The last time the Rangers met Washington in the first round of the playoffs two years ago, only one of the 25 experts at ESPN, Yahoo!, Sports Illustrated, and TSN picked the Blueshirts to win the series — and that “expert” was a monkey named Maggie making her picks for TSN. (The lesson: Don’t wager any loonies based on the predictions of an animal.) This time around, the picks are only slightly less overwhelmingly in Washington’s favor. Of the 34 experts at ESPN, NHL.com, TSN, MSG, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated (whose analysts include Brian Leetch), the Hockey News, Puck Daddy, and Pro Hockey Talk, only three pick the Rangers to pull off the upset: ESPN’s Linda Cohn (who might be a little biased), MSG’s Stan Fischler (ditto), and Puck Daddy “stat nerd” Matt Barr. On the bright side, 2011’s three out of 34 is better than 2009’s one out of 25. Plus, all of the experts picking the Rangers this time are, you know, humans.
Photo: Mike Stobe/2011 Getty Images