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NHL 2007 Playoff Predictions

April 11, 2007

For the second year in a row, I will be putting my playoff picks on the site for all to ridicule.  This season, I’ve got Truth Serum joining me and putting his two cents in.

The action starts tonight with four games on the docket, so without further ado, here are the results of the End of the Bench first round pick ’em:

Eastern Conference

Buffalo Sabres (#1) vs. New York Islanders (#8)

Drew’s take: With Dipietro, the Islanders are a long-shot.  Without him (as they will be to start the series), they’re cooked.

Drew’s pick:  Logo BUF

Truth’s pick: Logo BUF

New Jersey Devils (#2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (#7)

Drew’s take:  If Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis can solve Marty Brodeur and the Devils offense can’t take advantage of the netminding problems in Tampa, this series could be an upset.  But when you’re not even dressing your highest paid healthy goaltender (former Jacket Marc Denis will be watching from the stands at least in Game 1), I’m not inclined to give you much of a chance.

Drew’s pick: Logo NJD

Truth’s pick: Logo NJD

Atlanta Thrashers (#3) vs. New York Rangers (#6)

Drew’s take: The Thrashers make their first post-season appearance, while winning the Southeast no less, and have the good fortune of facing the hottest goaltender in 2007 in Henrik Lundqvist.  Last season, King Henry and Prince Jaromir were embarassed by the Devils in the first round.  This year, a Rangers squad including Brendan Shanahan gets to pick on the new kid on the block.  Expect a big game or two from Atlanta, but probably not enough to take the series.

Drew’s pick: Logo NYR

Truth’s pick: Logo NYR

Ottawa Senators (#4) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (#5)

Drew’s take: In my opinion, this is the series in the East that poses the most questions.  Will Sid, Evgeni, and the young Penguin team choke in the playoffs?  Will Ottawa play up to it’s potential?  Which goaltender (Emery, Fleury, or Gerber) will come up big?  I think this will be the best first round matchup to watch in this conference.

Drew’s pick: Logo PIT

Truth’s pick: Logo OTT

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings (#1) vs. Calgary Flames (#8)

Drew’s take: This game is a chance for Detroit to exorcise some recent playoff demons.  In 2004, Calgary eliminated the Wings in the Conference Semi’s… a series the Wings were expected to win.  In each of the last three playoff runs, the Wings have lost in the first or second round to a lower seeded team.  With Henrik Zetterberg expected back, I’m sure there are many Detroit fans hoping this one is short, sweet, and to the point.

Drew’s take: Logo DET

Truth’s take: Logo DET

Anaheim Ducks (#2) vs. Minnesota Wild (#7)

Drew’s take:  It’s the time of year Ducks management has dreamt about since signing Chris Pronger to join Scott Neidermeyer on the blueline.  Duck forwards Teemu Selanne and the young guys like Perry, Getzlaf, and Penner will have to find a way to break through the opposition’s strategy of lock-down defense.  Interestingly enough, even with Manny Fernandez on the mend, all five of CBS Sportsline’s hockey talking heads have picked Minnesota to win the series.  As for us…

Drew’s pick: Logo ANA (That says Ducks… dang small logos)

Truth’s pick: Logo ANA

Vancouver Canucks (#3) vs. Dallas Stars (#6)

Drew’s take:  Last year I picked the Stars and Marty Turco to shake the recent playoff busts and win the Cup.  This year, they face an even more dangerous team in Vancouver.  Though this is All-World goaltender Roberto Luongo’s first playoff action in his career, he’s shown what he can do with a capable defense.  And Dallas… “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice… well you already fooled me once, you can’t do it again.”

Drew’s pick: Logo VAN

Truth’s pick: Logo VAN

Nashville Predators (#4) vs. San Jose Sharks (#5)

Drew’s take: A team with aging skilled forwards (Forsberg, Arnott, Kariya, Sullivan) takes on a team with younger skilled forwards (Marleau, Thornton, Cheechoo).  (Yeah, it’s simple and unfair… oh well.)  Aside from goaltending, the question I want to see answered is which deadline acquisition will pay off: Forsberg, or Guerin?

Drew’s pick:Logo NSH

Truth’s pick: Logo SJS

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