Tuesday, April 10, 2007

2007 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions - Round 1

As for the rest of the playoffs, I will examine the teams matched up and try to keep in mind that sometimes the favorite doesn't always win. I think I learned that after both Carolina and Edmonton fought for the Cup. Is nobody else thinking the way I am? Surely the NHL has a surprise up their sleeve this time in the playoffs.

Western Conference

Detroit v. Calgary
I bet the motor city faithful is wishing they had Yzerman and Shanahan. And still others wish they could be watching Howe skate around. But with all the new faces of this generation, who among them will step up and be the hero? Ilitch pays Daytsuk like he is supposed to be. Calgary doesn't look like what they did pre-lockout. This makes me wonder if they were a flash in the pan and played over their heads. Playfair is a rookie head coach. That is their downfall.
Prediction: Wings in 6

Anaheim v. Minnesota
This has upset written all over it. The Wild defense will have the Ducks all figured out and adjust their game. Selanne will be the lone forward to carry home the mail, but Neidermyer and Pronger will be called on to shoot from the point. I think the young stars of the Ducks aren't playoff ready yet.
Prediction: Wild in 6

Vancouver v. Dallas
Dallas is in one step away from a rebuilding year. With the exception of Sydor, the Stars are the team that invested in all the wrong free agents this time around. This is when we get to see how the Canucks are supposed to work in the post-season. Luongo will have earned his reputation for the Vezina in this playoff year. Look for the fluke goal to be scored by the least of all heroes - Rory Fitzpatrick.
Prediction: Canucks in 5

Nashville vs San Jose
This one is really tough to call. Both teams need to move on to shed their expansion team stigmas and grow up into a legitimate contender. It would be nice to see Nashville move on to the Finals and perhaps resurrect interest into the dying market. San Jose also needs a win pretty bad or all the investments they have made to make this team good will have gone to waste. Embarrassing. Look for Thorton to be on fire in the playoffs.
Prediction: Sharks in 5

Eastern Conference

Buffalo v. NY Islanders
An interesting key to the game is the return of Ted Nolan. If he doesn't win, clearly the league is biased and can't stand having an eskimo hoisting the Stanley Cup. Don't believe me? Ask Ted. He will tell you of how the man keeps him down. Buffalo is on a mission to win the Stanley Cup - nothing less. If you ask their fans, they were robbed and was clearly the better team last year.
Prediction: Sabres in 4

New Jersey v. Tampa Bay
Brodeur is playing out of his mind, but I think that this is his curtain call. This will be the last great run of a great goaltender. New Jersey fans, enjoy it while it lasts. Tampa Bay has been loaded with goal scorers and finishers all the while being hypnotized by a "safe is death" system. That will be their mistake. NJ will pounce all over a free-wheeling offense with a transition game like no other. And NJ is incredibly hard to beat once they go up 2 goals.
Prediction: Devils in 7

NY Rangers v. Atlanta
How come nobody is talking about the playoff inexperience in Atlanta? It's true. Look it up. Atlanta will be losing their playoff virginity against the Euro-heavy Rangers. The Rangers have one goaltender and no one of his quality to back him up. Their offense is quite one dimensional (aka "Get the puck to Jagr"). But I think this means that the Rangers will go one series before the metaphorical tire-blowout that always happens with a team set up like they are. Will somebody please punch Avery in the face for me?
Prediction: Euro-Rangers in 5

Pittsburgh v. Ottawa
It is very hard for the reports to say that this may be the Sens year. I think you know who I am picking in this series. Crosby is a quick study and will find a way to win despite being the underdog. This entire year has been a struggle for survival for the Penguins. I don't know why the Senators and their media give more respect when they were once in the Penguins off-the-ice situation. The Senators carry with them the pride of an entire country. Is this too much for the Senators again? Or will they choke again and become the Cubs of the NHL.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7
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