Hey all! While we in the keystone province lament our second April without a playoff appearance by shining up our golf clubs and working on our swing, sixteen fortunate teams will vie for their chance to win this year's Stanley Cup trophy.
A lockout abbreviated season left many scrambling -- or in some cases stumbling -- towards the finish line, and though there are a few clear-cut favourites, it's anyone's guess who will emerge as Stanley Cup represenative for either conference.
Luckily for you, the vast unknown of the playoff landscape wasn't enough to deter your local experts from submitting their second annual round-by-round-previews. So with that, stick around for the Quarterfinal round picks of Trevor, Derek, Ryan, Tim, Dan, Graham, Phil, Ben, Garret and a 25 cent Canadian quarter.
Feel free to belittle our projections and praise the the awesomeness that is Canadian currency.
After the Quarterfinals, here are our "expert" standings: Ben 7-1, Tim 7-1, TJ 7-1, Derek 6-2, Garret 6-2, Graham 6-2, Phil 6-2, Ryan 6-2, 2012 25 cent quarter 5-3, Dan 4-4
Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs. Detroit Red Wings (7)
Chicago won the season series 3-0-1.
Why Chicago will win: Corey Crawford looks to be shaking his label as a playoff bust but will be facing a tough test in the Detroit Red Wings. Even without goal scoring from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Chicago remains a deep roster with threats littering their roster.
Why Detroit will win: Down and out in the opening round, the Wings railed off three straight wins en route to a Game 7 series win over the Anaheim Ducks. As usual, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk led the charge and are playing well heading into the semis.
TJ's pick: Chicago in 7.
Derek's pick: Chicago in 5.
Ryan's pick: Chicago in 6.
Tim's pick: Chicago in 6.
Dan's pick: Chicago in 5.
Graham's pick: Chicago in 7.
Phil's pick: Chicago in 5.
Ben's pick: Chicago in 6.
Garret's pick: Chicago in 6.
Trevor's pick: Chicago in 4.
2012 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Chicago Blackhawks.
Los Angeles Kings (5) vs. San Jose Sharks (6)
Los Angeles won the season series 2-1-1.
Why Los Angeles will win: Last year's Stanley Cup Champions showed resiliency early on, battling back from a 2-0 series deficit to take four straight from the St. Louis Blues. Jon Quick has rebounded from a slow start and -- like the Blackhawks -- L.A. is getting scoring from all four of their lines.
Why San Jose will win: Coming off what was arguably the most dominant first round performance, the San Jose Sharks are the talk of the Western Conference. With Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski carrying the team, the Sharks hope to keep their offensive juggernaut rolling.
TJ's pick: San Jose in 6.
Derek's pick: Los Angeles in 7.
Ryan's pick: San Jose in 7.
Tim's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Dan's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Graham's pick: San Jose in 6.
Phil's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Ben's pick: Los Angeles in 7.
Garret's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Trevor's pick: Los Angeles in 7.
2012 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: San Jose Sharks.
Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs. Ottawa Senators (7)
Pittsburgh won the season series 3-0-0.
Why Pittsburgh will win: Despite at times shaky goaltending, the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the New York Islanders in the quarterfinals. Evgeny Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla are scoring in bunches, which will need to continue heading into this round.
Why Ottawa will win: The Ottawa Senators rocked the hockey world with how easily they disposed of the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round and have been getting scoring from up-and-down their line-up. Craig Anderson continues to dazzle and Paul MacLean is emerging as one of the NHL's most tactful coaches. Don't sleep on the Sens.
TJ's pick: Ottawa in 7.
Derek's pick: Pittsburgh in 7.
Ryan's pick: Ottawa in 6.
Tim's pick: Pittsburgh in 6.
Dan's pick: Pittsburgh in 7.
Graham's pick: Pittsburgh in 7.
Phil's pick: Pittsburgh in 6.
Ben's pick: Ottawa in 7.
Garret's pick: Pittsburgh in 5.
Trevor's pick: Pittsburgh in 7.
2012 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Pittsburgh Penguins.
Boston Bruins (4) vs. New York Rangers (6)
New York won the season series 2-1-0.
Why Boston will win: David Krejci and Milan Lucic are burning up the NHL playoffs in scoring and the Bruins pack a physical punch that the Rangers did not see against the Washington Capitals. Having the home-ice advantage in the series could go a long way as well.
Why New York will win: New York has an uncanny knack of getting to the powerplay, currently leading the NHL with 28 opportunities through the first round. Henrik Lundqvist is also coming off back-to-back shutouts behind the shot-blockingest team to ever shot block, so they have that in their favour as well.
TJ's pick: Boston in 6.
Derek's pick: New York in 6.
Ryan's pick: Boston in 6.
Tim's pick: Boston in 6.
Dan's pick: Boston in 7.
Graham's pick: Boston in 5.
Phil's pick: Boston in 7.
Ben's pick: Boston in 7.
Garret's pick: Boston in 6.
Trevor's pick: New York in 6.
2012 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Boston Bruins.