Flyers Red Wings Predators Capitals 2016 NHL Playoff Predictions
The 2016 NHL playoffs are approaching, approaching fast. It’s a tight wild card race in the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference is pretty much all locked up.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Detroit Red Wings
Both teams as of 3/28/16 are sitting on 85 points a piece however the Flyers hold a wild card spot due to one game in hand. Being a Flyers fan, the city of Philadelphia will be upset one way or another.
Let’s assume they squeeze into the playoffs. They have shown all season long they do not have the stamina or big bodies to establish a strong fore-check. Wayne Simmonds shows flashes here and there but he reminds me of a football player, gets lazy when they need him the most. Matt Read? He will be gone come summer time.
In the playoffs, teams that win are the teams who play like the Chicago Blackhawks, LA Kings, Nashville Predators and St Louis Blues. They all have big bodies and they play a very tight fore-check in the corners waiting for the opposition to make a mistake, then boom, their snipers score.
The Flyers don’t possess this, at least not yet, I think. Now let’s assume they don’t get in, the “Philly experts” will come out of the water and blame it on this game they lost, that game they lost etc. Keep in mind Flyers’ fans, point the fingers at Paul Holmgren, this is the team he built.
Hextall is the savior and he will bring in the big bodies, playing LA style hockey. It will happen one day soon. And the prospects he already possess are big bodies, just waiting for them to put on more weight.
Prediction: The Flyers will squeeze in because Detroit is not the same Detroit team and their old players don’t have the stamina anymore, and their young guns are not experienced enough, yet.
Is Justin Williams the missing piece? Maybe. Is TJ Oshie the missing piece? Maybe. Is Mike Richards the missing piece? I think so.
As I mentioned above about the Flyers, Richards is one of those players who plays with the body (although he’s average size) and creates chances for the players around him. Expect him to get 2nd or possibly first line action when needed.
Prediction: Holtby is the backbone of this Washington squad and he has been remarkable. When he first came into the league, I pointed at my TV and said he will be a top 3 goaltender one day. That day is now. But can he go through a grueling playoffs?
With the defense in front of him they need to tighten up. It’s not like he faces different teams each game like the regular season. He faces the same team in a best of 7 match-up and he will get lit up once maybe twice.
I don’t see the Capitals getting out of the first round. However I am only saying this because they pucked me the last two seasons. My gut says they will get out of the first round destroying either the Flyers or Red Wings 4 straight.
Technically they could miss out on the 2016 playoffs but let’s be real here, Colorado nor Minnesota will catch up to them. Minnesota pretty much took the final wild card spot with 5 points ahead of Colorado. Colorado’s done, it’s as simple as that.
Nashville is one of those teams I mentioned above, a hard-hitting, hard forec-hecking style team. Do they have the stamina to play that style throughout the playoffs if they have a deep run? Maybe. But Pekka Rinne worries me. He had an off-season, he was due for one. He is such a great goalie not just on the ice but also in the locker room. You will and have NEVER heard this guy complain about ice time.
Prediction: The Western Conference is going to be very hard to predict but I will say this, the Blackhawks band-aid patch work will cost them a first round exit. If the Predators happen to play the Kings in the first round, they should knock out the Kings and will be one of the best series to watch if you’re into hard-hitting playoff, low scoring style games.
PS – Stats don’t mean squat in the playoffs. So if you came here for stats, that’s about 3 minutes you will never get back 😉
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