Let’s see, as I offer my NHL predictions.
ATLANTIC DIVISION: Tampa Bay, Montreal, Florida, Detroit, Boston, Buffalo, Toronto, Ottawa: SPOTLIGHT TEAM: Montreal bounces back from a horrible season, largely because Carey Price will be healthy. But the Canadiens will be second best in this division.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION: Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Columbus, Carolina: SPOTLIGHT TEAM: New Jersey won’t make the playoffs, but the Devils could have a much more successful season than first thought.
CENTRAL DIVISION: Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado: SPOTLIGHT TEAM: They’ll be singing, not celebrating, the Blues in St. Louis, which could miss the playoffs if Minnesota is better than expected.
PACIFIC DIVISION: Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Arizona, Vancouver: SPOTLIGHT TEAM: San Jose rode a wave of momentum to the Finals one season ago. The Sharks will stay near the top because this division is weak.
ATLANTIC: Tampa Bay over Detroit, Florida over Montreal: Detroit could miss the playoffs; but if the Red Wings do indeed make it, their stay won’t be long.
METROPOLITAN: Pittsburgh over New York Islanders, Washington over New York Rangers: All eyes are on the Capitals, who hope to avoid another post-season disaster.
CENTRAL: Chicago over St. Louis, Dallas over Nashville: Nashville will be the one really good team in the playoffs that doesn’t get to the conference semifinals.
PACIFIC: Minnesota over Los Angeles, San Jose over Anaheim: If a significant upset is going to happen in the opening round, then Minnesota is most likely to deliver it.
ATLANTIC: Tampa Bay over Florida: The Lightning are dangerous. Very dangerous.
METROPOLITAN: Pittsburgh over Washington: The Caps again collapse.
CENTRAL: Dallas over Chicago: The Stars have better depth when it matters most.
PACIFIC: San Jose over Minnesota: The Wild aren’t that good.
Tampa Bay over Pittsburgh: The Lightning are dangerous. Very dangerous.
Dallas over San Jose: The Stars shine and take a bite out of the defending conference champions.
STANLEY CUP FINALS:
Tampa Bay over Dallas: The Lightning might have won last year if Ben Bishop hadn’t gotten injured. This year, Tamps Bay gets it done.