April 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; General view of game seven of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals between the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals Preview And Predictions


Earlier I did a run down of the Western Conference Playoff Semifinals, you can see it here before the puck drops this afternoon on the Eastern Conference games.  Two games, four teams, 200 miles between them.

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Much like most of the NHL and it’s fans, I assumed, incorrectly, that the return of Sidney Crosby to the Pittsburgh Penguins would mean the return of the Penguins dominating the playoffs.  In a battle of who could create the bigger upset, the Philadelphia Flyers walked away the victor in 6 games.  Wishful thinking on my part lead to me picking the Florida Panthers in 4 games, when in actuality the New Jersey Devils took them to Game 7 in double overtime and won.

The breakdown: The Devils have a solid team, with a lack of cohesiveness.  The team has a couple big names with big talent, but if they all don’t show up, you start to see holes in the team.  They don’t have the depth that the Flyers have.  Sure, Martin Broudeur is a reliable goaltender, but he’s pushing 40, he plays a very physical game that puts him in danger of getting hit.  Despite his years perfecting his game in the net, the game as a whole has changed and he might not adapt to the fast-hard hitting game that is the Flyers.

Cait Fator: Flyers

Overall: Flyers in 7

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I really struggled with the Eastern Conference match ups.  Advancing the the playoffs, I had the Ottawa Senators in 5 games (not the New York Rangers in 7) and the Boston Bruins in 5 (not the Washington Capitals in 7).  Thank goodness I haven’t put anything on these predictions.

The breakdown: Rangers finished up their Game 7 in the quarterfinals Thursday night and are now switching gears for a 3pm puck drop against the Capitals who finished up Wednesday night.  With their depth and All Star goalie, the Rangers have a chance to take this series easily.  The Capitals, much like the Devils, are not a team.  They don’t have their usual goalie or backup goalie, they have a rookie with very few games under his belt.  He’s a  goalie who has admitted that he gets into his own head.  If only a few Capitals show up, it’ll be a scary series.

Cait Factor: Rangers

Overall: Rangers in 6

Puck drops at 1pm MST for the Rangers v Capitals game and tomorrow at 1pm MST for the Flyers v Devils game.

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