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Old 04-11-2007, 02:17 AM   #1165
Clockwork Orange
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My playoff predictions:

Eastern Conference
1. Buffalo vs. 8. NY Islanders

The biggest mismatch in the postseason by far. Buffalo is deeper, faster, more skilled, you name it. The Islanders will even be without #1 netminder Rick DiPietro to start the series. I don't generally predict sweeps, but I'm very tempted in this case.

Sabres in 5

2. New Jersey vs. 7. Tampa Bay

The Devils were likely thrilled to see that their first opponent would be the one line wonder that is the Lightning. Lecavalier & St. Louis are dynamite, but if the Devils manage to keep them in check, what else does Tampa have? The goaltending matchup is Brodeur against Denis/Holmqvist. Need I say more?

Devils in 5

3. Atlanta vs. 6. N.Y. Rangers

Intriguing matchup to say the least. Skill all over the place on both sides, but neither can brag about being particularly tough defensively. The goaltenders are Kari Lehtonen making his first playoff appearance against Henrik Lundqvist making his second (his first was largely forgettable). This one's tough to call, but I think the Rangers are deeper and more experienced.

Rangers in 7

4. Ottawa vs. 5. Pittsburgh

Another series with plenty of skill on both sides. Ottawa gets the nod defensively and in playoff experience, but neither side can claim much of an edge in the all important goaltending category. I think this series comes down to which team is more disciplined and stays out of the penalty box. Tough one to call, but I think Pittsburgh wins a close one.

Penguins in 7

Western Conference

1. Detroit vs. 8. Calgary

I think this series is far closer than the seedings would lead you to believe. Detroit is talented, as always, but they've got plenty of question marks. The most important of which being whether or not $47 million dollar man Pavel Datsyuk and deadline acquisition Todd Bertuzzi will finally show up for a postseason. Calgary is younger, more physical and gets a very slight edge in goaltending from me. Detroit is far more experienced and disciplined. Another close one, but I'm calling for the upset.

Flames in 7

2. Anaheim vs. 7. Minnesota

At first glance this seems like an intriguing matchup, but upon further review, Anaheim has to be the heavy favorite. Minnesota has made a nice transition from boring trap team to skill & speed team, but they're running into a defensive juggernaut here. Gaborik, Demitra & Rolston are gonna find it tough sledding when they're looking across at Pronger & Niedermayer shift in and shift out. Oh yeah, then there's the matter of Anaheim trotting out former Conn Smythe Trophy winner JS Giguere against playoff rookie Niklas Backstrom. The Wild may need to go back to the trap to make a series of this. They won't.

Ducks in 5

3. Vancouver vs. 6. Dallas

It's almost bizarro world. Either Marty Turco will win a playoff series or Vancouver will. On the surface it would appear that Vancouver has a huge goaltending advantage, but not so fast. This is Luongo's first trip to the dance, and while he's always been a teriffic regular season netminder, so has Marty Turco......and we all know how his last couple of postseasons have unfolded. I think Vancouver is lacking in scoring depth and they've leaned too much on Luongo to get to this point. Dallas isn't exactly an offensive powerhouse either, but they've got the defensive edge as well as postseason experience. In the end I think Dallas wins a hard fought, physical series.

Stars in 6

4. Nashville vs. 5. San Jose

Probably the series in the West that boasts the most explosive offensive potential Both of these teams are loaded with talent, the power plays are top notch and each has two goaltenders they can go to at any time. Nashville's health is an issue (Sullivan, Erat and of course Forsberg) as is San Jose's top gun's penchant for coming up small when the chips are down (I'm looking at you Joe Thornton). In the end, I see the Preds taking the most entertaining series of the first round.

Predators in 6
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