Detroit vs San Jose
The aging jalopy from motown may still have it’s motor running, but does it have any gas in the tank? You almost have to preface every game and series by saying “it depends on the penalty calling”, but I think this is especially true in Detroit’s case. Chelios and Schneider don’t quite look like they’ve ever reformed themselves according to the ‘new NHL’ and are susceptible to some old school ways that, unless the refs pay them way too much respect (ahem), could lead them to the penaltly box. That other guy, Lidstrom, is finally looking human. And those pesky players Draper and Maltby, too, are old school enough (too used to penalty immunity under the reign of one Scotty Bowman) to be at risk for the sin bin. And don’t even talk to me of Holstrom (who might be out for a while?), although he’s taken less penalties than I would have thought.
Sure, Detroit’s got grit, add Cleary to the above mentioned. They’ve got skill. They’ve got experience. But the parts don’t add up to a whole. And with Hasek–the gut tells me that he’s a wild card I’d rather not have in the playoffs.
The Sharks look solid, match up well in grit and skill, and they’ve got a taste for something that has eluded them for too long. They need to get ‘er done this time ’round.
Sharks in 6
Anaheim vs Vancouver
There is only so much that Luongo can do. Period. The Ducks have the best (offensive) defense tandem in the league, especially for the playoffs. Luongo will steal one game. I’m hoping the hockey gods will give the Canucks another game through shear passion (cough), for Trevor, just to make it interesting.
Ducks in 6
NewJersey vs Ottawa
Just when we were starting to get a different feeling about this Ottawa team, reason rears it’s ugly head and says that Martin Brodeur is back and, once again, will be the difference here. Too bad Sens. I almost liked you guys this year.
Devils in 6
Buffalo vs NY
Ya the Sabres have all that skill. And a helluva coach. But it’s the playoffs, baby and the ‘anything’ does happen.
The Rangers have a good thing going. They have the right mix of skill, grit and goal tending. And just like Brodeur, Jagr can be the difference by himself in a game or two–and he’ll have to be. Plus Avery has already mustered up a hate-on for a team he hasn’t even seen this year!
Rangers in 7