Playoff picks: Bruins in 5 and other fearless forecasts

The Sharks are in a perfect position to do what they haven’t been able to do for years – exceed expectations. There are no expectations of a long run for San Jose, which means the pressure’s off and if Antti Niemi can find his playoff magic in net, the Sharks just might be able to grind out enough offensive support for him.

 (3) Phoenix vs. (6) Chicago

Phoenix in 6

The Blackhawks’ goaltending situation has been a toss-up all season, the Coyotes are going to take advantage of that. They should be able to prevail based on their timely scoring and some solid goaltending from Mike Smith.

 (4) Nashville vs. (5) Detroit

Nashville in 5

This is the Predators’ year and the Red Wings have finally shown signs of deterioration. This will be the one-step-back year for the Wings, while the Preds – better in every area than Detroit – will be able to get some rest in order to make some more franchise history.

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