Just a little cross promotion here if you guys don't mind:
I wrote my playoff preview for my own mothership, Pro Hockey News, so if you're interested, it's right here. Now, don't go flying off the handle when you see my prediction.
I'm generally of the opinion that predictions are pointless, particularly in a series like this where both teams are very strong in a lot of the same ways. In all honesty, I think it could go either way quite easily, so I picked Peoria to hopefully get some reverse mojo going.
But Peoria's game does honestly scare me a bit. I think the Aeros are going to have to be very patient in wearing them down and very tough and determined to win all those puck battles.
I think a lot also rides on goaltending. Ben Bishop is out with an injury and nobody's saying when he's going to be back. If he misses all or most of round 1, then I think that makes the series favor Houston. Jake Allen's a good goalie, but I don't think he's that much better than Hackett, and their backup isn't as good as Tordjman.
And in that 3 in 3 stretch next week, I'm not sure you want to play the same goalie all 3 days. That's a real grind, mentally and physically.
So yeah, I said Peoria in 6, but I'm never right about anything, so don't sweat it.
Here's a link to the Peoria side of the series preview.
Also, here's my story at InGoal Magazine (which, if you're into goalies, is just chock full of goalie goodness every single day) on the media day skate with the Aeros coaches and a few players. That was a lot of fun and I appreciate the chance to get whiplash watching pucks fly past me into the net. :)