Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, April 21, 2021

i want stanley
The puck has already dropped on today’s early NHL playoff action (as you can see here). So it’s now or never if I want to make my picks for the postseason.

I hate making just straight win-loss picks; there’s about a thousand other schmucks in Internet land (and beyond) doing that. But I’m pretty burned out from the week, so the blogging energy level is low right now. Let’s see how I do; very unlikely I’ll maintain this throughout the tourney.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Ottawa Senators vs. No. 8 Tampa Bay Lightning
Easily the most lopsided matchup going into the playoffs. Ottawa needed a cakewalk in order to give starting goalie Dominik Hasek enough recovery time to come in for the second round, and the Bolts fit the bill perfectly. Tampa Bay, with its leaky goaltending, practically backed into the playoffs, and the Sens will back them right out in short order. Ottawa, 4-0

No. 2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 7 Montreal Canadiens
Both teams come into this series slumping. The Habs were probably hoping to go up against Ottawa instead, as they matched up fairly well versus their divisional opponent during the regular season. Koivu and Kovalev have enough skill to give the ‘Canes headaches, but not enough to pull the upset. Carolina, 4-2

No. 3 New Jersey Devils vs. No. 6 New York Rangers
The glamour matchup, thanks to the big-city backdrop. The Devils are riding an 11-game winning streak that not only secured their playoff spot, but improbably nabbed them the Atlantic title. This is an atypically high-tempo New Jersey squad, with the EGG (Elias, Gomez, Gionta) line keying the offensive attack. More importantly, with Brodeur, they’ve probably got the fewest goaltending qualms of any team in these playoffs. The Rangers are counting on the return of Henrik Lundqvist to re-find the team magic. Even though the Devils have that championship stink about them, I’m going to go homer and hope that Jagr can figure out how to shake Pandolfo’s ghosting tactic. New York, 4-3

No. 4 Buffalo Sabres vs. No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers
Philly’s feeling let down over not starting the playoffs with home-ice. Worst, they couldn’t have drawn the more fatal matchup — the Sabres’ speedy forwards should eat up the Flyers’ big-but-slow blueliners. Add to that the unsettled Esche-Niittymaki duo in goal, and the Flyers are toast. A healthy Peter Forsberg would make a huge difference, but we all know that ain’t gonna happen. Buffalo, 4-1

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 8 Edmonton Oilers
In dull fashion, Detroit marched its way to a President’s Trophy pile of points, as usual. I’d be tempted to look for an upset here, but I don’t think the Oilers can properly counter the Wings’ distributed firepower. I do think they could put a scare into Hockeytown, though. Detroit, 4-3

No. 2 Dallas Stars vs. No. 7 Colorado Avalanche
I’ve already picked Dallas to go all the way, as per Off Wing Opinion’s prediction pool. Of course, I picked Dallas to win it all in the last playoffs, and they got bounced in the first round by… the Avalanche. So I guess I’ll re-adminster my kiss of death. Still, I like what I’m seeing from the Stars. The Avs still have good skill players, and the Theodore gamble in goal might yield results. But I think this series will be won via special teams, and on both sides, the Stars dominate. Dallas, 4-2

No. 3 Calgary Flames vs. No. 6 Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Maybe the most intriguing series. Both teams found their defensive grooves around mid-season, with the Ducks particularly adept in using trap-like methods to the extent that the new rules allow. I see the Ducks exploiting line matchups here bigtime, leaving Kiprusoff to hold off a high number of shots on goal. He will, but not enough. By the time Calgary can figure out a counter, it’ll be too late. Anaheim, 4-1

No. 4 Nashville Predators vs. No. 5 San Jose Sharks
Everyone knows about the deciding factor in this one: The absence of Tomas Vokoun, sidelined by blood clots. The powerhouse pair of Thornton-Cheechoo is not the kind of breaking-in experience rookie Preds goalie Chris Mason needs. Nashville certainly matches up well against the Sharks otherwise, and I think the San Jose D is rather susceptible to odd-man breaks, but it’s going to begin and end in goal. San Jose, 4-2

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/21/2006 08:36:48 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink |

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  1. TWO EVENTS, TWO MISSES

    Today offered me two big-big-big sporting events in New York City that I could have attended:
    - The 2006 NFL Draft, at Radio City Music Hall
    - A few blocks away, Game Four of the Rangers-Devils playoff series, at Madison Square Garden
    Given that c…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 04/29/2006 @ 04:37:40 PM

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