To my surprise, the Caps showed some guts by beating the Rangers in the final game of the year, thus preventing the Rangers from winning the Presidents Trophy. With that victory and a Panthers win and Senators loss, the Caps have found themselves in the predictable position of meeting the Bruins in the 1st Round.
Do the Caps have anything to be afraid of? No, because they have won three of the four meetings against the Bruins this year (5-3 win, 4-1 loss, 4-3 win, and 3-2 win).
The Caps goaltenders Vokoun and Neuvirth are both injured, but Braden Holtby is an excellent goalie and had 35 saves in the 4-1 victory over the Rangers. In fact, Holtby’s numbers in seven games played this year are better than both Vokoun and Neuvirth. Holtby has a Save Percentage of .922 , one shutout, and a GAA of 2.49; while, Vokoun, in 48 games played, has a Save Percentage of .917, four shutouts, and a GAA of 2.51.
If the Caps lay it all on the line and Holtby can overcome the nerves and provide the support in net; then, the Caps have a legitimate chance of dethroning the Bruins. Thomas and the Bruins are going to be extremely tough and I am picking them to win the series but it would not shock me if the Caps were able to orchestrate an upset. I hope that the Caps win but my money is on the Bruins.
Penguins vs. Flyers
The Flyers have won four of the six games this year (3-2 win, 4-2 win, 6-4 loss, 3-2 win, 6-4 win, and 4-2 loss) but the Penguins are much stronger now that they are healthy (including Crosby being back) so I am predicting a Penguins series win—and maybe in as few as five games. In fact, I am predicting the Pens to be the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions.
Rangers vs. Senators
The Rangers are big favorites to win this series but I do not know why? In the four games between the teams the Senators have won three of them (5-4 win, 3-2 loss, 3-0 win, 4-1 win). I am predicting the Rangers to fall in the 1st Round against the Sens. Lundqvist has been the main reason for the Rangers great success this year, and in my opinion, the rest of the team is not deep enough to give them a good chance to win the Cup. If they manage to overcome the Senators, I believe they would fall in either the 2nd or 3rd Round depending on who they would have to meet. The Senators will likely take care of the Rangers in six games.
Devils vs. Panthers
The Devils and Panthers have split the four games between them this year; however, with everything on the line the Devils should be able to overcome the Panthers within five games.