With the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin just a few hours from now, five members of the Hockey Independent writing staff have come together to predict each and every first round series of this year’s postseason. The contributing authors to today’s piece will be Cris Cohen (New York Rangers), Seth Levin (New Jersey Devils), Bill Philp (Tampa Bay Lightning), Chris Triantafilis (New York Islanders) and myself, Benjamin Woodward (Boston Bruins). Each writer has also included his/her series “X-Factor” for each match-up. In each case, the performance (or lack thereof) of the “X-Factor” could determine the outcome of the series. Enjoy!
(7) Ottawa Senators vs. (1) Pittsburgh Penguins
Cohen– Penguins win in 7 . X-Factor –> It’s hard to pick against Craig Anderson and the pesky Sens, but Tomas Vokoun should provide decent enough stability to let whatever the Pens can score to stand up.
Levin– Penguins win in 6 . X-Factor –> Need to get enough goaltending.
Philp– Penguins win in 4 . X-Factor –> Sidney Crosby
Triantafilis– Senators win in 6 . X-Factor –> Jason Spezza and a Penguins’ team that is coming off a grueling series with the New York Islanders.
Woodward– Senators win in 7. X-Factor –> Pittsburgh looks vulnerable. Ottawa is for real. Craig Anderson will make the difference.
(6) New York Rangers vs. (4) Boston Bruins
Cohen– Rangers win in 7. X-Factor –> The physical play on both sides – which team can dish out the most and which team can withstand it.
Levin– Bruins win in 7 . X-Factor –> Depth will wear down Rangers, but injuries on D are a concern.
Philp– Bruins win in 6. X-Factor –> Zdeno Chara and the defense.
Triantafilis– Bruins win in 6 . X-Factor –> Rangers’ failures on the power-play and Tuuka Rask. The Rangers have Lundqvist, but they can only be bailed out for so long if they cannot convert with the man advantage. Tuukka Rask is better than Braden Holtby.
Woodward– Rangers win in 7. X-Factor –> Can Boston turn incredible momentum into Round 2 success?
(6) San Jose Sharks vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings
Cohen– Kings win in 6. X-Factor –> Kings’ defense
Levin– Kings win in 7 . X-Factor –> Size of Kings too much for Sharks to handle over the course of the series.
Philp– Sharks win in 7. X-Factor –> Antti Niemi
Triantafilis– Sharks win in 6 . X-Factor –> San Jose’s depth. They aren’t the Marleau-Thornton show anymore. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski are the big game players that the other two never were.
Woodward– Kings win in 5. X-Factor –> The Kings looked mighty impressive in dismantling my pre-playoffs Cup favorite in Round 1. Smell a repeat?
(7) Detroit Red Wings vs. (1) Chicago Blackhawks
Cohen– Blackhawks win in 6. X-Factor –> How much of a toll has Round 1 taken on an aging Detroit team?
Levin– Blackhawks win in 5 . X-Factor –> Blackhawks have too many high end players.
Philp– Blackhawks win in 7. X-Factor –> Marian Hossa
Triantafilis– Blackhawks win in 7 . X-Factor –> Jonathan Toews
Woodward– Blackhawks win in 6. X-Factor –> Corey Crawford
Filed Under: Boston Bruins • Chicago Blackhawks • Detroit Red Wings • Eastern Conference • Featured • Los Angeles Kings • New York Rangers • NHL • NHL Teams • Ottawa Senators • Pittsburgh Penguins • Prospects • Rumors • San Jose Sharks • Satire • Western Conference
About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.