Wednesday, April 19, 2006

First Round Playoff Predictions

Before I make my first round playoff predictions, I need to not that I have made poor predictions in the past (see the Olympic predictions I made for example).

Detroit Red Wings defeat Edmonton Oilers Detroit was one of the better teams in the NHL this year. Edmonton backed into a playoff spot when Vancouver imploded. Detroit has Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Schneider who all had better seasons then any Edmonton Oiler this year.

Colorado Avalanche defeat Dallas Stars Colorado's record was kept down by playing in the tough Northwest Division. Dallas's record was slightly better than it looked due to shootout success - which will have no value come playoff time. I think Colorado has more good players in Sakic, Blake, Tanguay, Hejduk. It will be interesting to see how Jose Theodore plays in the playoffs.

Calgary Flames defeat Anaheim Mighty Ducks Calgary won the tough Northwest Division, but it kept their record below where it should have been. Calgary has the better goalie in Kiprusoff. They have the best forward in Iginla and they have the best team defence in the NHL.

San Jose Sharks defeat Nashville Predators With Tomas Vokoun hurt, Nashville will be hard pressed to get the goaltending they need to win in the playoffs. San Jose was one of the hottest teams down the stretch with outstanding play from Thornton and Cheechoo.

Ottawa Senators defeat Tampa Bay Lightning Ottawa has the deepest team in the NHL. They have the most good players. Still, it will not be easy with Dominik Hasek hurt. Tampa may be the defending Stanley Cup champions, but they don't have the talent to match Ottawa. Tampa doesn't really have a goaltending advantage with Jon Grahame in net. Neither he nor Ray Emery or Mike Morrison in Ottawa are likely to steal many games. Should Ottawa get through the first round, if Hasek is ready for the second, then Ottawa should be dangerous.

Carolina Hurricanes defeat Montreal Canadiens Carolina has more offensive depth with Staal, Weight, Brind'Amour, Recchi, Stillman. Cristobal Huet played very well down the stretch and could keep Montreal close (unless they chose to play Aebischer), but Martin Gerber will also provide the Hurricanes with solid goaltending.

New Jersey Devils defeat New York Rangers The Rangers really cooled off in the stretch and can be beaten. New Jersey has a deeper team. They have many battle ready proven playoff players. Martin Brodeur is hard to beat come playoff time.

Philadelphia Flyers defeat Buffalo Sabres Philadelphia has been hard to beat when they have Peter Forsberg in the lineup. Forsberg is back and looks to be healthy. Buffalo was a suprise team, but Philadelphia is a deeper one.

NOTE: This will probably be my last post for a few days due to some family commitments.

I think you picked Philly just to get a rise out of me. If Philly is the deeper team, then how come after the Sabres rolled over them in (I think it was) early March, Antero Nittymaki, the Flyers (now backup) goalie, proclaimed it's like playing four number one lines? Aren't the Sabres the team that had to call up so many players from Rochester and continued they performed well enough to lock up the league's 5th best record? But they're not deep. I don't see that logic. The Sabres are younger, faster and hungrier than the older, slower and injury prone Peter Forsberg/Flyers.
All that being said, what I am wishing for in all the playoff series are well played games and that in the end, the better team has won, although in this series, it will probably be the Sabres in 6.
To add to what I've already said, in an article...

"We've got some top-end guys, some top-end point-producing guys," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "But there's nobody in the NHL who has the scoring depth that Buffalo does."

Led by Maxim Afinogenov's 73 points, the Sabres had 11 players who produced 40 or more points.

No other team - not even Ottawa, which led the NHL with 314 goals - could boast that many. Such a balanced attack allows Buffalo to pose a threat when any of its four lines are on the ice.

Again, I have to ask, how is Buffalo not deeper than Philadelphia?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?