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Azazello1313

NHL Playoffs, Round 1

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ottawa (1) vs. ny islanders (8)

easiest pick of the first round. the isles stumbled into the playoffs, the sens have been steamrolling teams all year long. this ottawa team is REALLY good. i say the isles win one of the first two and make it look like it might be an interesting series, then get rolled up like the mediocre team they are.

senators in 5

 

new jersey (2) vs. boston (7)

no goaltending in beantown. hard to see them beating new jersey. getting samsonov back makes a great top line even better. but that's all they got. the devils should chew them up and spit them out.

devils in 5

 

tampa bay (3) vs. washington (6)

tampa will be a popular pick here. they've got lots of young talent, and one of the hottest goalies in the league. the caps have underachieved yet again, and jagr is hurting. but the caps have a great power play and an excellent, big, goalie. that's a good recipe for success in the playoffs. something tells me the caps pull this one off.

caps in 7

 

philadelphia (4) vs. toronto (5)

wow, this could be good. this could be nasty. i see a lot of things to like and dislike about both teams. philly might be a little healthier. lots of angles you could take on this series, but to me it boils down to belfour versus chechmanek...

leafs in 6

 

dallas (1) vs. edmonton (8)

again?! how many times can these two teams play each other in the first round? edmonton always makes it a pretty tough series. dallas always wins.

stars in 5

 

detroit (2) vs. anaheim (7)

watch out for this one, wings fans! if cujo isn't sharp, the ducks are plenty good enough to flip this series on its head. if i were going to pick an underdog in the first round (i don't consider st. louis, washington, or toronto true underdogs), this would be the series. nevertheless...

wings in 5

 

colorado (3) vs. minnesota (6)

best blueline, best line, best goalie, been playing the best hockey in the league since christmas. if the avs have a weakness, their third and fourth lines don't present much of a scoring threat. that's a pretty small concern. minnesota is good, and their speed is dangerous to an agressive blueline like the avs'. but the wild will be overmatched.

avs in 5

 

vancouver (4) vs. st. louis (5)

really good teams with really big question marks. the two biggest ?? are osgood and cloutier. i can't quite buy into either one. hmm. if the blues are healthy, i think they're deeper and they've got a better blueline. IF they're healthy. i think they're healthy enough..

blues in 7

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I agree with every match-up.....

I see the winner of the Tor/Phi series going pretty far.

 

Col, Det, Dal are the elite of the West. Col seemed to really put it together with Granato.... another cup for the Av's.

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Agent Aznutchzki:

 

philadelphia (4) vs. toronto (5)

wow, this could be good.  this could be nasty.  i see a lot of things to like and dislike about both teams.  philly might be a little healthier.  lots of angles you could take on this series, but to me it boils down to belfour versus chechmanek...

leafs in 6

 

I guess I agree but disagree here. I do think allot of playoff hockey comes down to goalie play like you say but I think for that reason I give the edge to chechmanek over belfour. Belfour historically has been pretty good in the post season but we also know how erratic he can be. I.e I wouldn't be surprised to hear he'd been arrested again and tried to bribe a cop with a billion dollars or if the "cough medicine" has caused another bad game.

 

Looking strictly at their numbers for this year:

 

Cechmanek - 58 games played; 33-15-10 with a 1.83 GAA average (2nd in the league in GAA)

 

Belfour - 62 games played; 37-20-5 with a 2.26 GAA average

 

Seems like Cechmanek should have the edge?

 

Disclaimer: I really don't follow hockey that closely asside from watching the Stars so those assumptions I made are based soley on what I know about Belfour and the stats.

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belfour has proven to be a DOMINANT playoff goalie. the two series when the stars beet the avs in the conference finals (99 and 00?) tell you all you need to know about this guy's ability under pressure.

 

cechmanek has never won a playoff series.

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Agent Aznutchzki

 

new jersey (2) vs. boston (7)

no goaltending in beantown.  

 

Story of the series right there. All other things equal, Brodeur tops the B's woeful goaltending by a LARGE margin.

 

Shame too; I have to disagree with your "that's all they've got statement" - they have decent talent on their second line and a pretty f'n solid group of defensemen, plus a couple real difference makers in Thornton and Murray. But without a goalie, ESPECIALLY vs a probably Hall of Famer like Brodeur, it's called "knocked out in the first round."

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I'm still in shock the Canucks lost the division on the last freakin day of the season. :D

 

The Avs'lack of offensive depth most likely will catch up with them sometime....on the other hand having Forsberg, Hejkduk, Sakic... brow

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Some comments after watching last nights games:

 

The Flyers-Leafs and Oilers-Stars series are going to be unbelievable. Talk about hard hitting, intense hockey. These guys just don't like each other.

 

Impressive win by the Isles, they have one of the top defenses in the league, but I think there is no way they beat Ottawa in a series.

 

Gotta love Darcy Tucker getting hurt, dontcha. Talk about justice. Too bad it wasn't Peca that took him out. And how about that nasty elbow in the Stars game by Hatcher? Can you say suspension?

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HUGH ONE:

Some comments after watching last nights games:

 

The Flyers-Leafs and Oilers-Stars series are going to be unbelievable.

It just wouldn't be playoff hockey without the annual Stars & Oilers matchup. The Oilers are going to give the Stars all that they can handle.

 

Fortunately for the Wings, we get to see a familiar face... The Anaheim Junior Bitches. thumbs_u (St. Louis is the original Detroit ***** )

 

I've got a feeling that the West is going to come down to the Wings and Avs again. I'm glad to see the Avs playing well again. It's also nice to see that Roy retrieved his jock after last year's game seven. I was beginning to worry that he lost it for good. :P

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Egret:

It just wouldn't be playoff hockey without the annual Stars & Oilers matchup.  The Oilers are going to give the Stars all that they can handle.  

 

It is amazing that 6 out of the last 7 years these 2 teams have made the post season and had to face each other, 5 times in the first round (both missing the post season in the same year).

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frm espn's john buccigross...

 

Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings

I can't believe the Wings did not seize home-ice advantage with games in Columbus and Chicago to end their season. I think that could prove fatal to their Stanley Cup hopes. Anaheim is a much tougher opponent than Edmonton. Anaheim has good special teams, is good at faceoffs and has a good goalie. Anaheim is good enough to beat Detroit. In fact, I would take Jean-Sebastien Giguere over Curtis Joseph if I were starting a team right now. The Wings might be fooling me. Maybe they will tighten things up in the postseason like the legends they are. But, for now, they are too loose. I can't believe I'm typing this, and it's a reach, but I have no faith in Cujo. Anaheim in 6.

i agree with him about the goalies. JSG has just been awesome this year. cujo has been playing better lately, but he just seems a little...i dunno...shaky to me. if the pressure starts to mount, i can see him folding a little bit. not saying it's going to happen, but it definitely could happen.

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I realize this is a little late, but . . .

 

Ottowa (1) vs. NY Islanders (8)

Ottowa, no doubt. Garth Snow isn't a playoff goalie and the Sens have too much firepower.

Senators in 5

 

New Jersey (2) vs. Boston (7)

I think Boston's got some serious punch, and the Devils might be surprised by how effective Samsonov is coming off the injury.

Devils in 7

 

Tampa bay (3) vs. Washington (6)

Tampa is too young, hungry, and talented. Plus, I'll take the Bulin Wall over Overrated Olaf any day.

Lightning in 6

 

Philadelphia (4) vs. Toronto (5)

Toronto is just too banged up, and Amonte has given the Flyers the offensive punch they've so desperately needed.

Flyers in 6

 

Dallas (1) vs. Edmonton (8)

No contest here.

Stars in 5

 

Detroit (2) vs. Anaheim (7)

I think the Wings bring it for this series. It'll probably go to five games, but I'm too much of a homer not to pick the sweep . . .

Wings in 4

 

Colorado (3) vs. Minnesota (6)

The Wild will give the Avs a bit of a time here, and I think they'll score more than the Avs are expecting. Overall, though, that much talent is just too much to overcome with "system" play.

Avalanche in 6

 

Vancouver (4) vs. St. Louis (5)

I think the Canucks are hungrier and bigger, but the defense of the Blues makes Osgood's job easier than Cloutier's. It's the battle of the inconsistent goalies, and I give the edge to St. Louis.

Blues in 7

 

Peace

policy

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Bier Meister:

Col, Det, Dal are the elite of the West.  Col seemed to really put it together with Granato.... another cup for the Av's.

Remember how everyone said Roy was playing the

best hockey of his life all last season? Remember how he choked in the playoffs? You'll see a repeat this year, I guarantee it.

 

Peace

policy

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:D I am unfortunately a Sharks fan..... so no COl bias. From what I've seen, Col has been playing great hockey since the coaching change. Det and Dal have had more steady seasons. IMO they have played less inspired. I know playoff hockey is different, but i don't see Dal or Det playing as well. I just think they need to turn the switch to get past Col this year.

 

and...... i still like the winner of Tor/Phi to take the East. Ott didn't seem like a strong president's candidate to me.

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What a great night, both the Red Wings and Avalanche lost. thumbs_u

 

As an eastern conference guy, I don't get to see much of the Wild, although I must say they looked pretty good. Granted, Roy played like crap, but the Wild seem like a quick, young, motivated team, and if Roloson keeps it up in net, I think they might actually have a chance. Any opinions or insight?

 

Unfortunately, I don't see the same happening with Detroit as they pretty much outplayed Anaheim, although Giguere looked mighty fine last night as well.

 

 

Disclaimer: Disgruntled Penguin fan

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HUGH ONE:

What a great night, both the Red Wings and Avalanche lost.   thumbs_u  

 

As an eastern conference guy, I don't get to see much of the Wild, although I must say they looked pretty good. Granted, Roy played like crap, but the Wild seem like a quick, young, motivated team, and if Roloson keeps it up in net, I think they might actually have a chance. Any opinions or insight?

 

Unfortunately, I don't see the same happening with Detroit as they pretty much outplayed Anaheim, although Giguere looked mighty fine last night as well.

 

 

Disclaimer: Disgruntled Penguin fan

i'd have to say you've got it backwards. the only time the wings outplayed anaheim was in the first OT. anaheim was right there with them all night. they really play a great defensive system, and i think JS giguere is the bomb.

 

the avs, however, totally dominated the wild in the first period. the wild got that PP goal in the 2nd, then the avs got a little messy in their own end and let in two more.

 

i don't think minnesota can win a 7-game series here. anaheim i'm not so sure about.

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oh my, the wings' nuts are in a vise grip now! last year, i expected the wings' blueline to look a little slow and stale in the playoffs. i was wrong, they played great last year. but my prediction is coming true a year later...anaheim is exposing them. it's those quick little f'ers like kariya and sykora and chistov and stevie thomas that are giving them fits. rob niedermeyer looks awfully good, too. the moves the ducks made at the deadline didn't look too bold or groundbreaking at the time, maybe with the exception of bringing in ozolinsh. but wow, did those moves ever make them better.

 

and JSG has that cockiness...he could end up being a great playoff goalie.

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I am pretty schocked by the ana/det series..... I really thought that one would have been one of the quickest (ummm... for det)

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Agent Aznutchzki:

last year, i expected the wings' blueline to look a little slow and stale in the playoffs.  i was wrong, they played great last year.  but my prediction is coming true a year later...

True enough; Chelios has not played well, Bykov has had several "rookie moments", and they desperately miss Jiri Fischer's speed, physical presence, and cannon from the point. However, the big problem is the fact that the Wings can't seem to solve JSG. Over and over, they don't take the open shot, dish it off instead, and then put it into his leg pads. I don't know why they're not lifting it more--they only times they beat him is when they get the puck off the ice . . .

 

Peace

policy

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you're right, pv, i kept remarking to myself all night that they needed to go up higher on him. most of the saves he had to make were easy ones for a solid butterfly goalie of his caliber. he's not giving them much 5-hole AT ALL.

 

but on the other hand, all those easy saves show how little the wings' advantage in shots on goal actually means. anaheim, IMO, was the better team with the better chances in games 2 and 3, and game 1 was really close except for the first OT. people will tend to blame cujo and hail giguere, but to me that's not the real story of the series. anaheim is too quick, too hungry, and they also look like a better-coached team.

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Agent Aznutchzki:

people will tend to blame cujo and hail giguere, but to me that's not the real story of the series.  anaheim is too quick, too hungry, and they also look like a better-coached team.

Agreed. Outside of a couple soft goals, CuJo has played very well, we just haven't been able to get our skaters on the same page. All the missed passes, the lack of coordination, too many men on the ice . . . I'm not impressed with Lewis' playoff coaching debut. If you're watching the Wings closely, you can see the individual effort level is very high, but it's not focused. Many passes are directed to spots where players should be, but aren't. Our positioning is off, no one is ever in the slot, the Ducks have been playing good D, and we keep letting them get open shots on CuJo. Straight up, the Wings don't deserve to win this series the way they're playing.

 

I will bet anyone a million dollars they win this next game tonight . . . and then we'll see.

 

Peace

policy

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policyvote:

I will bet anyone a million dollars they win this next game tonight

I'll take that bet. Well, not the million dollar part, but I think this thing is over.

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policyvote:

I will bet anyone a million dollars they win this next game tonight . . . and then we'll see.

 

i hope you're right. i hope they win tonight, and we start hearing from their fans again, and then they go back to the joe for game 5 with a little confidence and the money shot happens right there in front of their own fans brow cool_thu

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Wow....who would have thought a sweep by the Ducks.

 

Hindsight is always 20/20 but how big is that loss to Chicago in the regular season finale by Detroit now? They would have gotten Edmonton instead of Anaheim in the 1st round.

 

Hopefully Dallas can take care of business in the next 2 games b/c the Ducks are going to get plenty of time to rest now.

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