Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NHL Playoffs: Conference Semi Finals

6-2 in my round one predictions.

(6) NY Rangers vs. (1) Buffalo: The Thrashers were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked in the first round. Buffalo won all 4 games against the Rangers, but three were one-goal games. I really like the Rangers as a potential dark horse in the finals. Lundqvist has been great, and they've been scoring a lot more as well. I didn't like how the Sabres looked against the Islanders...those 5 games didn't really look like playoff games. The Sabres should have blown them out in 4 games, even with DiPietro. I think with the advantage on special teams and goaltending, we're going to see an upset. Rangers in 7.

NYR #18 goals for vs. BUF #13 goals against
NYR #9 goals against vs. BUF #1 goals for

NYR #8 power play vs. BUF #20 penalty kill
NYR #12 penalty kill vs. BUF #17 power play

(4) Ottawa vs. (2) New Jersey: This is a tough call. Brodeur had kind of a rough start but things seem to be good now. I have no idea how the Senators goal scoring is going to go because the Penguins have no defence. Same thing with the Devils. And I don't care about the stats, Ray Emery is still a piece of shit. The Sens defence more than makes up for it though. Anyway, they stack up pretty close, so since New Jersey took the season series 3-1 I'll go with Devils in 6.

OTT #2 goals for vs. NJ #4 goals against
OTT #10 goals against vs. NJ #27 goals for

OTT #14 power play vs. NJ #4 penalty kill
OTT #9 penalty kill vs. NJ #16 power play

(5) San Jose vs. (1) Detroit: I liked the Sharks' "angry guy" thing against Nashville, it was very entertaining. I think the Sharks have a lot of momentum...they knocked off what a lot of people considered to be a Stanley Cup contender in only 5 games. I don't think the Wings will dominate the shot tally the same as in the last round because the Sharks' defence has been a little better than the Flames' recently. Nick Lidstrom against Joe Thornton will be pretty fun to watch. Detroit hasn't lost at home yet, but the Sharks are the best road team in the west. Also, the Sharks won the season series against the Wings 3-1, not too shabby. Sharks in 6.

SJ #6 goals for vs. DET #10 goals against
SJ #6 goals against vs. DET #2 goals for

SJ #2 power play vs. DET #21 penalty kill
SJ #14 penalty kill vs. DET #7 power play

(3) Vancouver vs. (2) Anaheim: I've said it before, I'll say it again...every team could use more Chris Pronger. The Ducks have what is most likely the best playoff goaltending tandem. Still, I have to give Luongo credit, he's by far the best player on the Canucks. Naslund and the Sedin sisters have been pretty quiet so far, and I don't think the Canucks will be able to score more goals against the Ducks. I gotta say, I wish I hadn't sold my purple Mighty Ducks jersey in grade 7 for 60 bucks. Ducks in 5, and reach the conference finals for the third time in four seasons. Quite good, really...it's almost New England Patriots good...

VAN #22 goals for vs. ANA #7 goals against
VAN #5 goals against vs. ANA #9 goals for

VAN #20 power play vs. ANA #5 penalty kill
VAN #1 penalty kill vs. ANA #3 power play

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NHL Playoffs: Conference Quarter Finals

Last year, I went 8-7 in my NHL playoff predictions so I'm trying to do better this year. I still ended up beating all the TSN experts except the monkey. This year in the East, I like the Sabres, and in the West, I like the Sharks, with the Sabres winning the Cup.


(8) NY Islanders vs. (1) Buffalo: Buffalo came within a game of the finals last year, so not making it there again would be a major letdown. These are always dangerous series to predict...you have the Presidents Trophy winner with a ton of pressure to go all the way and the team that backed into the playoffs and is just happy to be there. But, since the Islanders have no Rick DiPietro and since they have MA Bergeron, I'll say Sabres in 4.

BUF #1 goals for vs. NYI #12 goals against
BUF #13 goals against vs. NYI #14 goals for

BUF #17 power play vs. NYI #18 penalty kill
BUF #20 penalty kill vs. NYI #12 power play

(7) Tampa Bay vs. (2) New Jersey: Crazy Lou fired Julien which is odd since the players seemed to like him. But, he gets the benefit of the doubt since it did work once before. The Lightning were horrible down the stretch, losing 9 of their last 20 games in regulation. They also made the playoffs despite being outscored. The Devils can't score goals, but I'm not about to bet against Brodeur in the playoffs. And who plays in goal for the Lightning? Does anyone know? Devils in 5.

TB #12 goals for vs. NJ #4 goals against
TB #24 goals against vs. NJ #27 goals for

TB #9 power play vs. NJ #4 penalty kill
TB #28 penalty kill vs. NJ #16 power play

(6) New York Rangers vs. (3) Atlanta: Southeast division wasn't too good this year, and it looked like Atlanta was just coasting through the last month trying to hold off the Lightning. Atlanta has scary special teams problems and I think it will be their downfall. This one is hard to predict because of Bob Hartley...he has made at least the conference finals in every one of his playoff appearances and led the 'Lanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup. But, Rangers in 6.

NYR #18 goals for vs. ATL #15 goals against
NYR #9 goals against vs. ATL #15 goals for

NYR #8 power play vs. ATL #26 penalty kill
NYR #12 penalty kill vs. ATL #23 power play

(5) Pittsburgh vs. (4) Ottawa: This is going to be an awful series. Ray Emery is a clown, the Penguins have no defence, and don't even get me started on Crosby. I guess experience will make the difference. I honestly don't know what else to say. I'm just not going to watch any of this one. Senators in 6.

PIT #4 goals for vs. OTT #10 goals against
PIT #14 goals against vs. OTT #2 goals for

PIT #5 power play vs. OTT #9 penalty kill
PIT #17 penalty kill vs. OTT #14 power play


(8) Calgary vs. (1) Detroit

Playing Detroit in the early rounds has been a gift the last few seasons. The Wings were very soft in last year's playoffs and they will depend on Bertuzzi this year to give them the toughness they need. I think the Flames' record was held down by overtime and shootout losses and quite a few one-goal game losses especially on the road. Meanhile, the Wings record was probably inflated by playing Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis eight times. I'm concerned that the Flames' defence is going to vanish just like last year's series against the Ducks and that they've played Kiprusoff to much all season and he's going to run out of gas. But, unlike last year, the Flames can actually score goals 5-on-5, and luckily for them, the Wings power play is nowhere near what it used to be. Maybe I'm just spending too much time around people who seem to think that Kristian Huselius is a good hockey player, I don't know. Flames in 7. Unfortunately.

CGY #7 goals for vs. DET #2 goals against
CGY #11 goals against vs. DET #10 goals for

CGY #11 power play vs. DET #7 penalty kill
CGY #22 penalty kill vs. DET #21 power play

(7) Minnesota vs. (2) Anaheim: Anaheim's a great team, no doubt, but I'm going to haul out the "defence wins" cliche. The key for the Wild is to stay out of the penalty box since the Ducks scored the most goals in the league with the man advantage. I don't really know how the Wild are going to score their own goals...I'm thinking we're going to see a lot of 1-o games in this series. Wild in 5.

MIN #19 goals for vs. ANA #7 goals against
MIN #1 goals against vs. ANA #9 goals for

MIN #6 power play vs. ANA #5 penalty kill
MIN #2 penalty kill vs. ANA #3 power play

(6) Dallas vs. (3) Vancouver: This is looking like another good goalie battle. This one will depend on how far Luongo and the Sedin sisters are willing to carry the team. And while their Cloutier problem is finally gone, Vancouver could have a big problem scoring goals, especially at even strength. But good young goalies in their first playoffs have a tendency to take their teams on long playoff runs, so Canucks in 6.

DAL #21 goals for vs. VAN #5 goals against
DAL #3 goals against vs. VAN #22 goals for

DAL #7 power play vs. VAN #1 penalty kill
DAL #11 penalty kill vs. VAN #20 power play

(5) San Jose vs. (4) Nashville: This will be the most entertaining series for sure. Another case of a Central division team that might not be as good as their record. And seeing as how this exact same series happened in the first round last year, I expect to see the same end result, but the Predators will at least make a series out of it this time. Sharks in 7.

SJ #6 goals for vs. NSH #8 goals against
SJ #6 goals against vs. NSH #5 goals for

SJ #2 power play vs. NSH #3 penalty kill
SJ #14 penalty kill vs. NSH #18 power play