Playoff Predictions and Teams Analyzed

Western Conference:

1) Detroit- When Hatcher gets back they will have one of the best if not the best, top 6 defensemen in the league. You add to that they have the second best offense, and a pretty good goaltending dual of Cujo and Legace, I think this team is the favorite to come out of the West. Lots of depth, experience and role players.
2) Colorado- Strong goaltending by Aebisher all year, but it’s a different story in the playoffs. Has the top two lines in the league, as long as they can stay healthy. As long as Aebisher plays like he can, I see the Avs making it into the Conference finals.

3) Vancouver- They don’t seem as strong as last year and Cloutier still hasn’t proved himself yet in the playoffs. The Sedin twins are going to have to show up in the playoffs if the Nucks want to go anywhere. Should win at least one round, after that its up to Cloutier how far they make it.

4) San Jose- Great job to get back into the playoffs, but this team is too thin upfront. Nabokov is having a great year, but hasn’t really shown in the past that he can be a top playoff goaltender. Their big defense might give a few teams trouble, but not enough experience or leadership on the backend. Most likely out in the first or second round.

5) Dallas- Modano and Lehtinen have been invisible this year. This team is nowhere near as strong as they were last year. Their defense has lost Hatcher who was their most important defensemen in the playoffs. At times they have also struggled to score goals this year. They will go only as far as Turco will take them. Early first round exit or second at the most.

6) Calgary- Another team that is doing a great job of getting into the playoffs, but lack of playoff experience in almost every position should mean a quick exit for this team. Their work ethic has taken them pretty far this year, but in the playoffs it’s a different story. If they play Vancouver in the first round they might give them some problems.

7) Nashville- This might end up being this years Cinderella team. They have a good young team and are very hard to play in their own arena. Lack of experience might hurt this team though and since its their first time in the playoffs a lot of players will be learning the experience for the first time. Possible first round upset but should be gone by the second round.

8) LA- I think enough has been said about what a great job Murray has done with this team. Too many injuries and Cechmanek in the net should make them a easy first round opponent. Out in the first round, but to make the playoffs with all their injuries is an accomplishment itself.

9) St.Louis- Not sure if this team will make the playoffs, but if they do the Wings or Avs should make quick work of them. This team is falling apart and isn’t showing any signs of turning their year around.

Eastern Conference:

Philly- They need to get healthy. Other then that they will have the same question mark as last year, goaltending. Do they go with a veteran who isn’t playing that well (Burke) or do they go with a goalie with little playoff experience but is having a great year (Esche)? They should make it past the first round easy after that their fate will be in the hands of whoever is in net.

Ottawa- Strong in every position, except maybe goaltending. They had enough grit to take them to game seven of the conference finals last year, and they have even more this year. Everything will depend on Lalime this year. Shouldn’t have a problem getting out of the first round if they win their division but the second and third rounds will be tough.

Tampa Bay- They have one of the best offenses in the league and their defense is way underrated. Pretty good one two punch in net and have they have been the strongest team in the last part of this season. This is my pick for the Eastern Conference champs. One team I think that can give them problems is NJ.

Toronto- After a disappointing first round loss last year, they are in danger of the same thing happening again if they don’t win their division. A back problem is a bad sign for a goaltender, and Belfour doesn’t seem as strong this year as he was last year. I wanted to see a Wings vs. Leafs final but I have a feeling this team might be gone in the first round if they play the Devils or Bruins.

Boston- Raycroft is having a great year, but his lack of playoff experience is a question mark. If this team goes anywhere it will have to be Raycroft leading them not Potvin. This team might be the hottest team in the second half of the season this year. I think they will make it past the first round, but the second and third rounds will be a big battle for them.

NJ- Its so hard to repeat these days, but NJ has a decent shot at doing it. Whenever you have the best goaltender in the world anything is possible. They need Stevens for the playoffs and they need Gomez to have a strong playoff for them to win. Should make it past the first round, but I think this team will get knocked off in the second round.

Montreal- A young team with small forwards. Good job to make it to the playoffs but I can’t see this team going anywhere this year. Theodore might be able to steal them one series at the best.

NY Islanders- Easy first round opponent. Not good enough goaltending. They are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the playoffs but don’t count of them going anywhere.

Buffalo- This team is making a run to try and sneak in, but I think they might just end up falling short. I really can’t see this team doing too much in the playoffs.


44 Responses to Playoff Predictions and Teams Analyzed

  1. Kashin says:

    Even though it was bad this year you gotta love the ranger islander rivalry. I dont care what you say… best in the game. Right now the ranger fans are chanting “You cant be us”. The islander fans are chanting “Out of playoffs”. They are 2 different teams when they play each other. Not only that but now 2 hockey fans are fighting… the players fighting is not enough? Best rivalry in the game. I dare one to argue.

  2. Mailman says:

    im praying for toronto get get 1st in the east just so we can play the islanders. the toronto vs. islanders series 2 years ago was freakin amazing. after that what happens happens, the series is worth it alone.

  3. wheresthesoda says:

    yea.. i cant wait for the islanders 2 get there asses handed 2 em..and have tucker take out there captain again…it was a low hard hit and i loved it.

  4. hockey_man1468 says:

    I’m not sure about your playoff predictions. For example in the Western Conference you have Colorado and Vancouver ranked 2 and three. That’s not possible because a team from the Pacific Division will claim 3rd seed based on them winning their division. This leaves Vancouver in no better than fourth, and them having no chance of playing a 5th place Flames squad.

    Although I agree that would be a great series.

  5. bringbacktocchet says:

    i don’t think anybody wants to draw the kings as a first round opponent (much like the preds), especially the avs. kings have played this team tough all this year and in the past. and the avs record at staples is less than stellar. the fact remains the only reason l.a. never knocked out colorado was because of one man – and he is now gone. if the kings make a good move at the deadline, like i know davey t will, this will be a great first rounder and something avs don’t want. i agree that rangers / islanders rivalry was top notch. purrington is a turtle and cheap shot. what does he have to gain by not fighting – you’re out of the freaking playoffs. so you got your team a 7:00 power play – don’t forget your purse when you clean out your locker in a couple of weeks.

    p.s. – anaheim start selling, you wasted cash this summer and are losing it hand over fist, your arena is empty and your flash in the pan season is a fading sunset here in so. cal. don’t forget to throw in some front of the line passes for space mountain when you start dealing.

  6. the_expert_44 says:

    yep, enjoy watching the isles cuz the rangers wont be there

  7. Habfanforever says:

    Anyone could argue that because I find there are many good hockey rivalries. Dallas and Edmonton playoff series are always great. Toronto vs Ottawa are also good. Two team that love to hate each other are Montreal and Toronto, they are in my opinion the longest standing rivalry.

  8. dkball7 says:

    C’mon wills, you could’ve done a better job than this!!! These “predictions” are practically the same things as the standings are right now!

    NJ 6th??? C’mon man, we’re surging!!! 18 goals in the last 3 games… 30 goals in the last 7 games! Its 2000-2001 all over again, except this year Neids is winning the norris, and we’re winning the cup ;).

    BTW, whats up with the reports saying that Lou is interested in Leech? That would be cool though…

  9. Primis says:

    OK I’ll dare.

    Mainly because neither of those teams has had any notable playoff success recently (or even made the playoffs at times), and there are about 2 or 3 other rivalries where the teams HAVE made and even met in the playoffs.

    At this point even Oilers-Stars is a much more deeply-seated and intense rivalry.

    Just because it’s NY doesn’t mean anyone else cares.

    — Primis.

  10. NYIman says:

    Why does everyone discount the Islanders. I am not saying they will win the cup, but they can be a scary team, and could go deep if they can add some size. If you you consider that they have lost 6 game to the rangers(not happy) that leaves only 17 to the rest of the league…winning series against the devils, TO,philly etc. As I said …not winning the cup but can be scary and deffinately not to be overlooked.

  11. Viller says:

    Anyone who bashes Sean Burke hasn’t seen him play tonight against Ottawa.

    39 saves and alot of em that saved the flyers.

    I was at the game, he was simply AMAZING.

    If Esche can play like he did before his injury, the flyers will be FINE.

    Burke showed he can play under tons of pressure tonight.

  12. Freeze says:

    I think you’re right. I watched the highlights on ESPN and Burke made some incredible saves – especially the one on Bondra. Maybe some of the Flyer fans have underestimated Burke.

  13. drgnhrt says:

    For a little while, I thought Toronto-Ottawa was the best rivalry, but right now, I think Rangers-Islanders hold a slight edge, having played all six games. The Leafs and Sens, however, still have two games to go and depending on where they are in the standings (they play their final two games at the very end of the season), they might return with a vengeance and take the top spot for best rivalry this year. If they are still battling for first place in the division, it might be a real bloodbath between those two teams.

  14. JeffBurnz09 says:

    Umm, you pretty much picked everyone in the West except Colorado and Detroit to go out in the first round. I don’t think Colorado are going far in the playoffs because of Aebisher. He’s done extremely well this year, but the playoffs are a differant story, and I don’t think he’ll be able to take them far. In time, yes, but not this year.

    Detroit also has some questionable goaltending. Cujo has to show he can rebound from last year’s loss to the Ducks. I’m not saying he can’t, but its at least possible he’ll blow it. And if your one of the people who say that Detroits offence let them down last year, then they’re offence will have to score some goals after being shut down last year.

    I think Vancouver is the same old story, great season, start to choke around March/April. They’ll blow it in the playoffs. Calgary are just happy to be making the playoffs for once, but they probably won’t be going too far once they do. Nashville should be shut down pretty easy to by whoever they play.

    I think you over looked Dallas. Dallas is where they are right now because of a terrible first half. They have played very well the last few weeks and are doing it without Modano doing very much. Don’t be fooled by finishing 5th or 6th, once they’re in the playoffs, anything can happen. Modano will show up when it counts, Turco has a year of playoffs under his belt and while their defence isn’t what it was last year, its really not too bad. They might not win the West, but they’re far from the after thought you think they are.

    Dallas, LA or Detroit wins the West this year.

    By the way, gotta agree with you on Tampa Bay. Philly’s hurting/don’t have PROVEN goaltending, Toronto’s, well, Toronto and won’t get far in the playoffs, and Ottawa are always prone to choke. I like Ottawa, but it’s possible. Tampa wins the East.

  15. JeffBurnz09 says:

    He had a great game tonight, but thats 1 game. Can he do it everynight in the playoffs?

  16. Viller says:

    maybe not.

    But Esche and Burke together can…

  17. Viller says:

    Oh btw, did anyone see the cheap shot Havlat did?

    I hope he gets suspended at least for 5games for that, because of people like him that players get injured for nothing. With the force of the swing he had on that shot at Recchi, he could of broke his jaw and nose at the same time.

    ok end of rant.

  18. bamboo says:

    What if the Habs were a bunch of anglophones. would you still be a fan forever? What if they were the Leafs farm team? What if they moved to portland? The Portland habs…..has a nice ring to it.

  19. edmontonrules says:

    I’m not one for defending the Leafs normally but….. when you said that “Belfour doesn’t seem as strong this year as he was last year”, did you mean in his back? Because his average is a hell of a lot better, he was on pace for more shutouts, average is the same basically, and he has no penalty minutes (compared to 24 last year). The only reason I can see why he is “weak” is because of his back. His playing has been pretty good from what i’ve seen.

    Oh ya you could possibly put the Oilers in for the last place in the playoffs. They might sneak in there again……. ok probably not. But still, they seem to impress people in the last few games.

  20. Wills says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. Thats not how I think the teams will end up in the division, just who I think are the top teams.

  21. OldNord says:

    Are you stoned/drunken or both?

  22. UsedandAbused says:

    Philly Beat them 3 times already this year, and they only play 2 more games. At best Islanders can tie.

  23. Kashin says:

    First off one thing is isle fans and ranger fans live in the same area. Edmenton is Northern Canada and Dallas is Texas. It is no where near as physicallness as the 4 games they might play every other year in the playoffs. Isles Rangers fight for ground to claim the domain. Players step it up 5 levels in terms of intensity.

    Tradition. Isles Rangers are a tradition no doubt about it. For 30 years now with consitency. Theyve had some great moments in those 30 years. More in the 8 years of dallas and edmonton. this doesnt recccquire a playoff series to make it great.

  24. Kashin says:

    Leafs senators have been playing in the same division for 6 years. Isles rangers…. 31 years. People in toronto like the leafs in ottowa the senators. its a mix here.

  25. ManillaKilla says:

    That’s what you get with Burke. Sometimes he looks like Patrick Roy, other times he can look like Darren Pang.

    Outstanding performance last night, though.

  26. veggetto1725 says:

    Alot of people over here in philly are ripping on Sean Burke because he had a couple of bad games. The people that are yaping about Clarke playing Burke over Esche should shut their damn mouths they must not understand the move was made for a player that could win some games but mainly help develop Robert Esche anything else that they get from burke is a bonus so stop bitchin.

    After last nights game he more than made up for those couple of bad games and now the fans will cheer him until he loses then they will stab him in the back who wants to play their hardest and then get booed if they lose.

    I do not think that Jermey roenick should play agin if its true what the second test showed. If he retires insurance pays him so the flyers will have extra money so they might make a move for Lang Nedved or Nylander.

    I really hope the third test shoes that Roenick is ok to play again without the risk of being crippled.

    He is right he does need to think about life after hockey but he might still try to play even if he shouldnt his love for the game is incredible.

    Either way the flyers goal tending is no excuse for them not to go deep into the playoffs They will be like a whole new team when all their injuries heal.

    Real fans suppport their teams even if they arent winning shows Philly needs more true fans insted of getiing the Eagles left overs.

  27. bleedingblu says:

    I want to put in my 2 cents on the predictions.

    I agree with your predictions in the Western Conference. I put my money on Vancouver to come out on top of the West.

    In regards to the East……lets look this over…

    Tampa Bay? Eastern favourite? Don’t get me wrong they are playing extremely well but playoffs is whole different story! This team is too young and inexperienced! Anderchuck looks like he’s playing with his nephews. St. Louis, Lecavalier, Richards, and Kubina have totally impressed me but if the opposing team decides to go physical on them…. bye-bye. Last night was a good example of playoff strategy! THey got called on an illegal stick which almost cost them a point and possibly two. That’s what the playoffs are all about WIN at all costs. They better be ready.

    As for the Sens, they are very strong this year but Lalime is not reliable and I still think this team lacks grit! THey need bigger balls or they’ll loose to rough teams like Jersey or Toronto….again!!!

    The Isles and Sabres….not happening I won’t even go there!

    Jersey is the team to beat no matter what anyone says! Will they win it again? I don’t think so!

    The one thing I’ve notice about hockey this year is that teams are getting better at solving the trap.

    I think the devils are in for a tough playoff run.

    Now in regards to the Leafs….. since Detroit got eliminated 4 games straight last year..too who again hmmm I don’t remember, I guess Detroit is sure to be eliminated first round again. Right?

    According to your predictions Detrioit is coming out on top.

    Well lets re-track! Last year was a total right off due to injuries and locker room antics courtesy of Mr. Corson! If Darian Hatcher can make such a huge difference, then maybe if the due acquire Gonchar or Leetch, this should put the Leafs on top of the East. Right?

    As for Belfour’s back, he has had this problem for years I blame the media for this being a big deal.

    I guess we’ll all see what is going to happen!

    BB

  28. Aetherial says:

    Toronto is not looking great right now.

    Then again, Mogilny is not really 100% and wont be for a few weeks at least.

    Belfour has been out.

    Roberts has been out.

    That is your best goalie and 2/3 of your number one line.

    Gary Roberts is the heart and soul of the Leafs. I am more and more convinced of this after watching the team this year.

    The Leafs also play with more confidence when Belfour is playing.

    If Mogilny Roberts and Belfour are not healthy then look at them to exit first round, Gonchar or no Gonchar.

    If they are… then the Leafs have a legitimate shot.

    These are still the dog days of hockey. The Leafs don’t look much interested in playing these days. That will change.

  29. drgnhrt says:

    True. I’m sure fan wise, the Rangers and Isle fans can drink one anothers blood, however, on the ice, it really doesn’t matter how long a rivalry has existed. It only takes one game to fire up the hatred, and with the Leafs and Sens, it’s been 3 straight years in the playoffs, with the Leafs beating the Sens every time. And then there are little things like Alfredson putting a dirty hit on Tucker (I know, it’s Tucker, boo hoo, but dirty never the less) and the infamous fake stick throwing incident. That definitly did not make things any friendlier on the ice. And then maybe one of the worst (and funiest)… the game last year, where Tucker charged the entire Senators bench and Domi chasing Arvedson around the ice. I really think that on the ice, it’s very close in hatred.

  30. RangerSteve says:

    Definately agreed! If I were an Isles fan, I would have chanted the same thing. But instead, I was chanting ‘YOu can’t beat us!” :-) Imagine if they met in the playoffs? Talk about an all out war!

  31. Cortland says:

    How many defenceman and forwards do you think the leafs should get for them to be successful?

    I was wondering about Smith and Witt as a pair on the blueline.

  32. Beckfan5 says:

    Two things: one, what does geography have to w/ anything when it comes to a rival? Hello, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees? Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants?

    I rest my case, Dumb Islander fan

    Number two: “make the playoffs”? When was the last time the Islanders WON a playoff series?

    I shut up a lot of Islander fans at the game last night w/ that one.

  33. Oleg4Prez says:

    wheresthesoda ur an idiot. You make Leafs fans look like idiots. Isles-Tor I would love to see it. Great Series.

  34. devfanman4 says:

    The Devils aren’t “rough” except for Stevenson, Marshall, and Rasmussen. White gets his ass kicked everytime he fights and without Stevens their blue line is weak physically. If Stevens comes back, they’ll be in much better shape.

  35. jouby says:

    Man, talk about a useless comment. Good job buddy!

  36. ILiveOnBroadStreet says:

    “it’s been 3 straight years in the playoffs, with the Leafs beating the Sens every time.”….. Flyers beat the Leafs last year in the 1st round…. so you’re wrong.

  37. hockey_man1468 says:

    Then I’d have to say those placings are pretty accurate. That’s how they sit right now.

  38. UsedandAbused says:

    Philly fans are the best…. But we are also the toughest. If our team plays bad we let them know. We don’t pamper them… We are a tough city and if players want to play for this city, they are going to have to toughen up mentally. Burke plays great last night, but has 3 games we he fucking sucked, so we booed his ass. Thats the way it is. He redeemed himself for now.

  39. leafy says:

    I strongly disagree that Montreal and the NY Islanders are ‘easy’ prey for the 1st round. Don’t be at all surprised if they knock off an Ottawa or Philly. They are both highly motivated with nothing to lose, just like Minnesota and Anaheim last year.

  40. drgnhrt says:

    All I said what that it was 3 straight playoff beatings that started this rivalry, not that it was the last three years…. jackass.

  41. TC_4 says:

    This may sound stupid, but I don’t think there will be an Anaheim/Carolina in the finals this season. However, if one team is going to cause havoc in these playoffs, look to Calgary. They’re tough with one of the stingiest d core’s in the league. I think Nashville is too young with zero scoring up front. However, I do like the way Nashville plays and would love to see them and the Wings in the first round.

  42. BayStBully says:

    Philly fans are not tough. You bunch of babies, wear your jersey in the ACC and see what happens.

  43. Viller says:

    what!?

    the leafs played better without mogilny. Thats not an excuse to be playing like pittsburgh.

    They are already out of it. Old players cant go 82games, certainly not whne your 2 top lines average 34+years… I knew that would happen.

    They will be streaky at best till the end of season, couple of wins and couple of loses here and there. First round exit AGAIN.

    I’m not a leaf hater at all, I kinda like watching them when, well kinda have since its the only games I get. lol

    Sure is fun to laugh at leafs fans at work.

  44. Justice says:

    Firts off, I don’t care if philly beat them 6 times in the regular season. The playoffs are another animal. The presure will be on Philly to win the series, not the Isles. The Isles have nothing to lose, thats what you are forgetting about. Philly has always had great REGULAR season success. Philly has a lot more at stake, and that can screw them up in the playoffs. They are not exactly a clutch pressure team in the playoffs.

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