Atlanta (3) v. Rangers (6)
This is what an unbalance schedule brings you. A team seeded five spots higher than it should be and a team that I have about as much interest in as I do in reading Jane Austen.
Atlanta was a -5.6 in goal differential (GD*) this year and they somehow end up the three seed. That just ain't right. Tampa, at -15.6GD is the only other team with a negative GD to make the post-season. Just how bad is the South East division?** Now, I know that the last two cup champs have come out of the South East, but that's not going to happen this year.
As for the match-up at hand, I don't care who wins. Bob Hartley is a lousy coach, Lehtonen runs hot and cold and despite the talent on their roster, Atlanta seems to always underachieve.
One bench over are the Rangers, who are being defined by quality guys like Sean Avery and Colton Orr. Great.
Neither team is going to make it past the second round, but I think the Rangers will pull this off thanks to superior goaltending. Call it Rangers in 6, but I won't be watching.
*To learn more about GD and Pythagorean win formulas in hockey, and I urge you to do so, click here.
** 20 of Tampa's points came on the shoot-out, and they made the post season by 2 points. Yikes.
I'm with Mike, and what's more I'm kinda miffed at the fact that one of these teams gets to even MAKE it to the second round (give the Pens Atlanta and the Sens New York in round one instead of having a really GOOD team golfing earlier than it needs to be).
I'm going to take the Thrashers, though. For no other reason than a southeast team HAS to make some noise in the playoffs...because it's the playoffs.
Thrash in six games...but who cares?
I am still thinking about Keith's theory about SE Div. teams going all the way. Albeit, Tampa Bay and Carolina were both Conference leaders and Atlanta is number 3 seed by default so perhaps a 3-peat is not likely. But I have under estimated this Division before.
Despite Sather's dismal playoff record - only made it past the first round once in the past 14 years as Edm/NYR GM and I don't believe the Rangers have even won a playoff game since he took over - I like the grit they added with Avery and now that Shanahan's back I think they may make a bit of a run.
Rangers in 6.
I can't say I have much to add about the Rangers and the Thrashers than hasn't already been said (and really unless something drastic happens this is another one of those matchups I certainly won't be staying up until 3:30 am watching like certain other games).
I suppose maybe the Thrashers will be that weird dark horse Southeast team that takes it all when no one expects it, but I have more faith in the Rangers. And besides, I really like Petr Prucha.
Rangers in...seven? Sure.
Coffee Cup: Rangers in 6
Friday, April 13, 2007
Atlanta (3) v. Rangers (6)