April 23, 2008
Here's what I thought would happen in the first-round:
1-Montreal over 8-Boston in four games
2-Pittsburgh over 7-Ottawa in five games
3-Washington over 6-Philadelphia in five games
4-New Jersey over 5-NY Rangers in seven games
1-Detroit over 8-Nashville in five games
2-San Jose over 7-Calgary in six games
6-Colorado over 3-Minnesota in seven games
4-Anaheim over 5-Dallas in five games
So, I got 5 out of 8 series right and 0 of them correct in the total number of games department. That's why I donate my money to Atlantic City whenever I go, instead of leaving with more than what I came with.
On to the second round now and the hockey is only going to get better and more intense from here on out. Every single team is only eight wins away from a chance at the Stanley Cup. Don't think that means anything? You're nuts.
Here's my thinking on the Conference Semifinals, beginning Thursday night:
1-Montreal over 6-Philadelphia in six games
The Flyers will fight to the end here. I see Carey Price making another rookie boner in this series. The Habs have a tendency to drive their fans nuts and leave them on edge.
2-Pittsburgh over 5-NY Rangers in six games
Sure the Rangers beat the Penguins in the season series 5-3, but regular-season stats are thrown out the window come playoff time. It's a different animal. Players are more focused on the prize at the end of the road. Sean Avery will be up to his old tricks, but I think the Pens have enough toughness in Georges Laraque, Jarkko Ruutu, and Gary Roberts to equalize his shenanigans. Now, it's Avery's hockey skills that guys like Brooks Orpik, Hal Gill, Ryan Malone and company will have to deal with. We all know the Pens offense is unreal, but the Rangers have a pretty good defense, though it is young. If Pittsburgh can exploit that, they'll have the series. If the Rangers are able to shut down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora and crew, well, then the season-series number may come back to mean something.
6-Colorado over 1-Detroit in seven games
I wrote about the hot goalie back in March and Jose Theodore was on the list. I said he would not have much pressure on him, therefore he could relax and steal a series. Once again, no pressure here, it's all on the Red Wings to live up to the President's Trophy. Jose steals one again.
2-San Jose over 5-Dallas in six games
Has anyone seen Brian Campbell? Aside from his absence, the Sharks almost-hiccup against Calgary might have woken them up. When you get Jeremy Roenick popping in two goals in a Game 7, you know you've got some depth. Sadly, for Marty Turco, he may have another great series, but I don't think the Stars will stop the Sharks firepower.