Tomorrow night a resilient Capitals team begins a best-of-seven playoff series against Boston. A collection of national experts expect the defending Stanley Cup champ Bruins to win the series, and it’s easy to understand why.
The Bruins have one of the best goalies on the planet, Tim Thomas, while the Caps will start their third-stringer, Braden Holtby. But, you know what, screw the national experts. We convened a panel of Mr. Irrelevant staff, friends and family to predict how the series will unfold, and we want your predictions in the comments. Guest post for the closest prediction.
Andy Peden: Caps in six.
It’s real simple. If it’s a big game, the Caps will lose. Everything about this series says the Bruins win. Tim Thomas, Chara against Ovie, Caps goalie injuries, etc. So I say Caps in six!
Matt Terl: Caps in seven.
Caps in seven, with an unexpectedly strong series from Alexander Semin. I have no particular evidence for either of these things, of course. Nearly every time I really focus on a Caps game this season they immediately give up two goals and/or start playing conservative prevent defense, which has convinced me that I’m a jinx AND left my opinions on the post-Boudreau squad remarkably unformed. I’m basically just assuming that we’ll just get the most improbable-sounding outcome; a gutty, hard-fought seven-game series with Semin as its star fits that bill.
Andy Mottram: Bruins in five, we think.
Wish I knew what to expect. This team has been all over the place this season. Even though they generally were better down the stretch they still have more unknowns than knowns. Ovi lowest point total in several years, Backstrom still not in a groove, Green has been almost invisible since his return, goalie injuries, 4th line has been better than the 2nd or 3rd. Plus they get to open against the reigning Cup holders. All in all, I think if they can make it to a Game 6 without getting blown out in any of the games, they will have exceeded my expectations.
Jamie Mottram: Bruins in seven.
An upset would be nice, but I just hope all the games are broadcast nationally. Bruins in seven.
Ryan Mottram: Caps in seven.
The Caps have been so unpredictable this season, but they have really gotten their shit together down the stretch. At this point the only real weakness is in net, but I believe Holtby will be solid in the playoffs. If Backstrom can continue to gain confidence (and score goals) in the first round, I think we will be in good shape. With that said, the Caps beat the Bruins but it takes all seven games to do so.
Jack Kogod: Caps in six.
I don’t really know anything about hockey. The guy I carpool with likes the Caps in six, for what it’s worth.
For the past few years everyone in town has loved the Caps and happily filled up all available seats on the bandwagon. This year people seem to be fed up with the early exits, the struggles of the season and Ovi’s off year.
Local and national media are rightfully looking at a series between the defending Stanley Cup champs and the team that always lets you down and seeing the obvious. The Bruins are bigger, stronger, play a playoff style and have one of the best goalies on the planet. The Caps have an undefined style, many of their stars (Semin & Green we’re looking at you) disappear in April, and their goalies as of today have combined to start in something like seven games for the Caps. Ever.
This is playoff hockey and things are rarely what they seem. A bounce here, a deflection there, a White House snub back there. These are the kinds of things that change a series and the entire impression of a team. There are only two ways the Caps win this series.
1. The talent-laden roster finally gels in the spring and exceeds our expectations.
2. We get lucky for once.
One of those will happen. Caps in six! Don’t stop believin’! Unleash the fury! Reverse the curse!
Rob Abbott: Bruins in six.
My enthusiasm for hockey and the Caps far outweighs my knowledge of either, so I can’t really break down the X’s and O’s. My heart says the Caps are freed from high expectations and will fare better as the underdog this year than they have as the favorite in the past. My head says that the Bruins are tougher, healthier, and have an edge between the pipes. I’m going with my head. Bruins in six. Prove me wrong Caps.
Chris Mottram: Caps in six.
Thanks to Caps games being blacked out on Comcast in NC, I have not watched enough of them to give you a grand X’s and O’s breakdown. But they were 3-1 against Boston this season, including going 2-0 in Boston, so that’s a good sign, right?! With Backstrom back, the Caps are healthy again (except at goalie, don’t look back there), so their offense should continue to show the signs of life it did down the stretch. Going with the homer pick: Caps in six.
JP Finlay: Bruins in five.
I want to be wrong here, but I’ve been burnt by the Caps too many times over the last few years. A third-string goalie with a proclivity for soft goals overrides any “we’re the underdog” role the Caps might play up. Bruins play tough, playoff hockey. I’m not sure what the Caps play anymore. Maybe Obama can put the DC voodoo on him.