2012 NHL Playoffs Preview


With 1230 games in the books, the 2011-2012 NHL regular season came to an end over the weekend.  An interesting season to say the least.  This year, the NHL saw:

  • the return to the great hockey city of Winnipeg
  • Brendan Shanahan use of video to explain suspensions and league issues
  • goal tending still dominate the game
  • more concussions and head shots (than in any other season I recall)
  • the rivalry between Boston and Vancouver become even more nasty
  • The Montreal Canadiens become a sheer disaster
  • Shane Doan score his first ever hat trick
  • Sam Gagner score 8 points in a single game for the Edmonton Oilers
  • Ottawa host a great All-Star game weekend
  • Evgeni Malkin become the league’s only 100 point man (109)
  • Steven Stamkos score 60 goals
  • Sidney Crosby return to action after being out for over a year with a concussion only to be called out by people in the media and NHL coaches as being a whiner, dirty player and the like
  • the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens miss the playoffs in the same season for only the fifth time in history
  • Rick Nash’s last game in Columbus

It is time for the second season to begin.  The NHL playoffs, the quest for the Holy Grail, Lord Stanley’s Cup.  The past couple of years, the NHL playoffs have been tremendous.  There has been some great action and some heated hockey being played.  I expect the Spring of 2012 will be more of the same.  After each team played 82 regular season games, the standings look like this:

Source: TSN

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

As you know the top 8 teams in each conference make the post season  with division leaders ceded as 1-2-3.  The Western Conference playoff matchups look like this:

The Eastern Conference matchups look like this:

We thought that we would make two sets of predictions:

  1. Based on who, as a hockey fan, we would want to see win and
  2. Based on our true predictions as to who we think will actually win.

2012 NHL Playoff Prediction – Fans Perspective

First Round – Western Conference

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks – Canucks in six games
San Jose Sharks vs.  St. Louis Blues – Sharks in seven games
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes – Coyotes in six games
Detroit Red Wings vs.  Nashville Predators – Predators in five games

First Round – Eastern Conference

Ottawa Senators vs.  New York Rangers – Ottawa in six games
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins – Boston in five games
New Jersey Devils vs.  Florida Panthers – New Jersey in six games
Philadelphia Flyers vs.  Pittsburgh Penguins – Philadelphia in seven games

Second Round – Western Conference

San Jose Sharks vs.  Vancouver Canucks – Canucks in seven games
Nashville Predators vs.  Phoenix Coyotes – Predators in six games

Second Round – Eastern Conference

Ottawa Senators vs.  Boston Bruins – Boston in six games
Philadephia Flyers vs.  New Jersey Devils – New Jersey in six games

Western Conference Finals

Nashville Predators vs.  Vancouver Canucks – Canucks in seven games

Eastern Conference Finals

New Jersey Devils vs.  Boston Bruins – Boston in six game

Stanley Cup Final

Boston Bruins vs.  Vancouver Canucks – Vancouver Canucks win the Stanley Cup in six games!

There you have it, as hockey fans we are suggesting a rematch between the Bruins and the Canucks with Canucks prevailing this time out.  Let us see how this compares to our actual 2012 Stanley Cup predictions.

The Hockey Fanatics 2012 NHL Playoff – Stanley Cup Predictions

First Round – Western Conference

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks – Canucks in six games
San Jose Sharks vs.  St. Louis Blues – Blues in seven games
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes – Blackhawks in six games
Detroit Red Wings vs.  Nashville Predators – Predators in six games

First Round – Eastern Conference

Ottawa Senators vs.  New York Rangers – Rangers in seven games
Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins – Boston in five games
New Jersey Devils vs.  Florida Panthers – New Jersey in six games
Philadelphia Flyers vs.  Pittsburgh Penguins – Pittsburgh in seven games

Second Round – Western Conference

San Jose Sharks vs.  Vancouver Canucks – Canucks in seven games
Nashville Predators vs.  St. Louis Blues – Predators in six games

Second Round – Eastern Conference

New Jersey Devils vs.  New York Rangers – New York in six games
Pittsburgh Penguins vs.  Boston Bruins – Boston in seven games

Western Conference Finals

Nashville Predators vs.  Vancouver Canucks – Canucks in seven games

Eastern Conference Finals

Boston Bruins vs.  New York Rangers – Boston in six game

Stanley Cup Final

Boston Bruins vs.  Vancouver Canucks – Vancouver Canucks win the Stanley Cup in six games!

Well now, the same two Stanley Cup finalists?  Ooh could a Boston / Vancouver finals be in the works for the second consecutive year?  Well not if these teams have something to say about it.

Dark Horse Picks to Wins the Stanley Cup in 2012


Here is a look at four teams that have a good chance at winning the Stanley Cup if everything aligns correctly.

Western Conference

Nashville Predators -year in and year out the Predators have been a very consistent team.  If they can get out of the first round look out.  Great goaltending, solid defense and the addition of over-hyped Russian Alexander Radulov,  the Predators just might be waiting to feast on Western conference opponents this Spring.

San Jose Sharks – after barely sneaking into the playoffs, the Sharks could be poised to win their first Cup.  Lord knows that people have been picking the Sharks to do so for the past few years, but they always fizzle come playoff time.  I have been watching a lot of Sharks games down the stretch.  Joe Thornton is on a mission and for perhaps the first time in a number of years the Sharks are not on everyone’s playoff list as a team to beat.  This could be the year.  The Sharks have added grit, toughness and have a well balanced attack.  Go Sharks!

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers – the Rangers have quietly had a great year in the NHL.  However there seems to be some mystique around to whether this team can be a solid contender for the Cup.  Their first round opponents the Ottawa Senators won four of six meetings in the regular season, but as we all know you can throw the regular season stats out the window.

New Jersey Devils – I like the Devils.  The have impressed me a lot this year.  Some great scoring talent up front that is just now finding their stride.  Another great season from veteran forward Patrick Elias and with Kovalchuck flying as he has been in recent weeks, this could be Martin Brodeur’s swan song.  I would not be surprised if the Devils won a couple of rounds in this year’s playoffs.

Team By Team Insight

Here is a look at why and why not each team that has qualified for the 2012 NHL post season will or won’t wing the Stanley Cup.

Los Angeles Kings
Why they will win:  Two words, Johnathan Quick.
Why they won’t win:  This team could not score all season, what makes you think they will start now?

Vancouver Canucks
Why they will win:  I am a firm believer that you have to make it to the show (the finals) and lose before you can win.  The Canucks did that last year.  They are tougher and more focused this Spring.
Why they won’t win:  Need well balanced scoring from the second and third lines to contribute to the offense.

San Jose Sharks
Why they will win:  There is no better time than the present.  They’re due.
Why they won’t win:  Touch conference to come out of if Joe Thornton has to do everything himself.

St. Louis Blues
Why they will win:  Great goaltending and strong work ethic.
Why they won’t win:  Lack of team durabilty and toughness down the stretch.

Chicago Blackhawks
Why they will win:  The heart and soul of captain Toews.
Why they won’t win:  Poor goaltending.

Phoenix Coyotes
Why they will win:  Riding the hot goaltending of Mike Smith.
Why they won’t win:  Lack of playoff experience.

Detroit Red Wings
Why they will win:  Great management.
Why they won’t win:  Too old to make the two month run.

Nashville Predators
Why they will win:  Strong work ethic.
Why they won’t win:  Lack of timely scoring.

Ottawa Senators
Why they will win:  The NHL needs a Cinderella story.
Why they won’t win:  It is just in the cards for a Canadian team not to win the Stanley Cup.  (See Canucks (twice), Flames and Oilers who all lost in game seven of the Stanley Cup in the past seven years).

New York Rangers
Why they will win:  Strong goaltending from King Henrik and a favorable travel calendar.
Why they won’t win:  The playoffs are a different beast from that of the regular season.

Washington Capitals
Why they will win:  Alexander Ovechkin
Why they won’t win:  Alexander Ovechkin

Boston Bruins
Why they will win:  Zdeno Chara and because they are the defending champs.
Why they won’t win:  Because they are the defending champs, teams will take them more serious.  Also should they face the Canucks in the finals, the Canucks will not let a repeat of last year’s finals happen again.

New Jersey Devils
Why they will win:  Total team effort and healthy roster.
Why they won’t win:  Young defense with inexperience.

Florida Panthers
Why they will win:   Fluke.
Why they won’t win:  The Panthers are just one of those teams that you see as never winning a Stanley Cup.

Philadelphia Flyers
Why they will win:  Toughness yet disciplined play.
Why they won’t win:  Goaltending.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Why they will win:  Sid and Geno.
Why they won’t win:  Costly injuries.

There you have it, The Hockey Fanatics first ever NHL Playoff Prediction Edition.  Share your predictions with us.  Join in the conversation on Twitter @hockeyfanatics.

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