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Friday, April 11, 2008

Full Playoff Pool Type Predictions

OK, these last couple of days have been crazy busy for me. I won't bore you with the details, but I wanted to get this up before the first round got too deep in and then I'd look like a moron.

Normally every year I ran a NHL playoff pool. None of this round by round stuff like you all do in your NFL pools. This is exactly like an NCAA basketball pool. I must say, I usually am pretty close on these. Came in second the last time I hosted the pool two years ago before we all graduated from college. I don't run it anymore because I can't get the money from people and it's just a pain. Someday I'll start it up again.

Anyway, as you've seen from the previous two posts I broke down the first round in both conferences and made predictions about them as well. To continue on with that trend, here's what my picks would have been if I was in a pool this year with just a little explanation about each one. We'll start with what would be my second round and go from there,

But first, a refresher on my first round picks for those of you who are new to the site.

Eastern Conference

#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #8 Boston Bruins

Montreal wins in 5. This is such a mismatch it's not even funny and I'd actually be impressed if Boston stretches this to six games.

#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #7 Ottawa Senators

Penguins win in 6. After a season of growing and thinking about last year, the Penguins are back and much improved. New guns like Marian Hossa and Petr Sykora give this already deep team, another dimension. The Pens will turn the tables on the Sens and skate into the second round.

#3 Washington Capitals vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers

The Caps are one of the best stories of the year, but the fairy tale ends in the first round. Flyers in 7.

#4 New Jersey Devils vs. #5 New York Rangers

The Devils once again get into the playoffs based on their trap style of play despite having less offensive talent than a pee-wee hockey team. Anyway, the Rangers are playing their best hockey of the season and hold a 7-1 regular season record over the Devils. Rangers win in 6.

Now for the second round predictions.

#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers

For as good as Philly has been for most of the season (the injuries are the only reason they aren't a higher seed), the Habs are a better rounded team. The Flyers bruising style of play becomes ineffective when you can't catch what you're trying to hit. The Habs have plenty of speed and in this league, speed kills. Montreal in 6.

#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 New York Rangers

As a Pens fan I'd be a little uneasy about facing this team in the second round. The Pens have been totally shut down at Madison Square Garden the last couple meetings there this season. They also haven't shown the Rangers a full roster all season. As much as I like how the Rangers are playing and how good Henrik Lundqvist is, they have been a very streaky team this season and I'm banking on them going on a cold streak against Pittsburgh. Penguins win in 7.

Eastern Conference Finals

#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #2 Pittsburgh Penguins

This would be a very fun series to see I must admit. Even if you don't like either team you know you'd be glued to the tv for every game. The two teams match up very well against each other, play similar styles and have young goaltenders who will be stars in the league for a long time.

To illustrate how close these teams are, here's the season series.

Oct. 10 - Pens 3 - Habs 2
Oct. 27 - Habs 4 - Pens 3 (Shootout)
Jan. 19 - Pens 2 - Habs 0
Feb. 21 - Pens 5 - Habs 4

All four games were one goal games. The 2-0 Penguins win saw Evgeni Malkin score into an empty net in the dying seconds.

This series will be a fast paced one no doubt. The Canadiens have a great team, but I think the Penguins may have a little bit of a physical edge with guys like Georges Laraque, Jarkko Ruutu and Hal Gill. Pens win in 6.

Western Conference Playoffs

As with the above, here's the quick recap of the picks from the first round out west.

#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #8 Nashville Predators

The Predators are a great story this year and shattered expectations, but the Red Wings are too dominant and too deep for the Predators to have a chance in this series. Red Wings win in 5.

#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Calgary Flames

This will no doubt be a tight checking, defensive battle. San Jose is the hottest team in the league heading into the playoffs so they get my nod. Sharks win in 6.

#3 Minnesota Avalanche vs. #6 Colorado Avalanche

Plain and simple, I like Minnesota's goaltending more than I do Colorado's. The Wild play a fairly defensive style and should be able to slow down Peter Forsberg and the Avs. Wild win in 7.

#4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Dallas Stars

The Stars lead the regular season series, but the Ducks currently hold the cup and that's why I give them the edge here in what will be a fantastic series. Ducks win in 6.

Second Round

#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #4 Anaheim Ducks

I know what you're thinking. "Way to take all the favorites in the first round." Funny you should say that, I want to see this matchup because I think the Ducks may be the only team in the league that could not only slow down the Wings with their physical play, but also take them out. Ducks win in 7.

#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #3 Minnesota Wild

I question if the Wild would have been able to win a series in the first round without home ice and again, the Sharks are too hot to not think they'd go far. Sharks win in 5.

Western Conference Finals

#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #4 Anaheim Ducks

An all California Western Conference Finals. This could be one of the greatest series of all-time if it actually happens. (Remember, these are just one slightly demented man's picks based on some personal preference and a lot of nights watching hockey alone while his girlfriend wonders if she's dating a man or the NHL Center Ice package.)

If this happens I'll go into more detail, but I think the Sharks finally get over the hump and represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Sharks win in overtime in Game 7.

Stanley Cup Finals

#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #2 San Jose Sharks

As much as I'd like to annoy everyone and take the homer pick and say the Penguins will win the Cup this season, none of you would ever read this again and I don't want that.

Also, I think the Western Conference is a much better conference than the East in terms of talent. The Penguins have a legit chance for the first time in many years, but the Sharks have an edge in the defensive aspect of the game and in net. The Penguins have the hands down offensive edge, but in this league defense wins championships.

The San Jose Sharks in my opinion will be the 2007-2008 Stanley Cup Champions. It won't be an easy finals against the Penguins, but I see it going 6 games.

There you have it, my full out predictions of how the playoffs will turn out. I'll use this as a measuring stick as the playoffs go along and also do more round by round breakdowns like the previous two posts. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Apryl DeLancey said...

As I was reading I thought - "of course he picked the Pens" - and then you go surprising me at the end. Nice job and good "restraint" - I won't be doing a similar NBA finals post since I'll just pick the Lakers and make everyone mad!