@Rovitz: Predators in 6
They’ve been the best team all postseason long, despite being the last team to qualify.
The have the best defenseman in the series, and really you could say that about four of their guys and it would still be better than anyone Pittsburgh will put out on the ice this series. Combine that with them having the better, more consistent goaltending, and I think it’s too much for Pittsburgh to overcome.
The Penguins road to the Final should not have been this hard outside of Washington, I know they’re injured, but they still have forward depth that would make everyone in the league outside of Washington jealous. Still, that lack of talent on the blue-line comes back to haunt them.
I think we’re in for a classic series though, with each game being decided by one goal, and a couple of overtime games thrown in for good measure. It’s going to be awesome to see PK Subban hoist the Stanley Cup.
@BrianoMobile: Predators in 7
There’s an inside joke that kicks around the hockey community around this time of year. Something about how when writers pick a series to go seven, it’s because they wish they could just refuse to pick a winner. I’m just gonna own it and admit that’s what’s going on here. Looking at these rosters and how the playoffs have gone for these teams and I couldn’t put a sheet of paper between them.
My main reasoning for the decision I made here is that if Pittsburgh struggled to put away Ottawa, I can’t imagine them faring any better against Nashville. Ottawa couldn’t put out their only top 20 defenseman against Crosby and Malkin, but Nashville has about 3 or 4 top 20 defensemen, so they will be able to. Are any of them as good as Erik Karlsson? Absolutely not because nobody in the NHL is better than Erik Karlsson, but they’re all better than Marc Methot.
If Rinne can steal a game, I just don’t see how Pittsburgh takes 4 of 7 from this team, even without Johansen.
@CallMeBednard: Predators in 7
In a completely shocking move, I have to pick against the very team I’ve stood by the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. The reasoning comes down to momentum; both teams have it, but there’s more in Nashville.
The Penguins have downed tough, tough competition, and they’ve handled it phenomenally. I’m impressed again by them…but. But Nashville is red hot, and has never looked like the underdog despite their 16-seeded standing. Go back to any on-air thing I’ve done for any playoffs or anything and you’ll find my same philosophy: good teams with hot goalies get the job done. Pekka Rinne was one of the best goalies in the playoffs from the start, and he’s been the best one left for a while.
There will be no mercy for Pittsburgh from Smashville, and I’m excited to see team-oriented finesse of the penguins battle hard-nosed, gritty, tough Predators. Lock in your seat belts, and expect nothing. We’ve got fun to come.
@AVKingJames: Predators in 4
Right there is good.