Place your bets, put on your respective team’s jersey, and prepare to watch two months of the greatest hockey you will ever witness (excluding Leafs’ fans, who can cheer for their team on the golf course), because it is time for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs!  The top eight teams from both the Eastern and Western conferences will each battle hard to win the magical sixteen games, in order to achieve their united dreams of hoisting Lord Stanley’s treasure! This article was written on April 28.The second round has commenced after a series of upsets. Vegas predicts the Blues to win the Cup, but will that prove true?

Nashville vs Phoenix: With Rinne’s shutdown goaltending, the Predators’ offensive production, and solid blueline, Nashville will eliminate Mike Smith and the Coyotes in a tight, Game 7.

Los Angeles vs St. Louis: If Jonathan Quick continues his Vezina-worthy, consistent play, and the Kings’ struggling powerplay unit scores more frequently, the Kings will win the series in 6.

Washington vs New York: This series will be one full of high octane offense, Tortorella’s Rangers and Hunter’s Capitals, two playoff rivals, both have a lot to prove.  The young supporting cast of players contributing on both ends of the ice, and King Henrik’s beyond impressive netminding, makes New York too large a threat for Ovi and the Caps to handle.  Rangers in five.

Philadelphia vs New Jersey: The Flyers were predicted as underdogs against the Penguins in the first round, yet they convinced everyone wrong by showing that they can play a physical, yet disciplined style of hockey.  The Devils appear to be the underdogs in this matchup, which is why Philadelphia will take it in five.

Eastern Conference Finals: The Rangers and Flyers are evenly matched, except in the defensive aspect, as the Rangers appear stronger, as they play confident in their zone, while the Flyers, aside from Grossman and Timonen, show some instability. Rangers in six.

Western Conference Finals:  L.A and Nashville are two talented teams, who are contenders for the cup.  As great as Quick is, he cannot score goals, which is why the Kings’ go-to forwards need to step up their game to take this one.  L.A in seven.

Stanley Cup Finals: Considering the skillset of both the Kings and Rangers, this year’s finals will offer some great hockey for fans.  L.A will put up a hard fight, but Richards (Brad, that is), and company are too hungry and skillful to lose this final series.  The Blueshirts, after eight, long years, will be crowned as the best in hockey, as they will win the cup and the series in seven.

Evidently, this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs are going to be one for the history books. It’s certain that a well-deserving captain will be raising the cup over his head!