Monday, April 09, 2007

First Round Predictions

The East

  • Buffalo(1) vs. Islanders(8). Buffalo clearly overmatches Islanders in every category except possibly goaltending, but that's only when DiPietro is healthy and he's not. Polish up them 9-irons, you'll be using them soon. Sabres in 4.
  • New Jersey(2) vs. Tampa Bay(7). Can the creative and explosive Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Richards overcome a Devils defense that is designed to turn creativity and explosiveness into a yawning, 100-neutral-zone-turnovers-per-game snoozefest? Probably not, but New Jersey might have trouble scoring, now that half their team are nursing injuries. Plus the Lightning goaltending sucks. Devils in 6.
  • Atlanta(3) vs. Rangers(6). Atlanta made deadline moves for Tkachuk, Zhitnik, Dupuis, and Belanger, and won the season series 3-1, but I think Lundquist being hot, and unmistakable scoring power in Jagr and Shanahan will be enough to stumble the playoff first-timers. Rangers in 6.
  • Ottawa(4) vs. Pittsburg(5). Probably the most exciting series of the first round. You need a full hand to count the superstar scorers involved- Crosby, Malkin, Heatley, Spezza, Alfredsson. Ottawa are 'chokers' in the first round, but Pittsburg's lack of defense will be their undoing. Crosby doesn't give up, but he'll have more trouble with Phillips, Redden, and Mezsaros than Heatley will have with Gonchar(who doesn't play defense) and Orpik (who?). Ottawa in 6.

The West
  • Detroit(1) vs. Calgary(8). Detroit's gaudy record is fluffed by playing 24 games against the dregs of the west, St. Louis, Columbus, and Chicago. Zetterberg and Kronwall are out, and the Wings will hurt for scoring with only Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and the inevitable Nik Lidstrom with over 60 points. Calgary can finally score, but their D is weaker than years past. Yet they have perennial Vezina candidate Kipper to back them up, while the Dominator could go down at any time, he's 42. And yes, I'm still bitter about the Kiprusoff trade, even though we drafted Vlasic with the pick we got. Calgary in 6.
  • Anaheim(2) vs. Minnesota(7). Some people have picked Minnesota in an upset, and while I hate the Ducks as much as any Sharks fan, those people are on friggin' crack. The Ducks, while not playing in a Jacque Lemaire-inspired robotic trance, are better at every phase except maybe PK. Every time Gaborik and Demitra are on the ice, they'll be staring down the barrel of two Norris winners. Have fun with that. Ducks in 5.
  • Vancouver(3) vs. Dallas(6). Vancouver was the matchup I didn't want, and I'll happily watch Dallas go down like a sack of dirt. They might be able to stop the Sedins for a while, sooner or later they will score, while Dave Tippett will be cursing management for saddling him with Ladislav Nagy. Turco would have to stand on his head, something he's never done in the playoffs, but oh yeah, he's against the Vezina favorite, Roberto Luongo. Later Stars. Vancouver in 5.
  • Nashville(4) vs. Sharks(5). While the Vancouver matchup would be worse, this one is plenty bad. As Sharks fans all know, San Jose has a dismal record against all the other playoff teams, 1-3 against Nashville. This year we get the pleasure of facing Vokoun instead of Mason, and Forsberg added to their already-powerful lineup. If Cheech and Nabby can stay hot, we can win the series. But I'm so far away from objective it isn't even funny. Sharks in 7.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Bravo for believing in the 8th seed out West!!! I'd love to see that upset happen.