I myself completed an NHL playoff bracket. I picked the San Jose Sharks to win it all against the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final. I'm picking the Sharks because this year has been a season like no other for them. Every year they always do well in the regular season but there is always a point in the playoffs where a certain aspect of their game goes downhill for them. Last year they were neck in neck with the LA Kings in the first round. They had a solid defense but they had trouble scoring goals. This lead to a 1-0 loss in game seven. This year the Sharks face these very same LA Kings.
The Sharks are eager to get revenge on the Kings this year and I think that they will because this is their year. They have a stingy defense system and putting the puck in the back of the net is now common for them. The Sharks will likely face the Anahiem Ducks in the second round because the Ducks are playing a Dallas Stars team that doesn't have much depth at all. The Ducks have a slightly stronger offense than San Jose but he Sharks have a more stingy defense. They also have the edge in goaltending because Anti Niemi is way more consistent than Fredrick Anderson.
If the Sharks win in this series they will then advance to the Western Conference final. In this series they will likely face a Chicago Blackhawks team that has won a lot of games lately. I believe that they will get through the slumping St. Louis Blues squad and then they will knock off the winner of the series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnisota Wild. It who will come out on top in that series. However, I believe that Chicago will come out on top against whoever wins that series.
The Sharks and Blackhawks would be a competitive and tight western conference final. I believe that the Sharks would come out on top because they have an edge over Chicago offensively.
I believe that the Boston Bruins will come out at the top of the eastern conference. I believe that Detroit Redwings will be the toughest test for them. This will be a tight and competative first round competition because these two teams have a very similar style of play. These stingy defense systems have been very effective for both of these teams. However, I see the Bruins coming out on top because their solid and well rounded defense as well as their powerhouse offense with loads of depth make them bound to thrive on a deep postseason run. They will face either Montreal or Tampa Bay in the second round and they will rout wichever of these two teams they face.
In the conference finals they will likely face a Philidelphia Flyers who were on a role at the end of the regular season. The Flyers play similar to the Bruins just like the Redwings but the Bruins have the most well rounded game which is why I see them winning this series.
I may seem a bit biast because I am predicting my favorite team (The Sharks) to beat my second favorite team (The Bruins) in the stanley cup final. This is slightly the case. However, in the entire league these to teams play the most well rounded hockey. Anti Niemi and Tukah Rask are the biggest reason that these two teams are solid defensively. These teams have excellent blue liners, but it is the goaltenders that make the clutch saves.
Offensively the Bruins get contributions from all four lines. They have the most depth in the league on offense because all of their lines are clicking. The top line is being led by Patrice Bergeron who is having a phenomenal year playing with Brad Marchand and Loui Erickson. The same goes to the second line where Jerome Iginla has been a goal scoring machine and David Krechi and Millan Lucic have been creating scoring chances and setting him up. The third line is a quick line with three good skaters by the name of Chris Kelly, Reilly Smith and Carl Soderburg.
The Sharks have depth, but not as much as the Bruins. However, I am picking the Sharks because their top six forwards are all on a role. Joe Pavelski scored forty one goals this season. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thorton play fabulous together because Joe Thorton is a playmaker who lead the team in assists and Patrick Marleau is a goal scorer who scored the second most goals on the team behind Joe Pavelski. Dan Boyle is an excellent blue liner who moves the puck up the ice very well. These four veterens will lead the Sharks with their excellent system of two way hockey, to the Sharks's first stanley cup in franchise history.