2007 NHL Second Round Playoff PredictionsApril 25, 2007
I didn’t do quite as well as Truth did in my picks for the first round. I missed both of the 4 vs. 5 matchups. Wiping the slate clean, I’m starting fresh for round two. Here are my selections to advance in the conference semifinals.
Buffalo Sabres (#1) vs. New York Rangers (#6)
Drew’s take: Henrik Lundqvist is my key to this series. If he can slow down the four very viable lines of the Sabres, it may be enough for Jagr to lead the Rangers to the conference finals. Something else to watch will be Sean Avery getting under the skin of Buffalo players and fans. Should be fun.
New Jersey Devils (#2) vs. Ottawa Senators (#4)
Drew’s take: Marty, Marty, it’s a playoff party. 2.26 GAA, 0.917 Sv%, one shutout, and four wins. An experienced Devil squad takes on a Senators team that finally seems to have shown up in the playoffs. Strong defense against strong offense. The adage is that defense wins championships. My addendum is that you actually have to get to the finals to get your name on the Cup.
Detroit Red Wings (#1) vs. San Jose Sharks (#5)
Drew’s take: A lot of people were looking at Detroit’s first round matchup with Calgary to see how the Wings would hold up against the tough Flame team. I think we can safely say at this point that Detroit is no pushover. They played great hockey for most of the series, and put on quite a show with their puck-possession game. San Jose dismissed the Predators for the second year in a row, and have earned the right to face the number one team in the conference. Nicklas Lidstrom could be elevated to legendary status if he can shut down Joe Thornton and the Wings go on to win the whole thing. But I’m thinking Joe will be doing all he can to shake the label of a great player who can’t win when it matters.
Anaheim Ducks (#2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (#3)
Drew’s take: About ten months ago, I made some comparisons between Roberto Luongo and Marc Denis, or more accurately between their respective teams. At the time, they were members of the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets. It wasn’t my intention to say that Denis was of the same caliber as Luongo, but I’d understand if some people saw it that way. Seeing what Luongo has done in Vancouver this season, now would be the time for anyone who misread the original post to email me with a “told ya so!” On a team with mediocre scoring depth, Roberto Luongo has turned the Canucks into a contender. The question for today is this: how will he fare against a team that has considerably more scoring depth (Anaheim) than did Dallas? If the young Ducklings (Getzlaf, Perry, Penner, Beauchemin) can continue their strong play, Luongo may have to continue pining for that Cup inscription.
Things get started tonight with the Sabres and Rangers at 7, and the Ducks and Canucks at 10. Tomorrow night sees the Devils and Senators at 7, and the Wings and Sharks at 7:30. Let’s all hope we continue to see good, solid hockey.