With a record of 28-17 over the past three postseasons, your HFNHL Nostradamus is back baby! THE EAST 1. Florida Panthers vs. 8. Ottawa Senators Season Series: 2-0 Senators Analysis: This was no doubt the team that Otten wanted to avoid in round one. He's had his way with a lot of the top teams in the league this year, but just hasn't been able to crack the Sens (a team that ousted him in round one two years ago). On paper, the Panthers have a favorable match up. But we all know what paper means. It will likely come down to the Panthers being able to capitalize on their limited offensive chances (since the Sens allow very few shots). Their powerplay will also have to be stronger than it was in the regular season. The Sens just have to get everything on net and hope that Jon Quick isn't ready to take the reigns (after Chris Mason led the Panthers to the Cup Final last year). Prediction: Florida Panthers in 7 Ottawa is going to scare the bejesus out the Panthers, but in the end, I think they'll come out on top. 2. Montreal Canadiens vs. 7. Philadelphia Flyers Season Series: 2-0 Flyers Analysis: Interestingly enough, we've got another top seed losing their season series against their opponent. The Habs have had a fantastic season and it'll be interesting to see how they handle their first big playoff test. Philadelphia squeaked their way into the playoffs and should provide an easy target for Montreal. That being said, Montreal has struggled lately on the road and in order to close this series out, they'll have to likely win in Philly. The Flyers are going to have to find a way to crack the strong Montreal penalty kill, as it's unlikely they'll outscore the Habs 5 on 5. Prediction: Montreal Canadiens in 5 The Habs are just too strong and I don't have faith in the Flyers, after beating up on some of the bottom feeder teams to get into the playoffs. They've got the third lowest goals for in the league, where as the Habs have the 2nd best goals against. Nuff said. 3. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 6. New York Islanders Season Series: 4-4 TIE Analysis: This should be a good match up between one of the stronger offensive teams in the East (PIT) and one of the strongest defensive teams (NYI). The season series unfolded so early that I'm not sure we can tell anything from it. The Islanders have a veteran laden offensive unit, but youth on the back end and in goal. Where as Pittsburgh has a lot of top end skill and talent, but lack the depth of NYI. It'll likely come down to goaltending and which European goalie can take their team over the top; Bryzgalov or Rask. Prediction: New York Islanders in 6 Call it hunch, but I like the Islanders and the depth and leadership they've got at forward. 4. Buffalo Sabres vs. 5. New Jersey Devils Season Series: 2-0 Devils Analysis: The Sabres struggled mightily after acquiring Alex Ovechkin. Leading the East at the time, the team's chemistry took a huge hit. But the Sabres have been outstanding in the past few weeks leading up to the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Devils have struggled a bit heading into the postseason and lost some of the momentum they were gaining. The story of this series is likely to be Buffalo's defense versus New Jersey's offense. Ryan Miller is no doubt the best goaltender in this series, which means the Bulin Wall is going to have to show he's still got it to help the Devils move on. Prediction: Buffalo Sabres in 5 I think Buffalo has finally found chemistry with Ovechkin and with Miller in net, this series could be over quick for Jersey. THE West 1. St. Louis Blues vs. 8. Columbus Blue Jackets Season Series: 5-3 Blues Analysis: The President's trophy winners aim to avoid the dreaded Quain first round curse this year. Columbus squeezed in the back door of the playoffs, but they're a better team than your typical 8th seed. On paper, this is a huge mismatch. The Blues have one of the strongest offenses in the league, while the Jackets are in the bottom third of the league in goals against. The Blues have a killer powerplay, while the Jackets have one of the league's worst penalty kills. Tomas Vokoun is going to have to play his ass off to get this one done for Columbus. Prediction: St. Louis Blues in 5 The Blues are just too strong this year and I really can't see them losing in round one. 2. Colorado Avalanche vs. 7. Edmonton Oilers Season Series: 4-4 TIE Analysis: Arguably, this might have been the series Ville wanted to avoid as the Oilers have played the Avalanche very tough this season. The Avs were red hot heading into the playoffs, so naturally it makes sense that they'd carry that over against the Oilers...who were merely lukewarm. The Avs are a strong, physical team that seems pretty built for a long playoff run, where as the Oilers are strong defensively and do a great job on the penalty kill. Prediction: Colorado Avalanche in 6 Again, I think the Avs are just a tad too strong for the Oilers to handle, especially physically where they can wear down Edmonton defensively. 3. Dallas Stars vs. 6. Detroit Red Wings Season Series: 1-1 TIE Analysis: Father versus son. Amazing. But you've also got a defensive stalwart versus an offensive juggernaut and the potential Hart Trophy winner. In order to pull off the upset, the Wings special teams are going to have to come to life for the first time this year. Where as the Stars are going to have to play a stingier defensive game, as it's unlikely they'll be able to keep that fast paced offensive game going in D-town. Prediction: Detroit Red Wings in 7 Only seems fair to have this one going 7 games. Makes for better drama. I think the Wings behind King Henrik steal this one. 4. Calgary Flames vs. 5. Vancouver Canucks Season Series: 6-2 Flames Analysis: Hard to believe how dominant the Flames have been against Vancouver this season. It's also hard to believe that this is a battle between the 4 and 5 seeded teams, as both are fantastic. The Nucks are obviously looking to repeat as Cup champions, where as Kershaw is looking for his first cup. You've got two great goalies going at it. Two high powered offenses. Two deep teams. It'll come down to a few things. 1. Vancouver has been the better defensive team this season, but can they defend against the Flames who can throw out 4 scoring lines. And can Calgary break through Vancouver's strong penalty kill to score with the man advantage? Prediction: Calgary Flames in 6 Another hunch, but I think the Flames have what it takes this year. Heaven forbid, are they no longer the Flamettes?