NHL Playoff Predictions 2007-08 (Third Round)

by Ed Lau on May 6, 2008

Wow, I did not do particularly well in the second round after a respectable 6-2 in the first round. Only one of my second round predictions, the Pittsburgh Penguins made it to their conference final.

Eastern Conference

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers

My Prediction: Canadiens in 5.
Result: Flyers in 5.

Well, at least I got the number of games correct. The Habs choked big time after going into the playoffs as one of the favorites to win it all. 20-year old starting goaltender Carey Price put up a good fight but didn’t perform well under pressure and backup Jaroslav Halak was even worse. However, it’s tough to pin the loss on Price as he was still one of the better Montreal players on the ice during the series. And what the heck happened to RJ Umberger? He almost single-handedly propelled the Flyers into the next round with the explosion in his offensive game.

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) New York Rangers

My Prediction: Penguins in 6.
Result: Penguins in 5.

I thought the Rangers would be better in this series but there was little they could do against all that talent on the Pens lineup, which has only lost a single game this post-season. Heck, even the usually shaky Marc-Andre Fleury is posting some stellar numbers.

Western Conference

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Colorado Avalanche

My Prediction: Avalanche in 6.
Result: Red Wings in 4.

In my defense, Colorado was decimated by injury by the first game of the series and you can’t win against Detroit when some of your best players are sidelined. The Wings cruised through this series barely breaking a sweat.

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (5) Dallas Stars

My Prediction: Sharks in 7.
Result: Stars in 6.

Wow, someone is totally getting fired. Going into the playoffs as the league’s hottest team, the Sharks had some serious expectations. Many named them the favorites for the Cup this year. Heck, a simulation from EA had them as the champs this year too but they were on the verge of being swept before winning a couple to stay alive. Marty Turco has been playing unconscious this post-season. Not to say Vezina Trophy finalist Evgeni Nabakov wasn’t awesome as well (did you see that ridiculous save in the game 6!?) but Turco is outshining just about everyone. That and captain Brendan Morrow just may give Turco a run for his money for the Conn Smythe if the Stars win it all. That guy is a great leader…hitting, fore-checking, scoring.

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Right, so that leaves me with a 7-5 overall this year so far.

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers

Tough call. Both teams have a well-balanced attack, solid defense and a normally inconsistent goaltender that is playing extremely well in the playoffs.

Getting lost in the shuffle of superstars such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Marian Hossa, etc on the Pens are the veterans that are making some great contributions like Pascal Dupuis, George Laraque and Jarkko Ruutu. For the Flyers, who are led by Daniel Briere and R.J. Umberger on the front lines for the first two series, some of the lesser lights like Mike Knuble and Scottie Upshall have been great as well.

The Flyers will be playing an opponent similar to their second round match-up with Montreal. Offensively minded with high-flying young players, a young goaltender and gritty veterans in the mix. If the Flyers can maintain the hard-hitting mindset that they went into Montreal with, they might have a good chance. They’ll have a better chance if Martin Biron can stop Crosby, Malkin and company. However, I don’t think I’ll bet against Pittsburgh here.

Prediction: Penguins in 7

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (5) Dallas Stars

The Stars have been one of the strongest teams in the playoffs so far after coming into the post-season on a bit of a late slump. After knocking out two of the favorites for this year in the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks, the Stars now face the best team for…oh, the last decade. Seriously, anyone remember a time when the Detroit Red Wings were bad? No one?

After replacing Hasek in net, Chris Osgood has been solid although he has had plenty of help from the likes of Henrik Zetterburg and Pavel Datsyuk. And what’s with Johan Franzen? Where did all these hat tricks come from!?

It’s not to say the Stars are a bad team. They’re a spectacular team with great goaltending and great leadership and some fantastic skill players. It’s just that every team they’ve beaten so far has been the better team on paper. So what’s to stop them from beating the Wings?

Well, Marty Turco, for starters, has not been very good against Detroit or in Detroit, going 0-7-2 at Joe Louis. They also face a very strong defensive team with one of the league’s best checking lines of Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby in addition to Selke finalists Zetterburg and Datsyuk. Oh, did I mention this guy named Nicklas Lidstrom, who has been the best defenseman in the league for the just about his entire career?

Yeah, that’s a tough task for Dallas to take on, especially considering they had a tough series against San Jose when the Wings have had some rest after sweeping Colorado. But they won’t go without a hell of a ruckus.

Prediction: Red Wings in 6

tagged as , in Sports and Health

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob Buskirk May 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Goid choice in the pens, but 6 games not 7

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Eva White May 10, 2008 at 9:16 pm

If you work it out in percentages, how right were you?

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