Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First Round-Post Mortem

1) A very exciting first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs is now in the books. We will go through each series and: See how we did with respect to our predictions and summarize each series. First in the East:

  • Carolina vs New Jersey: We predicted a close 7 game series that the Devils would win. We were right in 2 regards. It was very close and it went 7, but the Canes prevailed in dramatic fashion last night. With goals from Jokinen and Staal in a 48 second span with under 2 minutes the Hurricanes literally grasped victory from the jaws of defeat in Newark. Eric Staal, played like the teams best player that he is. Brodeur, not so much last night. Other than his amazing shut out performance in Game 5, Marty was quite ordinary/mediocre and this now has to be a bit troublesome to NJ faithful. Its been a few years since Brodeur has shined consistently in the post season

  • Boston vs- Montreal: This is what a 1vs 8th seed series is supposed to look like! We predicted the Bruins to win a closer series than what we saw in 7. Instead the Bruins rolled over the hapless Habs in a sweep. Showing in the process that they can play the finesse as well as power game effectively. We bet Micheal Ryder especially enjoyed being the offensive star against his former team. The Bruins for sure will be a tough team for an opponent to beat 4 times in a series! One good thing, the Bruins winning here probably saved a few Montreal city police cars from being burned.

  • Pittsburgh vs- Philadelphia: We predicted the 5th seeded Flyers would beat the Pens in 6 games. The actual result was a Penguin series victory in 6. The top Penguin forwards (Malkin/Crosby) turned up their games to help the Pens beat the Flyers for the second consecutive season. M-A Fleury is quickly(if not already) losing his not reliable goalie label. He the past 2 seasons is showing why he was drafted #1 overall in 2003. Meanwhile after winning game 5 in the Igloo the Flyers couldn't protect a 3-0 lead at home. The turning point folks are saying is when tough guy, Dan Carcillo pummelled Max Talbot possibly awakening the sleeping tiger that was the Pens offense. Meanwhile, some day perhaps the Flyers will realize that you won't succeed in the playoffs with a mediocre goalie?

  • NY Rangers vs- Washington: We predicted a Caps series win in 6. The Rangers succumbed in 7. Washington became only the 21st team in NHL history to come back down 3-1 in a series. Washington's first series victory since the 1997-98 season. As we surmised Lundqvist was the reason this wasn't a short series as the Caps dominated the Rangers in every game other than game 7 when the Blueshirts were the better team through the first 40 minutes. However 20 (now 21) year old Russian net minder Symeon Varmalov proved to be capable of Cup pressure (allowing seven goals in six games) as well and along with fellow Russians Semin and the old man Fedorov( oldest player to score a game-winning goal in a Game 7) propelled the Caps to victory in game 7 last night.

2) Next in the West:

  • Detroit- Columbus: We predicted the Wings would prevail in 5. It turned out to be even easier than that with a 4 game sweep. The wings outscored the Blue jackets 18-7 in the series. 12-2 in the first 3 games! The Jackets, as many foresaw, were playoff novices and it showed. Even the likely Calder and possible Vezina winner Steve Mason couldn't hold off the RedWing juggernaut. This first round sweep was just the tonic the older Wings needed to prepare their Cup defense against tougher later round opponents

  • Vancouver vs- St. Louis: We predicted a Canuck victory in 6. The Blues fell in a sweep as it appeared that their fight for a playoff spot left little in their tanks to do much in their first round matchup against the Sedins and Luongo who were phenomenal in dispatching the Blues in quick order. It was the franchises first ever sweep. Have to give props to the Blues who never gave up and made the post season without some of their bigger stars. We'd have to say they will be back. The Canucks could benefit from the time off as some players are nursing nagging injuries

  • Chicago vs- Calgary: We predicted the Flames would win in 7. Instead the Blackhawks overwhelmed the hurting Flames in 6. In reality it wasn't even that close. The Flames were ousted in the first round for a fourth straight season.(following their Final appearance in 2004) As for the Hawks, they won a playoff series for the first time in 13 years. Its hard to say if things would have been different if Calgary were healthy, but the Blackhawks certainly showed that they are a team to be reckoned with now and in the future. (The Blackhawks are the youngest team in the NHL.) Also this series showed that 'The Bulin Wall' is back!

  • Anaheim vs- San Jose: We predicted a Ducks upset in 7. It turned out that it didn't even take them that long as the Ducks beat the perennial chokers from Silicon Valley in 6 games. Joe Thornton may have won his one on one fight with Ryan Getzlaf in game 6, but Ryan and his team won the most important battle/the war. We won't dwell on the Sharks as we did a post on that yesterday. The Ducks may be one of the best 8th seeds to make the NHL post season in many a year. Jonas Hiller answered in the affirmative folks who were wondering if he could be the #1 guy in the post season with former playoff MVP Guigere riding the pine.

3) So the final 8 matchups are set. In the East we have:

  • Pittsburgh-Washington

  • Carolina- Boston

In the West we have

  • Detroit-Anaheim

  • Vancouver-Chicago

Look for our series predictions/analysis out tomorrow! As always, keep it here for all the latest!

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