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2012 NHL Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference Simifinals

NHL Network Manager – Randy Holt

The two Eastern Conference Semifinal matchups aren’t too different from each other. On one side, you have the top seeded New York Rangers against the Washington Capitals, who surprised a lot of folks by upsetting the defending champion Boston Bruins in the first round. The Rangers had more trouble than many thought with the Ottawa Senators, but managed to escape in seven games. They come into this series with the Caps as the favorite, and rightfully so.

Though we haven’t seen all of the talent from this Rangers team quite yet, they still have elite talent up front, with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, as well as the emerging Chris Kreider, fresh off of an NCAA title with Boston College. Defense is really the strongpoint of this team, though, and you know who I mean. Henrik Lundqvist is both a Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy finalist and unless the Capitals are able to solve him, they’re going to have a tough time doing much of anything in this series.

Then you have a pair of Atlantic Division rivals in the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils. The Flyers are coming off of an emotional series victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins while the New Jersey Devils needed seven games to knock off the Florida Panthers. This is a similar matchup to the other one in the Eastern Conference, as you have a team with a great deal more talent on one end, in the Flyers. Led by Claude Giroux, the Flyers are an offensive juggernaut and it remains to be seen if the Devils can match that offensive intensity. However, given the Flyers’ questions on the back end, don’t be surprised to see this one go six or seven games.