Classic series for goaltenders….Mikka Kiprusoff against the “Dominator” Dominik Hasek. Is anyone going to score a goal in this series? Jerome Iginla vs Nik Lidstrom. The Red Wings have not had too much success with the #1 seed over the years. Last year was a train wreck, losing to the Oilers in 6 games. The Flames are a tough team to figure out. Great at home, can’t win on the road(yet). This will be the shocker in this year’s 1st round.
Flames in 7
#2 Anaheim Ducks vs Minnesota Wild
Pretty evenly matched series. 4 game season series was split in 2. Expect some top-tier goaltending from the Ducks J S Giguere and Minny netminder Nicklas Backstrom. Can Teemu Selanne continue his “Cinderella” season? Can Scott Niedermayer slow down the Wild’s super fast Marion Gaborik? Minnesota’s Brian Rolston could be the star of this series.
Minnesota in 6
# 3 Vancouver Canucks vs Dallas Stars
Just 2 points separated the Canucks(105pts) and the Stars(107pts) this regular season. Both have all-star goaltenders in Roberto Luongo and Mart Turco. Both teams are excellent defensively. Vancouver had the best penalty killing % over the year, Dallas finished strong, going 8-1-2 their last 11 games. Canucks have the advantage of home ice if it goes to a seventh game. Won’t matter
Dallas in 6
# 4 Nashville Predators vs # 5 San Jose Sharks
Does it get any better? Jumbo Joe Thornton against Peter Forsberg. Great until Forsberg twists an ankle, or a back, or a wrist, or a……..Sharks won the opening round matchup against the Preds in last year’s playoffs in 5 games, but the boys from Music City, USA won 3 out of 4 against the Bay Area Brats in this year’s season series. Could be the most physical series in these years’ playoffs. Can the Sharks handle the aggressive Predators through a 7 game series? I think not.
Nashville in 6
Detroit vs. Calgary
There goes Randy and that western Canadian bias picking the Flames to beat the Wings. Ain't gonna happen. Calgary comes limping in, nearly blowing its playoff spot to Colorado after having a huge lead over the Avs. Hasek is playing for a contract and the Flames stink on the road. Winning at the Joe won't happen and the Wings will fly into the 2nd round. The Motown boys bust out the brooms.
Detroit in 4!
Anaheim vs. Minnesota
What a series early on. The winner could win the Cup...and so could the loser! The Ducks have Pronger and Niedermayer in defense. In a low scoring series these 2 will be the difference. Remember what Pronger did for Edmonton last season until his wife put the family pants on and got out of town! Go get "JS Giggy" wit it! Anaheim in 7.
Vancouver vs. Dallas
First off, congrats to Roberto Luongo. He has had a super season and reached the playoffs for the 1st time. Unfortunately, he'll have an offseason of questions about being able to win in the playoffs. His team is led by the Sedins who will both be blanketed like Molller at a CFL night game in December!!! The Stars scoring from the blueline and hard nosed forwards will win it. And watch out for back-up goalie Mike Smith. If Marty Turco doesn't play well early Dallas won't hesitate to go to the bench early. Smith may be the best golaie you never heard of.
Stars shine in 6.
San Jose vs. Nashville
This is a 1st round doozy and the best series after Pitt-Ottawa. The Sharks beat the Preds last season and they will bite Nashville again. The Cheechoo train got on track late in the regualr season and that thing will keep on chugging in the playoffs. San Jose knows how to beat the Preds. Draw penalties and cash in on the power play.