It’s been more than five years since I’ve had to deal with final exams and playoff hockey at the same time.

If I recall correctly, when I finished my undergrad the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs that year. That was also the year Keenan gutted the team sending off most of the players that were on that storied ’94 group.

Fast-forward to the present and now the Canucks will be facing the Blues in the first round.

I am going to go out on a limb here and make a bold, and possibly unpopular prediction. The Canucks will lose the series in six games.

That’s just the way I feel. I’ve been watching Canucks hockey since I was 8 years old. I’ve been through the good and the bad times. Hopefully, after all that time, I’d like to think I know a bit about the team.

Canuck teams have come and gone over the years, but the common thread among all of them, including this year’s team, is a fragile confidence. To finish the season, the Canucks had extremely poor showings against Anaheim (a loss), Phoenix (found a way to let the Coyotes tie it and then failed to win it in OT), and of course Los Angeles (did not score). Had the Canucks just registered one more point in any of those three games, they would have won their division and not be facing the Blues.

Instead, the Canucks let the division title out of their hands. Not only that, Naslund and Bertuzzi failed to pick up the Art Ross and Rocket Richard awards. Now, those awards mean nothing to the team collectively, but coming so close to winning those and losing, must deflate those players even just slightly.

As such, the Canucks did not finish the season strong. They’ve said all the right things since, about being a new season, the regular season doesn’t matter now… etc. I wonder though if they’ve completely left it behind.

The first game will have a big impact on the Canucks confidence. If they win, I think they will forget what happened at the end of the regular season. If they lose though, everyone will start questioning why things have gone so off-base.

While it’s just a feeling I have, I’m afraid the ‘Nucks will go down in six. I don’t want them to lose and I count myself as a Canucks fan, but sometimes you just get a feeling.

So, in two weeks, I’d be completely happy to say I was wrong, and I hope I will be, but only time will tell.

Regardless of my prediction, I’ll be cheering them on on Thursday, while at the same time, feeling guilty about not studying for finals.

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