Sunday, April 22, 2007

An Early Look At The Semis

We're really getting down to it here. Three series remain here in the quarterfinals and all three series can be won with the next game. The Devils are up on the Bolts 3-2. The Wings have the Flames by the short hairs, also 3-2. And the Stars forced a Game 7 on Vancouver after being down 3-1 in the series. Isn't playoff hockey just so exciting?!

But my point is, the first round is nearly over. It's time to start taking a peek at how the next round might shape up.

Eastern Conference

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

I already discussed the possibility of this scenario. And if you ask most people, they'd say this is the way it's going to be. I say the Lightning can pull out the win and put New Jersey in its place. In that case, it shapes up more like this:

(1) Sabres vs (7) Lightning
(4) Senators vs (6) Rangers

I have a feeling the Sens can give the Rangers a run for their money. Atlanta was kid stuff. This is real hockey here. But the same thing goes for Ottawa. The Rangers are not the Penguins and it won't be so easy. Careful, though, I'm not giving predictions on the series until it's written in stone. And as I've said before, I worry about the Lightning going against the Sabres. I'm sure that would prove to be a pretty rough series for us.

Western Conference

(1) Red Wings vs (6) Stars
(2) Ducks vs (4) Sharks

This scenario assumes Dallas takes Game 7 tomorrow and Detroit beats Calgary tonight. Two things that aren't entirely out of the realm of possibility and are, in fact, rather likely. I would enjoy a Red Wings/Stars series, but I wonder if Dallas would be too worn out after a seven-game series. However it's also possible that Detroit goes to seven games and theirs would be a day after the Stars'. And Dominik Hasek isn't exactly a young fella anymore.

(2) Ducks vs (8) Flames
(3) Canucks vs (4) Sharks

This setup may seem pretty outlandish, but just think about it for a second. The Canucks/Stars series hinges on a single game, and based on prior knowledge, it could very easily go either way. As for the Flames, they can put up a hell of a fight. If they win at home, they go back to Detroit revved for a series victory. When it gets this late in a playoff round, nearly anything is possibly. However, if this was the case, I'd be fairly confident in predicting the Ducks and Sharks in the conference finals.

Okay, that's enough from me. I'll be back at it with predictions and such for the semifinals just as soon as we know who's going to be in it. It's going to be an exciting ride. I can feel it!

No comments: