Friday, April 20, 2007

2007 NHL Playoffs Recap and Predictions - Apr 20th

3/4 last night. The Wild had to go and get pummeled to screw up my predictions, both the Wild and the Penguins head to the golf course after last nights losses. 2 teams are on the brink of elimination tonight, the Islanders will be going home but the Predators will live to see another game, but only 1 more.

Tonight's Games:

New York Islanders (1) at Buffalo Sabres (3) : The Isles get bounced tonight, they simply cannot deal with the speed and skill that Buffalo presents on their top 3 lines. Alexei Yashin will again see limited playing time as he proves once again that he is just not a clutch player. No shutouts, but the score should be lopsided in Buffalo's favour.

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) at New Jersey Devils (2) : This series will very likely go to 7 games and the Devils will get the win tonight on home ice. The Devils are hoping to have Colin White back tonight to help control Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis who have scored 8 of the 12 goals that the Lightning have scored in this series. Martin Brodeur has yet to play at the level we expect of him in this series. If he doesn't find his form soon I will have to adjust my predictions and go with the Lightning to win this series, but tonight my pick is the Devils.

San Jose Sharks (3) at Nashville Predators (1) : Nashville is determined to screw up my predictions. San Jose has simply exerted their will on this series. They have out hustled and out worked the Predators so far. If game 5 was in San Jose I would be picking the Sharks here but I think home ice will give the Preds the extra kick they need to get past the Sharks tonight.

Recaps Day 10:

Pittsburgh Penguins 0 (1) at Ottawa Senators 3 (0) : The Sens were just too much for the Pens in round 1. The Penguins went 0-6 on the power play last night and had not managed a goal in 17 tries on the power play in this series. Ottawa's big defensive tandem of Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips were successful in shutting down Crosby for most of the series and Evgeni Malkin never became a factor. Still this season has to be considered a success for the Penguins, just making it into the playoffs was completely unexpected of this team. Regardless, it is now time to say goodbye to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Senators will face either the New York Islanders (not gonna happen), New Jersey Devils (my selection) or the New York Rangers in round 2 depending upon the outcomes of those series.

Detroit Red Wings 2 (b) at Calgary Flames 3 (2) : The Flames even up the series with another strong effort at home led by Miikka Kirprusoff and strong special teams play. If Calgary is going to survive round 1 they need to find a way to bring the team that played last night to Detroit.

Dallas Stars 1 (2) at Vancouver Canucks 0 (3) : Marty Turco gets his second shutout and his first overtime win in 7 tries in the playoffs. Vancouver was called for too many men on the ice in overtime and it cost them the game despite some stellar goaltending from Roberto Luongo. Again the Canucks low scoring offence shoots blanks and the Stars head back to Dallas in an effort to keep this series alive. Unfortunately that is probably the worst thing that could happen for Dallas, expect them to depart after Saturday's game 6.

Anaheim Ducks 4 (4) at Minnesota Wild 1 (1) : The Wild go home despite the strong play of rookie Finnish goaltender Niklas Backstrom throughout the series. The Anaheim tandem of Ilya Bryzgalov and J.S. Giguere have been stellar and managed to stifle the offense of Minnesota. As an example of how weak the offense for the Wild was in this series, regular season team points leader Brian Rolston only managed 2 points in this series while Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom managed 1, an assist on the Wild's only goal last night. This was a highly entertaining series, not because of fast paced offensive hockey, but because of the brutal physicality of the series. During warmups last night Derek Boogard and George Parros began pushing and shoving and Teemu Selanne took a puck in the face from some as yet undetermined source. By the end of the game Selanne was joking that he looked like Rocky as he had cuts over both eyes that required stitches. See ya Wild, unfortunately for you golf season has not quite started in Minnesota so you will have to sit on your hands for a week or so before you can hit the golf course.

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