While everyone in Vancouver (and Dallas) is anxiously awaiting Game 7 later on this evening, the rest of the first round matchups in the 2007 NHL playoffs have been decided. Seven of the eight teams (the eighth, of course, being either the Canucks or the Stars) have earned their respective spots in the second round where they will surely face stiffer competition, tougher challenges, and even more physical and mental exhaustion.

Looks like I’m due for a retrospective, so let’s have a look at how my first round predictions went, starting with the Eastern Conference.

I said that the Buffalo Sabres would stomp all over the New York Islanders, dusting them off in five games. Led by the performance of guys like Brian Campbell, Daniel Briere, and Ryan Miller, the Sabres didn’t have all that much trouble in this series, winning in five games. Looks like I’m off to a good start!

I figured that while the New Jersey Devils had the services of the incredible Martin Brodeur, the Tampa Bay Lightning had enough of an “electrifying” offence, so to speak, that they would push the guys in red to the limit. I predicted that the Devils would take it in seven, but they managed to do it in six. So, I was off by just one game.

The series between the Atlanta Thrashers and the New York Rangers totally didn’t go the way I expected. I thought Jagr was getting a little too far up there in years, but I failed to account for Michael Nylander and the rest of the crew in blue. The Rangers really rose to the occasion sweeping the Thrashers out of the playoffs. There was even a game in there that they won 7-0! This is a far cry from my prediction of Thrashers in five. I guess that makes me off by four games for the Thrashers, three games for the Rangers, for a total wrong-ness of seven. Ouch!

Most industry pundits said that the first round series between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins would be one of the most exciting set of games to watch during the 2007 NHL playoffs. Unfortunately, the Pens didn’t quite show up to the show as much as people had hoped, despite Sidney Crosby tacking up a solid five points. I said the Sens would win in seven, but it only took them five. So, I’m off by two games.

So, speaking for the Eastern conference first-round playoffs alone, I’m off by a total of nine games, seven of which are because of the Rangers’ incredible performance. That aside, I’d say I did just fine with the other three series. Coming from a different perspective, I got three out of four, or 75% (if we don’t account for how many games it took for a team to win).

The individual pool picks (players) that I selected didn’t do too poorly either, with the notable exception of Marian Hossa from Atlanta.

I’ll do a recap of my Western conference predictions after the game concludes in GM Place tonight between Marty Turco and Roberto Luongo the Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks. I fear my hockey obsession is going to be out in full force tonight.