2) What does that mean, Faux? Simply, in our opinion who a team plays in the playoffs has as much to do with possible success as any other issue. For instance, we don't care the point differential, where they finished in the conference, and how they did head to head, but you can bet for example the Boston Bruins would prefer to play any of the other bottom 2-3 teams other than Montreal. History simply is in the Habs favour. Through the years it doesn't seem to matter who finished where, these are close tough series and the boys from Quebec have the upper hand in the majority of them.
3) The B's and Habs are hardly unique here. other potential contentious first rounds could be a NJ-Rangers series. Sean Avery is back so despite the silly new dumb-avery-rule the league started for the super pest last year, you can be sure he'll still be near Brodeur's crease every moment he can. Shouting about Marty's predilection for sister in laws, etc. Anyone in DC want to face Pittsburgh in the opening round? For that matter would Philly want to face their cross state rivals who they have struggled against this season? We bet not.
4) Out West, right now its so ridiculously close that any of 4 teams might not even make the playoffs, let alone have a shot at an upset. However, think anyone wants to face the Canucks in the first round? Would the Sharks want to face the Ducks? Think Detroit and its high flying PP want to face the best PK in Minnisota (assuming the Wild even make it)? The Wings rely heavily on their PP and with their shaky goaltending could be ripe for an opening round upset IF the right matchup is set. Think Calgary would prefer the playoff novice Columbus Blue Jackets or their cross-province rival Edmonton Oilers?
5) Just a few examples of how the right matchup can laregly determine a team's fate in the post season. Many times it is not in the hands of teams to determine who they play. Sometimes being a higher seed sets you up against a tougher opponent. With a mere 10 or so games left there isn't one match up that is known. It will probably come down to the final buzzer on April 12th. Pay attention folks. This why we at Fauxrumors hold back on our Cup predictions until the first round is set!
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