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Old 04-06-2002, 06:49 PM   #1
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NHL playoff race

the race in the Western Conference is shaping up as one of the greatest of all-time, with just 8 pts separating teams 2 through 10 in the Conference, and only 3 pts separating teams 6 through 10

Edmonton is red-hot but had their 9-game unbeaten streak snapped last night with a crippling loss last night against a terrible Anaheim team, will this trigger a downward sprial to lose a game like that, or will they come back even more focused in their remaining 4 games? Their next two are at home, including a critical affair with Phoenix, a team that is just 2 pts ahead of them.

Vancouver is playing some great hockey, but have a tough schedule coming up, and like Edmonton have only 4 games left, while the rest of the teams they are fighting with have 5 games remaining

Dallas hasn't picked up their play since their trade-deadline shakeup, they have some very winnable games left on their schedule, but have to go to LA on monday night, a team that is already 3 pts ahead of them, they really cant afford to lose that game, they dominated Colorado last night, but which team will show up from one night to the next? Coaching changes and trades have been unable to solve these problems all season...

LA, Phoenix, St. Louis and Chicago all are playing solid hockey, but clearly the teams chasing them like Vancouver and Edmonton are playing better hockey.

Now... my next question is: will these teams that are playing virtual playoff games right now be playing at an intenisty level above teams at the top like Detroit and Colorado once the playoffs start? In short, could we see some major upsets in the 1st round of the Western Conference playoffs?

as far as the Eastern Conference, Boston appears to have locked up that #1 seed now, while Philly continues to struggle and Toronto does the best they can to get by without CuJo, one of those teams will likely get dubiously rewarded by having to face New Jersey in the 1st round, the Devs have gone 10-3-1 and are starting to look like a contender again, I will be the first to admit that the deadline trade has clearly given the Devils a much sharper and focused outlook, but an injury to Scott Gomez could prove fatal if he is unable to return in time for the playoffs (broken hand), still, I am quite certain Toronto and Philly are in a state of horror and dismay at the idea of having to face a red-hot NJ team in the 1st round (with Brodeur playing like a superstar once again in nets, remember he had been having a sub-par year prior to the Olympics, which have re-juvinated his confidence)

Montreal has a slight edge over Washington right now for the last playoff spot, with a game at hand and a 1-pt lead

my predictons:

Montreal will go 3-1-1 to finish with 88 pts, Washington will go 3-1 to finish with 86 pts

Chicago's schedule is extremely difficult the rest of the way, and they will only get 4 more pts, netting them 95 pts for the year and a #5 seed

St. Louis has their next 4 games at home, and should get at least 7 pts out of their last 5 games, giving them 97 pts and a #4 seed

Phoenix is a poor road team and will lose at least 2 of their next 3 away from home against, before winning to easy matchups at home the final weekend; so 3-2 will leave them with 95 pts and a #6 seed

Los Angeles has a brutal next 4 games, then Anaheim to close the year, I see them getting 5 pts out of this remaining games, leaving them with 94 pts and a #7 seed

Edmonton will grab 5 pts from their final 4 games, finishing with 92 pts

Vancouver will get 5 or 6 points out of their final 4 games and finish with 92 or 93 pts, giving them at least a tie-break via wins over Edmonton, and thus a #8 seed

Dallas will win at least 3 of their last 5, getting them to 92 pts, but losing out either by a point or via tie-break in the standings

*Jerome Iginla will win the Hart Trophy, though perhaps Jose Theodore of Montreal is the most deserving of MVP
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Old 04-06-2002, 07:16 PM   #2
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i agree with you that there is a good chance we will see one of colorado and/or detroit knocked out. the wings have been in coast for awhile and while bowman can be a great motivator, it comes down to the players on the ice. from the games i have seen i am yet to see much intensity aside from stevie y, shanahan. if stevie y can stay healthy the wings will be my outright pick to win the cup.

i personally don't see edmonton losing out to either vancouver or dallas. edmonton have proven themselves too many times with all different rosters in these situations. as much as vancouver might want it and dallas feels the pressure, i don't see edmonton being a team left out.

i'll give you boston's #1 spot. they have proven themselves to be the most durable, hardest working team in the east and deserve it. with thorton back they may very well have the tools to go all the way. personally i am unsure of the coaching of constantine, and goaltending could definetely prove to be suspect over the course of the playoffs.

the flyers are interesting to me as their spiral downward closely mirrors that of the maple leafs last year. i didn't think the flyers had the team to go deep when they were at the top and i still don't. goaltending is too inexperienced and simply not solid enough in playoff intensity.
i think the flyers are 'in a state of horror and dismay at the idea' of playing any playoff team at the moment. it seems the rumors of troubles surrounding bill barber and the lack of intensity from leclair have finally caught up with them. unless they can catch fire somehow, i think the flyers will be a first round exit.

as for the devils i think they could definetely be dangerous. any team with goaltending that good can be in truth. without gomez i think they are definetely going to have a tough time scoring as he appeared to be just picking up his game after a lacklustre season. but if they can get him back on the bench, with neuiendyk and rafalski playing as well, they are a definete threat.

it's no secret that the leafs are my team. i percieve them to be a serious threat, if not the favourite of the east if and when they reacquire their injured all star roster: we know cujo will be back but i don't think that will have the biggest effect. schwab has been solid to great with few exceptions and will be a good fall back if cujo can't go on any given nite. of far greater impact will be the return(if it happens) of playoff proven dmitry yushkevich. the health of gary roberts and shayne corson is also at issue and they are too key players for the leafs given intensity of playoff hockey. if sundin's linemates can keep up with him look for him to be extremely dangerous. he proved last year he wanted it and came back throughout this season playing excellent and putting himself in contention for the hart trophy(though he won't get it). i have a feeling mogilny could also be huge for the leafs this spring. he has been playing well the last few weeks and it would be great to see him beat down the devils.

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Old 04-07-2002, 07:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by kobayashi:
the flyers are interesting to me as their spiral downward closely mirrors that of the maple leafs last year. i didn't think the flyers had the team to go deep when they were at the top and i still don't. goaltending is too inexperienced and simply not solid enough in playoff intensity.
i think the flyers are 'in a state of horror and dismay at the idea' of playing any playoff team at the moment. it seems the rumors of troubles surrounding bill barber and the lack of intensity from leclair have finally caught up with them. unless they can catch fire somehow, i think the flyers will be a first round exit.
LeClair?? he's been so much better since his back surgery, for most of the year anyway. and the team is surprisingly positive considering the way theyve been playing. just the other day Roenick called in on the radio to explain the team's mindset when they were being bashed and if what he said is accurate at least their heads are ok. and maybe something will happen, prolly it wont, but at least there's a chance.
that being said I agree goaltending sucks and theyve been playing horribly
and I really dont want them to draw Devils first round despite their record against them this season...

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Old 04-07-2002, 09:55 PM   #4
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Wooohooo, a 3-1 victory for the Habs over the Sens!!! That was badly needed!

Anyhow, Wanderer, I think the Habs have to worry about the Sabres as much as the Caps...the french announcer just said that if the Habs win the next game against the Sens on tuesday, they've clinched it. I suppose that depends on the othe teams, too.

Theodore is THE man!!!!!!!!!! 5 points in 6 games!! Not to be underestimated....

As for the other teams....well, frankly, I really don't give a toss!

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Old 04-08-2002, 01:12 AM   #5
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wow!!!! what a HUGE break for the canucks, this weekend has proven to be. the canucks just beat the coyotes in regulation 4-3 and now have 88 points, same as the oilers except the canucks have more wins. plus the stars lost tonite to anahiem (they for the life of them, cannot beat the easy teams. id be soooo mad if i were a fan of theirs), so this leaves the canucks in 8 place, one point behind the coyotes in 7th. with three games remaining the canucks are in control of their own destiny for the first time in what has seemed like an eternity!!

next week at this time everything will all be in place....

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Old 04-08-2002, 01:26 AM   #6
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Originally posted by Zoomerang96:
wow!!!! what a HUGE break for the canucks, this weekend has proven to be. the canucks just beat the coyotes in regulation 4-3 and now have 88 points, same as the oilers except the canucks have more wins. plus the stars lost tonite to anahiem (they for the life of them, cannot beat the easy teams. id be soooo mad if i were a fan of theirs), so this leaves the canucks in 8 place, one point behind the coyotes in 7th. with three games remaining the canucks are in control of their own destiny for the first time in what has seemed like an eternity!!

next week at this time everything will all be in place....


bravo canucks. impressive showing all around against the surging coyotes.

i really thought the oilers would pull it out this year especially but they might not.
poor oil



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Old 04-08-2002, 01:45 AM   #7
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The question remains, however: can anyone stop the Red Wings or will they, with their median age of 32 (if I'm not mistaken) run out of gas?

In my romantic mind, I want to believe that the wise, Yoda-like presence of Igor Larionov will lead to Detriot to the Cup; in my stubborn mind, I stick to my January-old prediction of Red Wings over the Flyers in 6; and in my intellectual mind, I just know they're unbeatable.

My dear Penguins, I believe, are mathematically eliminated at this point; the Leafs are going nowhere fast without CuJo and having (probably) to face the Devils, Bruins, OR Flyers at any given point; and the Blues *might* limp past the first round, but their goaltending has been cursed all season. Those are my three favorite teams, so I can't be accused of playing favorites.

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Old 04-08-2002, 02:08 AM   #8
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Originally posted by paxetaurora:
the Leafs are going nowhere fast without CuJo and having (probably) to face the Devils, Bruins, OR Flyers at any given point
well the leafs are going to have cujo back. he will be playing saturday here in ottawa and perhaps the game before that(i can't remember where that is). the leafs have dominated the bruins head to head this year, the flyers will not be able to beat a fly this coming spring(and since they'll be playing one of the habs, devils or isles they won't get out of the first round), and well devils and leafs might just become a spring tradition.

but you're right, the wings will probably win it anyway.
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