Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NHL Playoffs With A Little...Er...Bark!

OK, so now let's get back to the NHL Playoffs, there will be time for the serious stuff at another point. Before we get to the second round, let's review how I did in the first round.

I said...
Buffalo (1) over NY Isles (8) in 4...Sabres won in 5
New Jersey (2) beats Tampa Bay (7) in 4...NJ in 6.
Rangers (6) defeat Atlanta (3) in 5...NY in 4
Penguins (5) win in 7 against Senators...Ottawa (4) won in 5

Detroit (1) in 5 over Calgary (8)...Red Wings won in 6.
Anaheim (2) edges Minnesota (7) in 7...Ducks in 5
Vancouver (3) takes Dallas (6) in 6...Canucks won in 7.
San Jose (5) outshoots Nashville (4) in 6....Sharks won in 5

Not bad, not great. So in predicting the second round I have enlisted some help from man's best friend.

Detroit (1) vs. San Jose (5)
If Calgary had shown up for the first two games against Detroit in the Joe Louis Arena, we could be talking about why the Red Wings went home again early from the playoffs. But Calgary did not, so we're not. Dom Hasek was barely tested against the Flames, but he'll get all he can handle in this one with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo firing pucks at him all day and night long from every angle. Billy Guerin looks like his usual nasty self after spending time in obscurity with the St. Louis Blues; that means good news for the Sharks, bad news for the Wings. San Jose's goalie Evgeni Nabokov is not as good as Calgary's netminder, Miikka Kiprusoff, but he's very good nonetheless. Detroit looked better than they are against Calgary, while the Sharks beat a very good Nashville team. Or have the hockey experts already forgotten that the Preds boasted Peter Forsberg?

I say San Jose in 6, the Dog says Detroit in 7.

Anaheim (2) vs. Vancouver (3)
This is the best matchup in the second round, that my friends, me and the doggie can agree on. Trevor Linden showed why he is "Captain Canuck" with his huge goal in game 7 vs. Dallas. Roberto Luongo is scary good right now, and the Sedin twins are something to see as well. However, Anaheim has Teemu Selanne and a host of youngsters such as Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Penner who are hungering for a trip to the Finals. Let's also not forget to mention the dynamic blueline pair of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger for Anaheim. This one goes seven in my book.

I say Ducks in 7, doggie says Canucks in 7.

Buffalo (1) vs. New York Rangers (6)
The Buffalo Sabres won the President's Trophy this year with the best record in the NHL. The Rangers played their best hockey from February on. The Sabres love to roll four lines and attack with their d-men. The Rangers have one super line, two very good lines, and one line that can bang and fight and make life miserable. The Rangers' defense has got to play within itself in this series. Positioning is absolutely crucial, because if any of the Blueshirts' d-men start to think they are Brian Leetch, New York will be in deep doo-doo. Sorry doggie!

Chris Drury, Thomas Vanak, Daniel Briere, Jason Pominville all netted 30 goals this season, those four speedsters along with Ranger pest Maxim Afinogenov will become household names to New York's fans, unless of course Henrik Lundqvist plays the series of his life. I think it was really important for Lundqvist to have swept Atlanta to help erase the sour memory of New Jersey from a year ago. If Lundie plays like the 'King,' Rangers win in 6. If not, it could be a quick out for the Broadway Blues. I think this year's Lundqvist propels the Blueshirts into the Conference Finals. However, let me issue this WARNING TO ALL: Afinogenov is the fastest player with the puck that I have seen since Pavel Bure. Rangers in 6; Doggie says Sabres in 5.

NJ Devils (2) vs. Ottawa (4)
The Devils ran up against a mediocre goalie in Tampa's Johan Holmqvist in the first round and made him look pretty good except for the first game. Ottawa's Ray Emery will prove to be more formidable, making this a long series. Home ice wins out in the series. I like the Devils in 7; Doggie takes the Sens in 5.

Sit Ubu Sit...Good Dog!

1 comment:

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