1) San Jose -425
8) Colorado +325
SJ has the top seed for the second straight year. Last year they fell to the Ducks and have developed the reputation as a great regular season but bad playoff team. SJ has a potent offense but Evgeni Nabokov is not a big game goalie and his performance for the Russians against Canada proved this to be true. The Avs have a young team that started the season strong but head into the playoffs stuggling. Paul Stastny is the best of the young guns and has the ability to carry this team. The Avs are led by rookie head coach Joe Sacco from Medford.
Final wager: Avs $50 to win $165
2) Chicago -450
7) Nashville +300
I really like the offense of the Hawks. Kane and Toews are really fun to watch and their defensemen really like to attack the zone. The goaltending is what scares me on this team. Nashville is one of those teams that seems to be in the playoff picture the last few years but doesn’t have a face of the franchise type of player. The high moneyline is making me take a flyer on the Preds to pull the upset.
Final wager: Nashville $50 to win $150
3) Vancouver -240
6) LA +190
This will be the best series of the first round. I have been hyping up the Kings and I am pleased with their matchup with the Canucks while avoiding SJ and Chicago. Vancouver is solid and led by the Sedin brothers. Henrik is the better brother but they signed the same contract this year. Daniel owes him some money because Henrik should be making more. Van has the goaltending edge on paper with the Italian Canadian Roberto Luongo, but the man who replaced Broduer in the Olympics has been struggling down the stretch. Quick was playing great for LA but has also struggled down the stretch and there are rumblings of a goalie controversy in LA heading into the playoffs but Quick will get the start in Game 1. Hopefully his experience of playing at the Mullins Center will help him right the ship. LA will need Anze Kopitar to be the leader on the offense.
Final wager: LA $125 to win $240
4) Phoenix +155
5) Detroit -195
The Wings are in unfamiliar territory starting the playoffs on the road. Phoenix is one of the surprise teams of the season. Ilya Bryzgalov has been one of the top goalies in the league and has carried the Coyotes all year. I like rooting against the Wings and very rarely take them in a series.
Final wager: Phoenix $65 to win $100