Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sports: NHL (Stanley Cup Playoffs - First Round)

Now I'm not a big hockey fan but this year I decided to pay a little closer attention to the sport and started rooting for the Columbus Blue Jackets. I'm a bit biased as to the geographical region where I live so my choice for champions may not be the most accurate. I'll adjust them in the next round if what I pick is wrong but I'm going to make some bold picks for what will happen and predict the whole series in this post. 

Washington Capitals (1) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (WC2)
The Capitals are predicted to take the whole tournament by the experts and who am I to doubt them. The Maple leafs made it into the playoffs with only 40 wins but more points by one over the Islanders and Lightning. I'm still not sure how the scoring works but it looks like points are more important than wins, making this sport even more difficult to follow. I'll take the highly favored Capitals in this matchup. 
Game 1: The Capitals went down early but rallied back for a win in overtime.
Game 2: In double overtime, Toronto broke the tie to win 4-3.
Game 3: Toronto pushed back with a 4-3 overtime upset over Washington. 
Game 4: In what was a good night for Washington for multiple sports, the Capitals won 5-4 over Toronto to tie the series at 2 games each.
Game 5: Another overtime win for the Capitals by 2-1 gives them a 3-2 series lead over the Maple Leafs.
Game 6: One last overtime for the series, the Capitals take it 2-1 to win the series. 

Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (3)
My favorite team doesn't have an easy first round with the reigning champions in the Penguins taking them on. I'm not sure how it fares for teams that previously won but I'm pulling hard for the Blue Jackets as I watch them take on Pittsburgh in the first game of this round right now. I'm not hopeful but I'll root for Columbus until I can't anymore.

Game 1: The Penguins took the first game after a weak first period but coming in strong in the second with 3 goals while the Blue Jackets only got one. 
Game 2: The Blue Jackets went down the second game away 4 to 1 as they return home very behind in this deeply series.
Game 3: Despite home field advantage and an early lead, the Blue Jackets blow another one and lose 5-4 in overtime to the Penguins.
Game 4: The Blue Jackets got their first playoff win over the Penguins 5-3.
Game 5: The Penguins busted my bracket and destroyed my dreams of a Blue Jackets championship with 5-2 elimination win.

Montreal Canadiens (1) vs New York Rangers (WC1)
The Canadiens could be a real contender in the playoffs but as I look at the score for this first game the Rangers are already up one. Still, I'm going with the team that had a good enough season to earn a top spot. I'm picking the Montreal Canadiens to win this series.

Game 1: The Rangers took game one with a 2-0 win.
Game 2: Montreal takes the second game in overtime 4-3 to tie the series.
Game 3: The Canadiens take the lead in the series with a 3-1 win.
Game 4: The Rangers tie the series back up with a 2-1 win.
Game 5: The Rangers won in overtime 3-2 to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Game 6: The Rangers took the series with a 3-1 win. 

Ottawa Senators (2) vs Boston Bruins (3)
For some reason, I'm expecting a strong performance from the Senators in this playoff. I haven't heard much from the Boston Bruins. I think experts picked the Bruins more often but I'm having to stick with my gut on this series. I pick the Ottawa Senators to win over the Boston Bruins.

Game 1: The Bruins beat the Senators 2-1 for the first win of the series.
Game 2: In overtime, the Senators score to beat the Bruin 4-3.
Game 3: Again in overtime, the Senators win 4-3.
Game 4: Ottawa increased their lead with a 1-0 win over Boston.
Game 5: The Bruins stayed alive with an overtime win of 3-2 against the Senators. 
Game 6: The Senators beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime to win the series.

Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs Nashville Predators (WC2)
The Blackhawks won two years ago but my regional program has me watching the Predators when they are playing so I'm falling for Nashville in this competitive match. Predictions I've seen have the Blackhawks but are usually including a seven-game prediction as I think this will be a highly competitive match. I'm probably wrong but I'm going with the Nashville Predators.
Game 1: The Predators win game one with strong defense against the Blackhawks and only needing one goal. 
Game 2: Nashville took the second game 5-0 over Chicago, to make this series look like it could be a crazy upset that I predicted right.
Game 3: The Predators continue their upset miracle with another win 3-2 in overtime over the Blackhawks.
Game 4: The Predators sweep the Blackhawks with 4-1 win. They will face the winner of the Blues vs. Wild. The Blues will be their next opponent.
Minnesota Wild (2) vs St. Louis Blues (3)
I managed to catch a game of the Wild and haven't seen the Blues play yet. I know that Minnesota had some struggles near the end of the season working to keep their second place spot. The Blues are a mystery to me so I'll to pick what I know. I think the Minnesota Wild will win this series.
Game 1: The Blues took the first game 2-1 over the Wild in overtime.
Game 2: St. Louis takes another game over Minnesota 2-1 to take a bigger lead in the series. 
Game 3: Moving closer to a series sweep, the Blues beat the Wild 3-1.
Game 4: The Wild avoided elimination with a 2-0 win against the Blues. 
Game 5: Eliminated the Minnesota Wild, the St. Louis Blues won 4-3 in overtime. The Blues will face the Nashville Predators.

Anaheim Ducks (1) vs Calgary Flames (WC1)
The Mighty Ducks are riding high a great season, at least for a Pacific team. This division was not as strong as the others but Anaheim comes in facing the Calgary Flames. I'm not sure what will happen but I'm picking the Anaheim Ducks to win.

Game 1: The Ducks won the first game 3-2 over the Flames. 
Game 2: The Ducks take the second game 3-2 again over the Flames.
Game 3: Looking at a sweep, the Ducks win 5-4 in overtime. 
Game 4: Anaheim proved me right in a quick fashion with a sweep of the Calgary Flames. The Anaheim Ducks will face the winner of the Edmonton vs San Jose match.

Edmonton Oilers (2) vs San Jose Sharks (3)
The Oilers are the favored team but the Sharks appeal to me. This might be mainly from my previous experience of playing video games and winning a lot with them or their cool mascot. I'm going to pick the San Jose Sharks to win.
Game 1: The Sharks came back and won in overtime to defeat the Oilers in Edmonton.
Game 2: Edmonton ties the series against San Jose with a 2-0 win.
Game 3: Edmonton takes control with a 1-0 win. 
Game 4: The Sharks crush the Oiler 7-0 to tie the series at 2 games each.
Game 5: Edmonton won in overtime 4-3 to lead the series. 
Game 6: Edmonton took the series with a 3-1 victory.

My bold predictions continue with the Predators beating the Wild and the Ducks over the Sharks. I'm hoping the Predators will bring a big upset over the Ducks to be in the championship. On the other side of the bracket, I'm wishing for a Blue Jacket win over the Capitals and the Senators over the Canadiens. I hope the Blue Jackets beat Ottawa and face off against Nashville in the final. I don't think this will happen but a Columbus championship would be awesome. I know these picks are outrageous and I'll make some more levelheaded picks in my second round post.

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