Saturday, April 22, 2006

Playoff Hockey Part Two

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

So the other four matchups in Round 1 get underway today, with two afternoon matchups and two this evening - its Saturday night and Canadians can't do without their "Hockey Night In Canada". So I've talked about who I like and here's why.

Dallas over Colorado in five games - The Stars have too much for the Avalanche. Dallas is bigger and stronger up front - with more offensive firepower now that Arnott has gotten his act together after a few so-so years. Outside of Joe Sakic (and whomever is playing with him at the time), Colorado doesn't have a lot of options to look to for offense. On defense, while Dallas doesn't have anyone that is as good as Rob Blake, overall their defense is stronger, faster and just plain better. Last, but certainly not least, Dallas holds a decided advantage in net - this has not been Jose Theodore's year, and to expect him to come back from a long lay-off and be as good as Marty Turco is just not realistic. Colorado had their day - the sun has set now.

New York Rangers over New Jersey in six games - this one is sure to raise eyebrows, along with a call to an institution to have me admitted for observation. I know New Jersey finished off the year with 11 straight wins, I know Brodeur is playing great hockey and you shouldn't bet against him, and I know Jay Pandolfo has a history of shutting down Jagr. I know all this - I also know that the Rangers primary attribute, is the one that New Jersey has trouble dealing with - team speed. The Rangers are quick, they are good with the puck - and when Jagr is on his is one of the best in the league. The Rangers are solid in net with Lundqvist and their D is good enough to limit the Devils top line. I think the Rangers power play is going to be the difference in this one. Rangers in heard it here first.

Buffalo over Philadelphia in six games - much like the Dallas and Colorado matchup, the Sabres are better than the Flyers in every facet. Ryan Miller and Martin Biron give Buffalo a big edge in net over Esche and Nittymaki. The Flyers defense is big and slow - not a good matchup against a smaller, much quicker group of Buffalo forwards. The Sabres have two lines that can hurt you - with Forsberg, the Flyers might be able to put two lines together...question is, how healthy is Forsberg? Another playoff loss should spend the end of Bob Clarke...but he'll keep his job and keep putting teams like this together - big, tough and slow.

Carolina over Montreal in seven - I've been flip flopping on this one...remembering the old Hartford Whalers/Montreal Canadiens series that always seemed to go seven games. I'm not sold on Carolina, especially with the questions marks around Gerber's play as of late; but I think they are decidedly better up front and have too much firepower for Montreal to contain. Montreal is going to make it close...but at the end of the day, I don't think they have enough playmakers to get it done.

So that's it for this afternoon...there are my picks - do with them what you wish. Somehow, these have to work out better than my damn Pro-Line tickets (Everton cost me huge today by not being able to beat bottom-feeders Birmingham)... Lemme know who you like in Round 1.

Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, hope you are in the midst of a groovy Saturday afternoon...even with the Sox losing; look on the bright side...afternoon playoff hockey!

Song of the Afternoon on Hazelspeeps - just because

No Ordinary Love - Sade

Peesth Out!


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