Tuitt would be an intriguing pick for the Pats since he's so versatile, cbssports.com 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame "Pro Wrestling," NES 2013-2014 NBA Expert Picks Results New York Jets Running Back Chris Johnson Jets Sign Running Back Chris Johnson Notre Dame's Troy Niklas (Joe Camporeale, USA Today Sports) 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Troy Niklas

If the Playoffs Started Today – NHL Week 1

Blackhawks vs Bruins: Week 1's prediction for the Stanley Cup Finals

The NHL season is finally underway, and there’s already been plenty of tooth-and-nail action. Every team (except Washington) has won a game, three teams remain perfect and 12 teams are clustered together with four points, including eight in the East alone. So while everything’s so tight, let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Sunday, January 27 before the day’s games:

West

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 Colorado Avalanche

Chicago has won its first five games to start the season. Colorado is but 2-2-0 to start, including 0-2-0 on the road. This might not be a fun series for Colorado.

#2 San Jose Sharks vs #7 Nashville Predators

San Jose is 4-0-0 to begin the season, having given up just seven goals so far. Nashville is already 0-3 in shootouts, so their best chance is to get and maintain a big lead early, something highly unlikely.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 Dallas Stars

Vancouver may be leading the Northwest, but they’re still having issues, despite a 5-0 victory in Anaheim Friday. Dallas has matched Vancouver’s five points, but with a game out of hand. If Vancouver can keep their goalies stable, they should be able to win, but don’t count out Dallas finding a crack in the armor.

#4 St Louis Blues vs #5 Anaheim Ducks

St Louis is off to an excellent start, at #4 only because Chicago is at #1. The Blues have shown themselves to be a power on offense as well as defense. Anaheim may be off to almost as good a start themselves, but keeping up with St Louis may wear them down eventually.

East

#1 Boston Bruins vs #8 Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh has lost two straight, while Boston has gotten points out of every game so far, including 3-0-0 at home. Tuukka Rask has been difficult to get by this year for Boston; Pittsburgh will be hard-pressed to solve that problem while holding off Boston’s aggressive style of play.

#2 New Jersey Devils vs #7 Carolina Hurricanes

New Jersey may have scored just eight goals so far, but they’ve only given up three in going 3-0-0. Carolina just shouldn’t be able to muster the power to crack New Jersey’s net while having enough left to protect their own.

#3 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #6 Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has only given up four goals through three games, but Tampa Bay has scored 19 through four games. Tampa doesn’t exactly have the most noteworthy defense, but they are (for the most part) able to use their goal scoring ability to turn around that particular disadvantage. So now the question is whether or not Montreal’s offense will be able to pick up the pace, something they’ll need to improve a bit on to come out ahead.

#4 Ottawa Senators vs #5 Winnipeg Jets

All that extra travelling Winnipeg will have to do playing in the East for another year is bound to take its toll. Ottawa tends to fly under the radar as well, playing in the same division as Boston, but they have all the tools they need to take care of Winnipeg.

What Might Change Next Week:

  • With divisional home games against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, look for the Rangers to jump ahead in the standings, most likely knocking Carolina out of the top eight.
  • With other teams around them having difficult schedules, Edmonton and Los Angeles could make some noise, at the expense of Nashville and Colorado.

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