilers upset President’s Trophy winner Detroit Red Wings (sorry future-in-laws and Morgan). Colorado Avalanche finally dust off the horribly-annoying Dallas Stars (upset!). Thank [deity] because I hate Dallas, and I’m pulling for Matt. Finally, the San Jose Sharks beat the surprisingly-good Nashville Predators due to the untimely injury to the Preds’ starting goaltender, IMHO. Also an upset.
In the East: Bolts are done; not an upset rankings-wise. Tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes finished off the Montreal Canadiens who came out like gangbusters in the first two games… the only games they won. I was pulling for the Habs, so that’s unfortunate; also not an upset. The New Jersey Devils swept the New York Rangers in four games. That was fucking sweet because I was sick of hearing about Jaromir Jagr, who I consider a dickhead; also not an upset. Lastly, the Buffalo Sabres delivered the fatality (finish him!) tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, who I’ve hated longer than memory serves (sorry Foof). This is good twice-over: The Flyers lose (yay!), and my dark-horse pick in the East Buffalo Sabres advance; you guessed it, not an upset.
The only first-round game remaining is the Stanley Cup Runners-up Calgary Flames versus the Los Angeles Mighty Ducks of Anaheim or whatever the fuck they’re called. I’m rooting for Calgary to win this game for two reasons: I have a ton of respect for the club because they played like beasts against the Lightning last season in a losing effort for the Cup
, and to complete the whole Western Conference coup. Correction: I had things upside-down; the Ducks won the series, therefore completing the coup.