Wednesday, May 09, 2007

2007 NHL Playoffs Round III

Before we get to the picks, have you ever seen a Cup contender self-destruct the way the San Jose Sharks did? Now that I am out of The Venerable Off Wing Opinion's pool, it looks as if I'll need a new pick for the Cup going forward. I can tell you who it won't be because of the four teams now left, only three of them have a real shot at the Cup.

Now despite what you might think, this seriously has nothing to do with my irrational hatred of Bryan Murray but his Ottawa Senators are non-contenders. Why? Well no team that has finished lower than 7th in the overall standings has ever won the Stanley Cup. And only two teams have ever done it from the seventh position with the 1991 Penguin Scum being the first and the 1995 Devils in the lockout shortened season being the other team. Ottawa finished 9th overall, so should the Senators pull off the upset over the Buffaslugs, the Detroit-Anaheim winner has locked up the Cup.

Anyway, after compiling a .500 record for the second round dropping my record in the postseason to 7-5, I enlisted the help of the blind cat that lives behind my building to pick the upcoming Conference Finals. She (at least I think it is a she) can't do any worse than I've done so far...

Series M; Eastern Conference Finals: Buffaslugs (61-32; 113 points; 1st Northeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) vs. Ottawa Senators (56-36; 105 points; 2nd Northeast Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 9th Overall)

After sleepwalking through another round, the Buffaslugs advance once again to the Eastern Conference Finals. This is the fourth time in seven playoff appearances that Lindy Ruff has gotten his team this far. But you can't say that his team is playing their best hockey right now and you have to like the matchup that the Ottawa Senators have against the Buffaslugs. Ottawa has the speed, the scoring depth, and the goaltending to match the Buffaslugs as evidenced by them winning the season series between the two teams 5-3. The Neanderthal set is creaming themselves in breathless anticipation of this series as everybody remembers the brouhaha between the two teams back in February. If this series gets gooned up, it plays into the hands of the Senators who have made it clear that they won't be pushed around. Furthermore, Ryan Miller has been out dueled so far in the playoffs but somehow keeps coming up with the wins and you have to wonder if the Buffaslugs will ever "turn it on" like people keep expecting them to. If they don't do it this series, they won't ever get the chance and thanks to my buddy Sparky, I see that the Buffaslugs are getting cocky before winning anything. Senators in six.

Series N; Western Conference Finals: Detroit Red Wings (58-36; 113 points; 1st Central Division, 1st Western Conference, 2nd Overall) vs. Anaheim Thug Ducks (56-36; 110 points; 1st Pacific Division, 2nd Western Conference, 4th Overall)

Where in the East you have a team that has slept walked (Buffaslugs) against another that has overachieved (Ottawa) in the West you have team that hasn't been challenged (Anaheim) against a team that has had a couple of gift wrapped series handed to them (Detroit). The Thug Ducks have been rather efficient in dispatching their first two opponents while Detroit has benefited from playing an imbalanced team and a self-destructing team. Detroit is missing three regular blueliners and that is certain to increase the load on Hasek's back. The Thug Ducks better not think that they can bully the Red Wings here because Calgary already tried that and failed. Unless Anaheim decides not to show up for this series or Detroit plays way above their heads, it shouldn't be very close. Thug Ducks in five.



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