Detroit vs Calgary
If Calgary can rattle Dominik Hasek, they may have a chance. A suspect road record is really Calgary’s achille’s heel. Only because of Kiprusoff will they hang in there for 6 games. Detroit’s got the wiley vets and the super skills upfront–not to mention a very good and experienced playoff coach. Detroit in 6.
Anaheim vs Minnesota
The most highly tauted team all year, the one everyone expected to be still in it in June, is nevertheless a team not looking so indomitable, as perhaps earlier in the season. And is Pronger really up to the intensity and minutes asked of him? Goal tending, for sure, will be a key and the Duck’s tandem is pretty solid. But my money is on Minny to pull off the upset. They play a superlative team game and are now more rounded offensively than in previous years. And the kicker: the phenomenal Jacques Lemaire behind the bench. Minny in 6.
Vancouver vs Dallas
Very evenly matched up, these two teams will be going the distance in this one. If Luongo remains ‘Luongod’ and the ‘Nucks can get some scoring outside of the Sedins, they’ll prevail. For Dallas: Turco will need to be on his game, Modano, too, of course, but they’ll also need Morrow and Lehtinen to get going. Haven’t felt the Stars to have that Knock out instinct so much this year. Vancover in 7.
Nashville vs San Jose
My gut wants me to go with the Sharks. But with the line up Nashville has–they can keep coming at you with 3 good lines, at least.
All the Preds need to do is neutralize Thorton and that’ll be it. But the Preds are hurting a tad, so with Erat and Sullivan not quite up to speed this series will go seven. Nashville in 7
Buffalo vs New York Islanders
Over in 5. Buffalo just tuning up. One game to the Isles coz, hey, it’s the playoffs.
New Jersay vs Tampa Bay
Don’t expect the coaching change in Jersey to be too much of an issue. After all, they’ve been through it before-twice! And Lamorello is a decent strategist. Brodeur is going to be showing, perhaps for the last year, that he can carry the team onwards himself. They’ll miss Stevens, but have plenty of cohesion. Tampa isn’t a well rounded offensively and sure can be porous. Devils in 6
Atlanta vs New York
My how the blue shirts have pulled things together! For real? I think so. The all-Czeck team has had a little character mixed in with it and the addition of Shanny definitely bodes well for playoff success. Atlanta’s got some impressive offensive talent of their own, but im not sure their team play makes them all that capable of battoning down the hatches. Rangers in 7
Ottawa vs Pittsburgh
Talk about close. Maybe not that close, but it will be if the playoff jinx aren’t over for the Sens. Which Emery are we going to see between the pipes? How unfettered will Spezza, Heatley and Alfredson be? The young dynamos in Pittsburgh are going to fly, at least for this round, and the addition of Roberts has had a good stabilizing effect. If the Pens can stop the puck they could very well surprise. Hell, you have to pick one bizarre upset.
So will it be the Penquins and the Predators?
Just in time for both franchises to move outta town. Sorry to be cynical.