Russo's Eastern Conference predictions

  • Updated: September 30, 2013 - 9:35 PM
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Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be favored by many to win the Eastern Conference.

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MICHAEL RUSSO’S EASTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

1. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

2013: 36-12-0, 1st in East (72 points)

• Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury broke down yet again in the postseason, but this is the regular season and Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal will light it up.

2. BOSTON BRUINS

2013: 28-14-5, 4th in East (62 points)

• Tremendous on the back end, starting with goalie Tuukka Rask, and now the B’s add Loui Eriksson to a deep group of forwards.

3. DETROIT RED WINGS

2013: 24-16-8, 7th in West (56 points)

• Most felt the Red Wings would collapse last season without Nicklas Lidstrom. Didn’t happen, and now they move to East, where they should thrive.

4. OTTAWA SENATORS

2013: 25-17-6, 7th in East (56 points)

• Forward Jason Spezza and defenseman Erik Karlsson are healthy, and the addition of goal scorer Bobby Ryan should more than make up for the loss of Daniel Alfredsson.

5. NEW YORK RANGERS

2013: 26-18-4, 6th in East (56 points)

• John Tortorella wore out his welcome, and now this tight group presumably will breathe easier behind goalie Henrik Lundqvist and rising star Derek Stepan.

6. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

2013: 26-17-5, 5th in East (57 points)

• Made the playoffs last year for the first time in eternity and followed it up by hopefully settling their erratic goalie situation in acquiring Jonathan Bernier.

7. NEW YORK ISLANDERS

2013: 24-17-7, 8th in East (55 points)

• New captain John Tavares put up an MVP-type season last year, and look for him again to lead this up-and-coming team.

8. WASHINGTON CAPITALS

2013: 27-18-3, 3rd in East (57 points)

• Alex Ovechkin got off to a slow start last season before pouring it on en route to his third Hart Trophy. No slow start this season.

9. MONTREAL CANADIENS

2013: 29-14-5, 2nd in East (63 points)

• Was a surprise out of the East last season, but last season’s Carey Price was nothing like the Carey Price of three years ago.

10. PHILADELPHIA Flyers

2013: 23-22-3, 10th in East (49 points)

• Ilya Bryzgalov and his idiosyncrasies were purged in the offseason, but the jury’s out as to whether Ray Emery and Steve Mason will solve Philly’s eternal goaltending issues.

11. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

2013: 24-17-7, 9th in West (55 points)

• Hard-working team that should score more with a full season of Marian Gaborik, but goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will be asked again to carry the load.

12. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

2013: 18-26-4, 14th in East (40 points)

• The Lightning has scorers Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, but also has a terrible blue line.

13. FLORIDA PANTHERS

2013: 15-27-6, 15th in East (36 points)

• They’ve dug goalie Tim Thomas out of his sabbatical and are skilled with Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad and Shawn Matthias, but they’re still too young.

 

14. NEW JERSEY DEVILS

2013: 19-19-10, 11th in East (48 points)

• Ilya Kovalchuk up and retired, and this was a glacially slow team to begin with. This could be a tough go for the Devils.

15. CAROLINA HURRICANES

2013: 19-25-4, 13th in East (42 points)

• They better hope goalie Cam Ward is completely healthy after a knee injury, because defensively, this team has big issues.

16. BUFFALO SABRES

2013: 21-21-6, 12th in East (48 points)

• The pending free agency and trade discussion of Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller will be a distraction all season.

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
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