April 17, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Predicting the Stanley Cup Playoffs: Part 1

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us. There really is no equal in sports to the passion and intensity found in the NHL’s rite of spring. 16 teams start their arduous journey this Wednesday, culminating sometime in June with a team hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup above their heads.
Here are my predictions for the first round matchups in the Eastern Conference.

#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators

Rangers in 5. It’s hard to imagine that Craig Anderson can steal this series. The Senator’s modus operandi has been a opportunistic top-six and scrappy D. The Sens trot out high octane scorers in Spezza, Alfredsson, Michalek, as well as Erik Karlsson that the Rangers’ offense can’t compare with. However, their team defense is stout and their goaltending advantage is so great that they have to win this series, and it should come fairly easily.

#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington Capitals

Bruins in 6. After a trying year, the Capitals got hot at the right time, while finally getting stars Backstrom and Green back in the lineup to round out a dangerous team. The Bruins have lost three of four against the Caps this year, and Tim Thomas doesn’t look the same as last year. The Capitals have wilted under the pressure of being favorites the last few years, but as underdogs this year, they may play a little looser. In the end, the Bruins six 20 goal scorers and stellar defensive system will let them eke out a victory in a tight series.

#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

Devils in 5. The Devils are underdogs in name only. Although the Panthers won their first division title in history, they also allowed 24 more goals than they scored, and got 18 free points by losing in overtime or the shootout. The Devils had 102 points, same as the #2 seed Bruins, had a +19 goal differential, and were eighth in the league in goals allowed. The Panthers, making their first postseason in 11 years makes for a good story, but this ragtag bunch is just that. New Jersey should win this rather easily with their high-end offensive players and talented blue line.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Penguins in 7. The Flyers have owned the Penguins of late. After a tumultuous offseason, the Flyers find themselves in the playoffs with their familiar offensive depth and improved goaltending. After a tumultuous season, the Penguins have finally recovered from extended injuries to Crosby, Staal, and Letang to become what may be the NHL’s best team. Both teams genuinely hate each other, and are equally deep up front and in back. Ilya Bryzgalov may flake again, like he did in last year’s playoffs, while Marc-Andre Fleury and Pittsburgh’s stars makes the difference in what should be the best first round series in either conference.

Mark Bruso can be reached for comment at mbruso@student.umass.edu.

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