Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Round Playoff Picks

Rick, Steph and I went 7 for 8 with our first round picks (Rick missed on Minny; Steph on the Pens and I blew it with Nashville).

Keith and my coffee cup went five for 8. The cup blew it on the Islanders (a seriously bad pick), Minny and Pittsburgh. Keith whiffed on the Sens-Pens, Nashville and the Thrashers.

On to the second round, I'm hopeful Steph from NPI will weigh in at some point too, although she may be way too busy celebrating the Wings' first round victory to send me her thoughts about round two.

Rick
No real upsets in the first round for a change this year. I am really excited about the second round match ups - there should be some good battles and fast paced hockey, especially in the East.

Ottawa / NJ

I expect Ottawa to continue their strong play this round. More will be expected from Emery but I think he is up to the challenge. Ottawa will need to start scoring early in this series so that Brodeur doesn't get into their heads.

It will be interesting to see if the Devils can handle the Sen's scoring depth and their stronger defence. I am on the Sen's bandwagon this year, why don't you all join me!! Sen's in 6.

Buffalo / NYR

This should be a fast paced, high scoring series but Buffalo needs to be wary about getting into high scoring games against the Rangers as they looked nervous at times in the Islander series.

Buffalo will provide a much stronger physical resistance than Atlanta but if the Rangers can win Game 1 this will be a long series. Expect some chippy play as Avery tries to get under the Russians skins like he did to Kovalchuk last round. It wouldn't surprise me if the Rangers win this series but I am picking Buffalo in 7.

Detroit / San Jose

I am still not convinced that San Jose is a cup contender but they will give Detroit all they can handle. I can't figure out which Detroit team will show up in this series - the team that dominated at home or the team that struggled at times on the road against the Flames. I am not sure that Datsyuk and Zetterberg are ready to pay the physical price necessary to win in the Playoffs and I think they will struggle with the physical play of San Jose.
Sharks in 7.

Vancouver / Anaheim
I guess we will find out if the Canucks scoring woes were a result of Turco or their own ineptitude. Anaheim played a solid defensive game in the first round and we will likely see more of the same in this series.

Niederpronger and Ducks look like a team poised for a long run. I hope the Canucks can score some goals and get me some points for my playoff draft before they bow out this round.
Ducks in 6.

Mike

The New York - Buffalo series reminds me of last year's match-up between New Jersey and Carolina.

Jersey had swept the Rangers in four and many saw that as a sign of the once dominant Devils returning. But anyone who watched that series should have seen it had far more to do with the Rangers playing terrible, terrible hockey.

Fast forward 12 months and I think quite a few folks are looking at the Rangers sweeping Atlanta and seeing it as some sort of portent for round 2. Well, I watched two of the New York - Thrashers games and the Thrashers were quite clearly never in either game. Bad goaltending, strange Ranger goals, a complete lack of composure, terrible coaching all combined to usher the Thrashers out of the post-season moreso than anything the Rangers did.

Lindy Ruff is far too smart to let his team get suckered the way Hartley lost control of his club, Miller is a way better keeper than either Lehtonen or Hedberg and the Sabres have far too much speed and depth for the Rangers D to handle. The Rangers likely have the worst collection of D in the playoffs. Not a good sign.

While Lindqvist may be hot, the Sabres managed to get by DiPietro and that guy seriously stood on his head. I just don't see the Blue Shirts giving their cousins from upstate New York any serious challenge.

I think Buffalo might get through in five, but I'll say Sabres in six to cover my ass.

New Jersey v. Ottawa

I love how the daily papers were setting this up as Emery vs. Brodeur. Unless it's a boxing match (and it might be knowing how Emery rolls) that's one of the laziest media set-ups going.

This series is going to be all about Ottawa's maturity and patience.

If Ottawa can relax and not force things against the trap, they'll come out of this series pretty quickly. If they lose focus or try to press things against the Devil's, New Jersey's transition game could hurt them.

Brodeur may steal a game and the Devil's system might win another but it won't be enough to knock off the Sens. Team Kanata has all the depth in this series and I think the National Capital Region will be crazier than ever, maybe partying to 11 PM or even midnight after the Sens take it in 6.

Vancouver v. Anaheim
For all that's holy, I hope the Ducks sweep the Canucks. Someone should be punished for the hockey that was played between Vancouver and Dallas in round one. Dreadful dreadful stuff. Star Trek geeks score more frequently than those trapping, plodding teams.

Anaheim in five.

San Jose v. Detroit
For me, this is the hardest series to call. San Jose seemed lucky to win game 1 and they looked just awful in game 2. Detroit seemed to be two teams in their first round series. I was shocked at just how badly they played in games 3 and 4 in Calgary.

I have three sharks and three wings in my playoff pool so I'm hoping this one goes seven very high scoring games.

Call it a coin-flip pick: Wings in seven.

Keith
I'm going to end up mostly agreeing with the general trend here (save one little exception).

Rangers-Buffalo:
I'm with Mike. Atlanta looked terrible, disorganized and gutless. The Rangers didn't have to try that hard. They will against Buffalo. I'm not as concerned with covering my ass: Buffalo in Five.

Detroit-San Jose:
This Wings team may be a little schitzo (that Calgary series made NO sense to me at all) but they're bound to hit their stride some time. San Jose's good, but I don't think they're good enough. Detroit in six.

(Bonus Coverage: Does Joe Thornton finally lose his "can't cut it in the playoffs" label in this series?)

Vancouver-Anaheim
I love the Canucks and have since I was a kid, but last night's game put me to sleep. Luongo's great, but Ladislav Nagy is no Temu Selanne.

Ducks in Five (including a blowout tomorrow night where they have to pull Luongo)

Ottawa-NJ
"Hey, honey. Dinner was great, and thanks for washing the car. Do you mind going to the kitchen and getting me another beer?"

New Jersey in Seven.

As an aside, and as a dispassionate hockey fan, I think Ottawa was one of the two best-looking teams in the first round (the other one was Anaheim with San Jose being a close third). That said, I'm not getting my hopes up until they show up and play smart, disciplined hard-hitting hockey with good goaltending and timely scoring for another round.

Rick
C'mon Keith, I have a seat saved for you on the Sen's Bandwagon. Stop doubting and Start believing. They won't leave you heartbroken again, I promise.

BTW - Only when Thornton raises the cup will he then shake the bad rap. Yeah, sure he got 6 assists in the First Round but he needs to show some leadership and score a timely goal when his team needs it. Marleau is scoring those big goals for the Sharks right now.

Mike
I just figured Keith didn't want to mess with a good thing - he picked the Sens to lose in round 1 and they won. If he bucks the trend now, they could be eliminated and it would pretty much be his fault. He's got to pick the opposition from here on out, it's pretty much his only play.

Nevermind Thornton, the guy I feel sorry for is Turco. Two shut-outs and a save percentage north of .950 and he's going home the goat once again. What is he now, 3-13 all time in the playoffs? Amazing.

Keith
The Sens look good. Nobody wants it to be for real more than I do, but I can't get my hopes up again. (I will, however, be at Scotiabank Place on Monday and/or Wednesday).

Coffee Cup (actually a water glass for round 2)
Buffalo in 5
Ottawa in 7
San Jose in 6
Vancouver in 5

2 comments:

  1. Hebsie9912:46 pm

    Turco had THREE shutouts in the first round. Not two, i think he has shaken the playoff bust label, no one can pin this one on him.

    Did keith really predict the game one blow out and Luongo being pulled? Thats an amazing piece of prognostication.

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  2. Wow I just realized I never DID send you picks for round two...I got swamped for a couple days and then apparently forgot. I would've said Detroit in seven, New Jersey, Anaheim and Buffalo in six, but the way things are looking....I think I'll just be impressed by making 7 out of 8.

    Here's to uh, round three?

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