Sunday, April 06, 2008

First-round playoff matchups

With only the Anaheim-Phoenix game tonight, everything's been decided as far as who plays who.

Games begin Wednesday night:

Eastern Conference
1. vs 8.

2. vs 7.

3. vs 6.

4. vs 5.

Western Conference
1. vs 8.

2. vs 7.

3. vs 6.

4. vs 5.

It's going to be a busy next few days here.




At 7:28 p.m., April 06, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

My gut feelings:

MTL over BOS: It should really be closer than the season series would indicate, but on the other hand, there's equal potential for this to be a prison shower scene. Very interested in how Boston responds to 11 straight losses to the Habs.

PIT over OTT: Ottawa's been a joke for at least half the season. Pittsburgh is awesome with Crosby and awesome without him. Unless MAF is injured and Ty Conklin repeats his legendary '06 performance, this should be fairly short, especially with no Alfredsson.

WSH over PHI: Matt Fenwick's last-60 chart shows Washington in the top five of the NHL since Game 20. Philly, not so much. I think Washington has too much momentum right now, though I wonder if they're able to maintain it beyond one series (see last year's Rangers).

NYR over NJD: Rangers fans better hope their spells over certain teams (NJ and MTL spring to mind) haven't been irreparably broken by late-season losses to both teams. On the other hand, Marty has developed this habit of looking really tired in the playoffs the last year or two. At some point, you've gotta wonder if playing 75+ games per season every year is really worth it. The guy isn't 25 anymore.

DET over NSH: While Detroit has an institutional history of choking against hot goalies in the playoffs the last few years, one has to expect that last year was a sign that they're done with that nonsense; one could argue that they were a phantom interference call from a Stanley Cup last year, though one would also be stretching it big-time. If Dan Ellis catches fire, though...yee, this could get interesting. Somehow I doubt this is going to be a swift series, especially given the surprisingly even season series between the two teams.

SJ over CGY: I don't trust teams that back into the playoffs and lack depth, and conversely favour teams that come in hot and carry depth. Anything's possible (cliche alert!), but there's nothing special about this Flames team that suggests an upset is inbound.

COL over MIN: And forget what I just said above, because while Colorado's been mediocre down the stretch, I just can't shake the feeling that a consistently healthy Floppa will win them one more series than they probably should win, otherwise. It'll be tight, either way.

ANA over DAL: I wonder if the chemistry in the Stars' locker room wasn't seriously disrupted by the Brad Richards trade. Besides, after scoring five points in his first game, Richards has managed just six in eleven games since, and I'm just not seeing him covering the bet on the balance of the evidence here. Anaheim, while they lack the forward depth they had last year, have yet more defensive depth (when Marc-Andre Bergeron, a PP specialist who scored 15 goals as Chris Pronger's hanger-on-du-jour in Edmonton and hip-checking savant, is your #7-8 option, you're doing okay), and I think that's probably going to be more important going forward, at least in the West.

None of this is based on deep analysis and anything more than a cursory glance at the NHL's website, so I could be wildly out to lunch here, but it's just my immediate gut reaction going forward. I'm perfectly prepared to be very, very wrong.

At 8:53 p.m., April 06, 2008, Blogger J.R. said...

Post the schedule!

At 8:59 p.m., April 06, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Don't worry, I will. We're still waiting for it in the newsroom.

At 9:19 p.m., April 06, 2008, Blogger Dare said...

I'm so wary of my Eastern predictions; I feel like there's ALWAYS an upset, and I'm going to shoot myself in the foot picking MTL, PIT, WSH, and NJD. I just can't se Boston overcoming their Habs troubles; OTT just keeps getting worse; WSH is coming in on a huge high (and Philly not so much); and I'm just not ready to count Marty Brodeur out (or put my faith in the Rangers).

West-wise, I think that Colorado's the best bet for an upset. My heart is rooting for Calgary, but their inconsistency is...pretty evident. I don't see Detroit not making it out of the first round. My heart would love to see Anaheim ousted in the first round, but Dallas hasn't looked very gelled in the last while, and I don't know if they're the team to oust them.

At 10:16 p.m., April 06, 2008, Blogger J.R. said...

I like Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia and New York to move on in the East. And I see Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota and Anaheim out west.

Upsets in the east, chalk in the west.

At 10:57 a.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

Two factors that (IMHO) are always overrated going into the playoffs:

1) Hot streaks (admittedly the Caps have been hot for quite a long time, which is different)

2) Season series. Have we not had enough of Toronto-Ottawa to put this one to rest?


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