Thursday, April 19, 2007

Early Look At Round 2 In East

Okay, I know this is way premature, but sue me.

With the Rangers having completed the sweep of Atlanta, the Eastern Conference Semifinals picture begins to come into focus. First, they knocked off a higher seed, so that always makes things ineresting. Here are a few scenarios that we might see for the East next week.

(1) Sabres vs (6) Rangers
(2) Devils vs (4) Senators

This scenario assumes that the higher seeds will win the rest of the series, but New York itself is evidence that's not always the case. Yet it would be interesting as the Sabres would still not be required to leave the state to play away games. Plus I think the Devils/Senators would be one of the most evenly matched series in the entire conference.

(1) Sabres vs (7) Lightning
(5) Penguins vs (6) Rangers

Here I assume the Lightning are able to take the Devils and the Penguins mount an impressive comeback. Anything's possible. What I don't like is the fact that, should the Bolts get past New Jersey, we'll have to contend with Buffalo. On the other hand, a Penguins/Rangers series certainly allows for the possibility of the Broadway Blueshirts becoming a conference finalist this year.

(4) Senators vs (8) Islanders
(6) Rangers vs (7) Lightning

All right, this one is completely wishful thinking, but again, you just never know. Even though the Thrashers did get stomped, I'll tell you why I think the Lightning can beat the Rangers. Because Henrik Lundqvist is no Marty Brodeur. As good as New York was in that series, the fact that the goaltending sucked on the other side is the reason why they won. That and the Thrashers couldn't bury a puck to save their lives. Tampa Bay has the firepower of Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards. Again Lundqvist is good but not that good. This scenario could also possibly lead to a rematch of the 2006 quarterfinal betwen the Bolts and Sens. But there is where I worry as the Lightning have always had problems against Ottawa.

Now I know there are other possibilities for the next round, but I didn't want to get bogged down in everything. Chances are the actual second round will look nothing like what I've written here, so it probably doesn't even matter anyway.

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