Thursday, April 30, 2009

Second Round Analysis/Predictions

1) Wow, almost 36 hours without hockey. After almost 2+ weeks of nightly playoff games last night the rinks were dark. We need a fix, bad! LOL Anyway, the NHL playoffs resume tonight with the Conference Semi-Finals. Four series to decide who will play for the conference title. We will start in the East.

  • Boston Bruins VS- Carolina Hurricanes: On paper you would see this as the easiest series of the four to predict. The Bruins had 19 more points than the Canes. During the regular season the B's dominated Carolina. However if you have watched the Canes play the past 2 months you can throw those stat out. This is not the same team. Both teams have multiple scoring lines, with the Bruins probably possessing the best balance of scoring in the East. Will having well over a week between games hurt Boston? Certainly the B's weren't really tested in their essentially first round bye against the Habs. Will their tough 7 game series against NJ hurt Carolina? Both teams have excellent goaltending with Cam Ward appearing to regain his 2006 playoff MVP form. Can Thomas continue to play Vezina calibre? As is usually the case in the playoffs, special teams are vital. The Canes didn't produce much on the PP in NJ. They will have to capitalize with the extra man if they hope to win. The Bruins will have to use their size, toughness and speed to try to overwhelm the Canes. Key players to watch: For Boston: Phil Kessell For Carolina: Erik Cole Prediction: Bruins in 7

  • Washington Capitals VS- Pittsburgh Penguins: A series with plenty of star power! If Gary Bettman had his wish this would have been the conference Finals matchup as it guarantees plenty of press coverage with all the past that these teams have between them. Along with possessing some of the best/talented players in the game including the past 2 Hart trophy winners, etc. The Pens appear to be right back to where they were this time last year; playing their best hockey in April/May. Shero made some great trades that have bolstered his team. They beat a very solid Philly team in 6. Meanwhile the Caps were able to overcome a 3-1 deficit to beat the Rangers. The few days off will likely help recharge their fatigued bodies. The big question in DC has to be in net. Despite his great numbers, Varmalov is largely untested. Can he hold up to the onslaught of the Penguin attack? They have a real PP, unlike NY who didn't. Despite the attention the stars will get we believe it will comedown to secondary scoring. Here Pittsburgh has the advantage. Key Players: For Washington: Alex Semin For Pittsburgh: Sergei Gonchar Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6

2) Next the West:

  • Detroit Red Wings VS- Anaheim Ducks: If you simply looked at the standings to predict this one you'd be very mistaken. These two teams are more closely matched than their respective point totals indicate. In our opinion this series could produce the eventual Cup winner. The Ducks will have to be careful to control their penchant for penalties as the Wings PP will punish them if they do. Can Hiller beat yet another top seeded team? Was Osgood's play against Columbus due to his team, the opposition or his talent. He seems to never get respect for a guy with 3 rings. With the home ice advantage Detroit coach Babcock can match who he wants against the top Duck line of Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan who have accounted for most of the Ducks scoring. Can the other Duck forwards step up if those guys are shut down? The Wings on the other hand have much more balance up front (Datsuyk only had 1 goal in round 1) which usually wins in the post season. Key Players: For Detroit: Dan Cleary For Anaheim: Teemu Selanne. Prediction: Redwings in 7

  • Vancouver Canucks VS- Chicago Blackhawks: Both teams looked solid in their first round wins. Not to take anything away from either of their victories, but both were playing teams that were either injury riddled (Calgary) and/or fatigued from a late season playoff charge (Blues). The Blackhawks as we wrote yesterday are the youngest team in the NHL, but their young guns didn't appear to be intimidated by the Flames, and we don't see that happening here either. Its always about goaltending this time of year and here we have a great matchup. On one side we have former Cup champ Khabibulin playing at a similar level as 2004. On the other Roberto Luongo, who is considered one of the game's best, but has yet to do much in the spring (only 2 playoff round wins). Their teams need them to continue their high level of play to advance. We all know about the Twins and the two Hawk young guns, but the key will be who else can contribute. We see the Hawks as having more of those secondary guys, so we see them advancing unless Luongo stands on his head. Key Players: For Vancouver Pavol Demitra. For Chicago: Patrick Sharp. Prediction:Blackhawks in 7


Greg Cyrus said...

You're spot on about the secondary scoring. I'm saying my hawks in six.

Windy City Hockey

Antzmarching said...

What happened, Faux? No Ducks in the Finals? Ok, Antz weighing in here:

Boston in 6
Pittsburgh in 6
Vancouver in 6
Detroit in 7


1) Greg: The usual factors that decide playoff series are:
a) Goaltending
b) Special teams
c) Secondary scoring
In the case of the Hawks-Nucks series we believe the first two factors are a wash, but the hawks have a slight edge in the last factor(despite last night's melt down)
2) Antz: See above. The Wings just have too many weapons compared to Anaheim who rely entirely too much on one line. NOT saying it will be easy, nor is an upset out of the question(why we have it going 7), but if we were Janet Jones Gretzky, our money is on the defending champs here

Jibblescribbits said...

I see you've joined me in jinxing the Red Wings by picking them to win... excellent work


We are glad to do our part, Jibble! LOL

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