2012 PLAYOFFS: NHL first-round previews

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After the jump, we are taking a quick shot at the other seven first-round series.  The West is pretty much a crapshoot.
 
We are also trying to pinpoint some Rinkotology picks.  They probably don't even make sense.  Your Rinkotology Fantasy team goes hand-in-hand with your free bracket.  If you've completed the free bracket entry, then you can build your Rinkotology fantasy team from that.  The goal is to get the most points out of a player before that player's team is bounced from the playoffs.
 
For example:
 
1. Your team captain should be someone you think is making it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Case closed.
 
2. Taking the Sens' Erik Karlsson as one of your 4 d-men is a solid move.  He may put up some points, and you will have saved one of your point-producing forward spots for the second round.  But what if the Sens make it to the second round?  It's all based on how you feel the playoffs will unfold.
 
3. Defense is a must in the playoffs.  Most offensive players won't produce at the same pace they clicked at in the regular season.  Look at the Rangers. Taking Lundqvist can get you 40 points (5 points per win) if you think they're at least making it to the East finals.  If the Rangers go that far, taking Gaborik means he would need to score 13 goals (at 3 points each) to match Lundqvist's 40 points.  Then again, Gaborik can put up some assists to help push that point total.  But do you make Gaborik your captain, which doubles his point totals?  A lot of strategy involved, but anything can happen.
 
Click READ MORE for the previews.
 
 
 
 
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As the season was winding down, it was looking like the 1/8 matchup was going to be Caps/Rangers.  It could've almost been taken to the bank.  But that turned out to be unlimited bullshit.  The Sens somehow snaked themselves into the 8 seed, setting up a trip to MSG to kick off the playoffs.  Amazing season for the Sens, though.  Pretty sure they weren't seen as a legitimate playoff contender when the season started.
 
And, then, there's the Rangers.  They've been at the helm of the Eastern Conference ship for most of the season.  The Pens were flirting with the #1 seed a couple weeks ago, but the Rangers refused to slip up.  They have scorers, a solid blue line, and an elite goaltender.   New York City will have a meltdown if the Rangers don't get out of this series.
 
SEASON SERIES: Who cares.
 
OTTAWA RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Milan Michalek (F)
 
RANGERS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Gaborik's legs may fall off.  Lundqvist could be a legit pick.
 
SERIES PREDICTION: Rangers
 
 
 
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This series is embarrassing just for the fact that everyone will be talking about Tim Thomas' White House snub when the series shifts to D.C.  Snore.  The Bruins are still coming in as defending Cup champs, so they ain't dead yet.  
 
Caps could be dangerous and surprise the Bruins if they just say f it and start playing wide-open, exciting hockey again.  They have nothing to lose.  Most of their fans are watching Redskins game tape and jerking off to RGIII.
 
SEASON SERIES: Caps won three of four.
 
CAPITALS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Ovechkin.  This goes with the theory of getting as much as you can from a player before his team is bounced.
 
BRUINS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: There is an obesity tracker on your Rinko roster, so Tim Thomas probably isn't a lead-pipe lock.  Seguin had a solid playoff run last season we think. Patrice Bergeron would have been a good pick if clutching and grabbing were a point category.
 
SERIES PREDICTION: Bruins

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No clue what to say about this series.  Got to love Florida competing with a roster of misfit toys.  The Devils are kind of a sneaky team in that they put up some points in the standings this season all the while playing the Rangers, Flyers, and Pens almost 20 times.
 
 
SEASON SERIES: Who cares.
 
DEVILS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: llya Kovalchuk all day.
 
PANTHERS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Scott Mellanby.
 
SERIES PREDICTION: Devils.  Series may go the distance.

 
 
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Yeah right.  We don't even have the Kings new logo.
 
SEASON SERIES: Who cares.
 
KINGS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Kopitarville.
 
CANUCKS RINKOTOLOGY PICK:HenrIk Sedin will have to carry the load with Daniel out. Dare you go with with LOLuongo?
 
SERIES PREDICTION: We took the Kings for $200 at 27:1 odds to win the Cup before the season started.  Not abandoning them now.

 
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It's been nice to see the Blues take over the Central Division, and that's almost completely attributable to Ken Hitchcock.  It all means nothing if an experienced Sharks team comes in and baptizes them.
 
SEASON SERIES: Who cares.
 
SHARKS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Joe Pavelski is good for some goals, including his penchant for OT game-winners.
 
BLUES RINKOTOLOGY PICK: If you think the Blues are primed for a deep run, it's probably safest to go with their goalie.  But it sucks because Elliott and Halak have been tending net by committee all season.  And their offense has been by committee, as well.  One of the toughest teams to pick from. David Backes is whatev.
 
SERIES PREDICTION: Blues.
 

 
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No clue whatsoever.  Toews is out with a concussion, so that's up in the air. The fact that Phoenix is just going to move anyway really prevents us from investing any time in them.
 
SEASON SERIES: Who cares.
 
BLACKHAWKS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Patrick Kane is good for three to four goals.
 
COYOTES RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Probably have to go with Vrbata.  Goalie Mike Smith had an under-the-rader 38 wins this season, though, so he'd be a solid pick if you think the Coyotes are gonna make some noise.
 
SERIES PREDICTION: Coyotes just because.
 

 
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This should be a good one.  First time in a long time that you can say the Red Wings are the underdog in a first-round series.  That should probably get them all jammed up.

 

SEASON SERIES: Who cares.
 
RED WINGS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: Franzen is heating up.
 
PREDATORS RINKOTOLOGY PICK: If the Preds are going deep, goalie Rinne is the move to make.
 
SERIES PREDICTION: Predators in 3.
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

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