The Hot Hand Going Into the Post-Season

Written by Darryl Dobbsfrom

If momentum has anything to do with early playoff success, than wrap your hockey pool hopes around San Jose, Detroit, Calgary, and New Jersey. These teams are all white-hot, and there is little reason to think they will cool off any come playoff time.

The San Jose Sharks look to match up against the Nashville Predators. The Sharks have won eight in a row (and have scored over four goals per game doing it) and are 20-5-3 in their last 28. I’d say that’s momentum. During those eight games Joe Thornton has 19 points, Jonathan Cheechoo has 16, Nils Ekman and rearguard Tom Preissing have eight each. Prior to those eight games, it was the line of Patrick Marleau, Steve Bernier, and Milan Michalek picking up the points. This team is riding a wave. They are playing like they will blow by Nashville and score a ton of goals while doing it.

The Detroit Red Wings will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round, and all indications point to a quick victory. The Red Wings have not lost in regulation in 19 games going 16-0-3. Here is an early word of caution – this could be a four game series, which will limit the points that the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Lidstrom, and Brendan Shanahan get. If they go on to face San Jose in the second round, it will be a matchup of the irresistible force versus the immovable object. Two hot teams going head to head. Speaking of Datsyuk, the Wings have won their last five games without him, as he has a ‘lower body’ injury. My own opinion? Datsyuk has a ‘need a little rest’ injury. I’m not saying the Wings are faking an injury to rest their star, I’m just saying that they’re not exactly rushing him back. By the way – Shanahan has 23 points in those 19 games, Lidstrom has 21, Robert Lang has 18, Tomas Holmstrom has 16, and Steve Yzerman had 17 points in 17 games before injuring his ‘lower body’ for the last two.

The Calgary Flames look to square off against the surprising Anaheim Mighty Ducks. The Flames, despite being 7-0-3 in their last 10 games, are the one hot team that I would not recommend pinning your hopes on. First of all, they are playing against an Anaheim team that has surprised on more than one occasion this year. Secondly, despite the Ducks being 5-5-0 in their last 10, the reality is that they are 17-8-1 in their last 26. The Flames are 15-7-4. During their 10 game undefeated (in regulation) streak, Calgary has averaged under three goals per game, and have only gone eight for 51 on the power play. This team would seem to be all Mikka Kiprusoff. Even Jarome Iginla was held off the scoresheet for four of those 10 games. Interesting note: Jamie Lundmark, acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline, has 10 points in 11 games in a Calgary uniform. His ice time (and power play time) has increased accordingly.

The New Jersey Devils are 10-1 in their last 11, and seem to be on a collision course to face the Rangers. This team has been scoring goals, as well, with nearly four goals per game in that span. The ‘EGG’ line may have been dispersed, but the members of that line are still putting the puck in the net. Brian Gionta has 18 points in those 11 games, as does Scott Gomez, and Patrick Elias has 13. Rookie Zach Parise has replaced Elias on the top line, and has eight points in those 11 games. He had just 23 in his first 68. The Devils are on a role, but here is another word of caution – the Rangers have home ice advantage and are juggernauts at home (25-9-6), and they are only 5-5 in their last 10 games because rookie sensation goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been on the shelf.

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14 Responses to The Hot Hand Going Into the Post-Season

  1. paul_dc10 says:

    sweet, i think calgary will win with the best goalie in the leugue in net, also brodeur always plays great in the playoffs, new jersey should be up there as well

  2. SJ_Sharks_Fan_19 says:


  3. wingerxxx says:

    If Calgary takes home the cup, I will not be too surprised. They have an excellent hockey team, and I’m pretty jealous of their blueline! It’s also nice to see Jamie Lundmark having some success. I was wondering if he would be able to make something out of his career, and it looks like he just might.

    Detroit plays in a pretty lousy division, but they are still an excellent team. Lidstrom should definitely be a Norris candidate again. That said, if they run into the Flames in the playoffs, I think that Calgary can take them out. Assuming they can take out Anaheim, which I think they can.

  4. blindref says:

    I know everyone keeps counting the Oilers as down and out against the Wings and say it’ll happen quickly. Now I don’t doubt the skill of the Wings despite having a much easier schedule than the rest of the league (Columbus, St. Louis, Chicago…come on) but during the playoffs, anything can happen. I’m not predicting an Edmonton sweep of the series or anything but give credit where credit is due. The Oilers have a solid core of guys and can roll arguably the most even set of 4 lines out there, not to mention 3 solid pairings on defense. I just hate hearing how Detroit is going to trounce whoever they face in the first round. Sure they may still win but it will be a battle like any good playoff series should be. Don’t count the Oilers out before they’re out.

    Bring on the playoff hockey!!!

  5. zdeno_duchesne says:

    i’m a concerned senators fan, that’s all i can say..

    i like the devils coming out of the east if the sens don’t get hasek back.

    sharks and wings coming out into the west finals, ultimately won by san jose. toskala is hot and may get the nod over nabokov.

  6. tacitus says:

    How can u assume the flame can take out the wings, if ur hoping, only hoping the flames can beat anaheim?

  7. tacitus says:

    Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll, Smyth, Samsonov are gonna play well in the 1st round. Sorry to say Edmontons goaltending, and lack of depth defense will be the area’s detroit will be trying to exploit. Ya the Oil have some nice young fast forwards, but the wings got just as good, or statistically better offense. It definitly wont be a sweep, i am saying 5 or 6 games for the wings. But its happened to the wings before where they had a huge point lead and lost out to lesser teams (San Jose, Anaheim, Calgary)

  8. tacitus says:

    Sorry Thornton/Cheechoo are 2 great players and prolly the best duo in hockey. To bad for them this will come down to the better team not the newest dominating version of Hull/Oates. San Jose has a decent team but look at them before the playoffs, now look at them now. If Thornton made that big a difference by himself, just shadow thornton even between periods and then u end up getting the 11th place sharks instead

  9. SabresFan220 says:

    True, don’t discount anyone in the playoffs, it seems every year there’s a Cinderella story team that nobody saw getting as far as they do. Edmonton has great balance, to me they are the Sabres of the West (if Nashville isn’t awarded that title). The Redwings are great, but Edmonton has played well against them in the past, and all it takes is one shift to turn a whole series your way.

    I see the Sharks overpowering the Preds despite valiant effort from Paul Kariya and Mason. The Sharks have too much firepower, and although I see that series going up to 6 games the Sharks should take it. Anaheim and Calgary would be an awesome series to watch, and I actually think the Ducks could win it. Kipper will be the reason the Flames do win if they do, but unless the offense kicks in 3 or more a game the Flames may not see the 3rd round.

    I’d be concerned if I were a Sens fan too, Ottawa hasn’t played a meaningful game in 2 months I think. If Hasek does return he still hasn’t played since February, and Havlat has been out since before Christmas I think. They would also be facing a hot 7-8 seed team who’ve battled to get into the playoffs and will be hungry to knock off a top team. Also beware the usual playoff collapse of Daniel Alfredsson, I see Dany Heatley carrying the offense in the playpffs, the question is will the rest of the team follow him?

    I now think the Devils could win the Atlantic, and my hope is that they take on a healthy Flyers team. The Flyers have been resting Nittymaki because he’s their best goalie so he’s ready to roll in the playoffs. They didn’t want Jersey to get a good look at him just before just in case. The Flyers haven’t had a full lineup all year, and with all their guns in there they just might have enough to take out NJ. A Philly vs NJ series would be a tough grinding series and Philly has the muscle to handle it. Let’s see if the Devils’ trap can hold back a healthy Forsberg with Gagne flying up the ice.

  10. Marky2Fresh says:

    Sharks vs Devils for the cup

  11. gemini_the_drunk says:

    Momentum going into the postseason is overrated. Dallas was red-hot just like the Sharks at the end of the 03-04 season. They were dominated in the first round by Forsberg and the Avalanche.

  12. gemini_the_drunk says:

    The Sharks won’t make it past the second round. But, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Devils playing for the cup.

  13. oilers_rock says:

    ya this will be a hard series, but we definetly have defense. Like have you looked at our depth chart? Pronger, Spacek, Bergeron, Steady steve staios, and the captain Jason Smith. I think all we need is consistantly. Raffi Torres, Jarrett Stoll, Ales Hemsky, Radek Dvorak, and Marc-andre Bergeron all looked liked elite players in the NHL season at one point. I think if everyone contributes with there best play, (especially Roloson) we can make a great run in the playoffs.

  14. rooney says:

    Lou Lamorillo is hands down the coach of the year

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