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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Western Conference First Round Nightmare Scenarios

There is no way I cannot do the Western Conference scenarios after the way the Eastern Conference Nightmares were received. We got a big boost in traffic from and Greg Wyshynski, of FanHouse and The Fourth Period with his latest article It's Those 190-Foot Goals That Always Getcha

Check it out and scroll down to the end of the article for the link he graciously put to yesterday's Eastern Conference scenarios.

That's enough sentimental stuff. You're hear because you want to see what Gopher and I were able to come up with for the Western Conference. So here you go.

Detroit Red Wings

Let's get sentimental here for a moment shall we? Who didn't stay up late to watch these two teams go at it in the playoffs?

I don't care who you are, Colorado has to be scaring the top teams in the West right now with their deadline acquisitions. They practically re-assembled the cup team of 2000-01.

Here's the reason why Detroit would be a little upset about facing Colorado. These teams absolutely hate each other. Hate may not even be the right word. It's much deeper than hatred. I wouldn't be surprised if Lidstrom had to choke back some bile when talking about the Avs.

Anyone remember this classic bout? Expect more of this if these two see each other in the opening round.

I'm not saying Detroit would lose to Colorado, none of these nightmare scenarios are meant as predictions of winners unless otherwise stated. This pick is more selfish than anything as I would tape every game and watch them during those lonely summer nights without hockey.

San Jose Sharks

The first team that came to mind was the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver hasn't exactly lived up to the expectations I thought they would achieve at the beginning of the season, but that still doesn't mean that they don't have one of the best defensive teams in the league.

The problem with Vancouver is that they have no offense to speak of outside of the top line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and whoever they decide to put alongside those two.

However, even without the offense and a solid defensive scheme we cannot forget who is backstopping this team. Roberto Luongo.

I would not want to face Luongo in the regular season let alone the playoffs. He may very well be the best goaltender in the league. Here's a fun montage of some of the things Luongo is capable of done to a song from one of my favorite bands, Breaking Benjamin.

Note the final save shown against San Jose. Was it lucky? Of course, but it's things like that that could give the Sharks fits.

Minnesota Wild

How about a classic offense against defense series with the Calgary Flames. Now before you start jumping on me for saying the Flames are all about offense, they do have a much scarier offense than the Wild.

I look at the Wild and I see a team that reminds me a lot of the Devils. They play the same trap system, but the only difference is that Niklas Backstrom is not Martin Brodeur and there in lies the weakness.

On paper there is no question that Miikka Kiprusoff is the all around better goaltender even if he hasn't had the best of seasons.

Calgary isn't just going to have to bank on Kipper in net. They also have one of the most dynamic players in the league in Jarome Iginla. These two guys are capable of taking over a series in an instant. Let's not forget that they lost in the Stanley Cup Finals in Game 7 against Tampa Bay.

Here's some highlights of that great series in 2004.

(Side note: For those of you who remember Game 6 of that series in Calgary you'll remember it went to overtime and there was some controversy. Martin Gelinas appeared to be the first player in NHL history to score the series deciding goal in every round when he appeared to get the puck behind the Bulin Wall. The "goal" went upstairs for review and came back down as inconclusive which was a total crock. Congrats Flames fans, I award the Stanley Cup to you. I still believe the NHL went into a lockout because the Bolts won the Cup and that it had nothing to do with money whatsoever. That's my opinion and this is my blog so deal with it.)

Anaheim Ducks

I've been saving my personal pick at this very moment that is subject to change in the upcoming playoff previews for both conferences. The team the Ducks do not want to see in the first round is the Dallas Stars.

Anaheim earned their second win of the season against Dallas tonight in a hard fought 2-1 game. This was the seventh meeting of the season between the two clubs and Dallas still holds the 5-2 advantage.

This could quite possibly be the best series of the entire first round if we are lucky enough to witness this.

Who wouldn't get excited about J.S. Gigeure going up against Marty Turco? You'd have to be legally dead to not get pumped up to see two of the top goalies in the league go at it for potentially seven games. Think back to last year and how much fun the Canucks/Stars series was that went the distance.

Here's some Marty Turco heroics.

There is no more physical team top to bottom than the Ducks. That's what got them the Cup last year, but the Stars have had the Ducks number this year and could easily represent the Western Conference in the Cup finals this year.

Of course this will come down to whether or not Turco can shake the playoff demons that have haunted him over the years. By no means am I blaming last year on him, he played great. He just came out on the short end of things.

So there you have it. The nightmares for the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. Time to sit back and wait to see how many of these nightmares become a reality as we go down the stretch to the playoffs.

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