After the Vancouver Canucks’ hard fought victory over the Dallas Stars last night, all of the match-ups for the 2007 second round NHL playoffs have been decided. As can be expected, predicting the winners of the 2nd round playoff games is considerably more difficult than the first, given than eight “weaker” squads have been eliminated from the 2007 NHL playoff picture. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to do it.
Wanna know who you should bet on for 2007 second round NHL playoffs? Don’t want to fork over the big bucks to professional analysts and insider sources? Well, then check out my playoff predictions below and throw caution to the wind!
(Note: I am in no way responsible if you decide to break the bank and ending up putting yourself out of house, home, spouse, and foam — I couldn’t think of another word to rhyme with home — because the following is just what I think. It’s not like I paid off the players or anything.)
First, let’s have a look at the Western Conference.
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. San Jose Sharks (5)
So, the Red Wings think that they’re all high and mighty because they dusted off the Calgary Flames. They think that they’re hot stuff because they were just a few points away from the President’s Cup during the regular season. They’re all proud of themselves, because they haven’t missed the NHL playoffs since way back in 1990. Yeah, the Red Wings have a lot going for them, but I have a strong gut feeling that the San Jose Sharks are going to knock out the number one seed, thanks to a high-powered offence (Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Jonathan Cheechoo, just to name a few players) and a good level of momentum. It’s going to be a tough battle, but the Sharks should come out on top. I said all along that they are easily one of the best teams in the West this year, despite their fifth-place seeding.
Sharks in seven
Anaheim Ducks (2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (3)
It’s the Ducks and the ‘Nucks. This is what the Vancouver Canucks have been fighting for, but they’re going to have to give up home ice advantage for this series. Although Trevor Linden really stepped up his game in the playoffs — he did get the game-winner on Monday night — the so-called superstars haven’t been performing at the level they should be. Markus Naslund, Daniel Sedin, and Henrik Sedin have made nary an impact on the scoresheet thus far, with the exception of the scoring bonanza of Game 1 against the Stars. We already know that Roberto Luongo will bring his A-game, but will it be enough? I’m really saddened to say this, but as much as I would *LOVE* for the Canucks to win, I don’t think it’s going to happen. The Ducks are ridiculously strong, both in terms of scoring, rough grit, and goaltending/defence. Heck, even the backup Bryzgalov has been stupendous. I sincerely hope the hometown Canucks prove me wrong.
Ducks in six
Turning our attention to the Eastern Conference, we saw only one upset in the first round (much like the West), but it was quite a doozy with the Rangers sweeping the Thrashers. What can we expect in the second round?
Buffalo Sabres (1) vs. New York Rangers (6)
The Sabres were easily the best team in the NHL during the regular season, and they made short work of the eighth-seeded New York Islanders in the first round of the 2007 NHL playoffs. They’re a tight-knit squad with excellent communication, superb passing and shooting, and a formidable goaltender. Even their defencemen, most notably Brian Campbell, get in on the scoring. The Rangers, on the other hand, sort of came out of nowhere when they destroyed the Thrashers, shutting them out 7-0 in one game. Michael Nylander was great, but will they be able to keep it up through round two? I don’t think so. The fire will fizzle and the cream of the crop will rise to the top. Sabres are easily the safe bet here, especially considering that they cremated the Rangers during the regular season.
Sabres in five
New Jersey Devils (2) vs. Ottawa Senators (4)
I was very impressed with the Devils in the first round. We all knew that Martin Brodeur was going to be one of the best, and we already knew that key players like Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta would be good contributors, but the one guy that stole the show for Jersey was Zach Parise, who popped in six goals against the seventh-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning. The Devils aren’t all that flashy, but they get the job done. The Senators, by contrast, are a little more flashy, especially that Dany Heatley fellow. There’s plenty of experience on both ends of the rink, and it’ll definitely be an interesting series to watch. Tough call, but…
Senators in six
So, there you have it. Do you agree with my picks or do you think I’m completely off? Chime in with your thoughts through the comment form below.