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Thursday, April 20, 2006

First Round NHL Predictions

The first Stanley Cup playoffs in 2 years is finally here. Below are Dave and Joe's
picks. Also as an added bonus, the DaColbert Code (Randomly picked), after Stephen Colbert's flawless oscar predictions is also making a prediction for each matchup.

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Edmonton Oilers

David: I am not afraid to pick the best team to win in this series. The Oilers may be an 8th place team but late season additions of Samsonov and Roloson make the Oilers are strong team.

The Red Wings are unsure of who will start in goal and their leading scorer (Datsyuk) is unavailable for the first game. The Oilers also have greatly improved their defense with Pronger and Spacek playing for the first time in the playoffs for the Oilers. The Red Wings defense has lived up to expectations, led by Lidstrom who led all defense in points. The big weakness for the Oilers is offense. Datsyuk, Lang, and Zetterberg are more potent than any of the Oilers forwards but most of the wings key forwards have not lived up to expectations. Edmonton in 7 games

Joe: Well all the sportscasters have basically been saying that the Wings will sweep this one, they are too good, etc. Well as we all know, most sportscasters are not that sharp and are too chicken to pick underdogs. I think the Oilers will push them to the limit, but the Wings will be able to go through to the next round. Although if the Oilers can pull of the upset, it wouldn't surprise me. The Wings haven't played that well against the Oilers the past few years, and
looking at the past 10-15 years, it seems when the Wings have an awesome season, they seem to stumble in the playoffs, compared to when they finish middle of the pack and win it all. This will be a tough series, espically since the Oilers have literally no pressure on them. Detroit in 7 games

DaColbert Code: Since the last playoffs, let's look at the price of two products. Wings and Oil. Edmonton will win.


(2) Dallas Stars vs. (7) Colorado Avalanche

Dave: I concur with Joe that the Avalanche team is a much weaker team than 2 years ago (no Forsberg or Foote) But they surprised me and made the playoffs. The Avalanche's offense is better but a depleted defense and an unsettled goaltending situation makes the Avs vulnerable. Dallas in 7 games

Joe: A few years ago this would be a semi-final matchup, but the times have changed. Dallas has been very quietly been playing great this year, while Colorado have been pretty average looking. Dallas have great goaltending, and a very deep squad. Colorado have question marks in goal, and not near the depth they once had, Dallas in a breeze. Dallas in 5 games

DaColbert Code: Colorado reminds most of Americans of snow and ice. Dallas reminds people of dessert and heat. Colorado will win.

(3) Calgary Flames vs. (6) Anaheim Ducks

Dave: The Flames are in for a tough first round better. But the best team in the west should be able to defeat the Ducks. Kipper is the top goalie in the league and Iginla has been averaging close to a point a game since the Olympics. But, it will be a long series because Selanne has been red hot. Calgary in 7 games

Joe: Well in the last playoffs, at the beginning, I picked the Flames to go to the finals, no really I am serious! This time I am not so nice to them. The only thing keeping them going is Kipper. Iginla is basically their only offence, so a desecent defensive team can stick to him like glue. No question the Flames can keep goals out of the net, but can they score. The Ducks on the other hand have quietly ran up the table to the sixth spot, and with no one really picking them, I think an upset is in the making here. Anaheim in 6 games

DaColbert Code: Let's compare the two regions to their political affiliations. Calgary votes conservative. California is a blue state. Then look at what horses one during the last federal elections. Calgary will win.

(4) Nashville Predators vs. (5) San Jose Sharks

David: Vokoun is injured. The only reason why the Predators have a chance is their defense which is led by two strong europeans, Timmonen and Zidlicky. Thornton and Cheechoo should score a bundle against Nashville's replacement goaltenders. San Jose in 6 games.

Joe: Well ever since Joe Thornton has put on a Sharks uniform, they are around 30 games over .500. They along with the Devils are the hottest teams in the league going into the playoffs. Joe has set Cheechoo on fire, helping him get the Art Ross this year. Nashville looked like a dark-horse team until Vokoun went down for the season. This will be a good tough series, but with Vokoun going down I think the Preds will have to look to next year. San Jose in 6 games

DaColbert Code: Nashville is known for country music. Country music is usually about losing something. Like a hockey team that lost their goalie to a blot clot and is facing the league's leading point (Thornton) and goal scorer (Cheechoo). But there are no country songs about hockey. Nashville will win.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Ottawa Senators vs. (8) Tampa Bay Lighting

David: The Senators won first place in the East but Hasek is iffy. The Lightning's goaltenders are dreadfull but most of the offense is still intact from the last Stanley Cup championship. Ottawa in 7 games

Joe: Boy a tough one to call. The Sens have been slumping the past few weeks, but so have Tampa. If the Sens matched up against the Habs, I would have picked the upset, but with both teams having goalie trouble, I think the Sens are just too good and deep compared to the Lighting. I dont think this will be a grinder series, but there maybe a 7-6 game here and there. Ottawa in 5 games

DaColbert Code: First vs Eight matchup is David vs Goliath matchup. David beat Goliath. Zdeno Chara is 6'9" and Martin St. Louis is 5'8". Tampa Bay will win.

(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (7) Montreal Canadiens

David: Montreal might be this year's Calgary Flames. They made the playoffs with a goalie who came from no where and have a few forwards who could inflict some damage. (Koivu and Kovalev) The Hurricans suprised everybody with Staal's breakout year and added Weight and Recchi to their team too. But their defense is thin and might cost them in low scoring games while playing against the league's hottest goaltender. Montreal in 6 games.

Joe: This is another tough one to call. The Hurricanes have been playing well this year, except for the last little bit of the season they have been average. They have a deeper team then the Habs, but the have some big question marks in goal. While the Habs are trying to decide who will be in goal, even though we all know it will be Huet. This is another one of those series where even though looking on paper Carolina should walk through, I just have a gut feeling an upset is in the making. Montreal in 7 games

DaColbert Code: Cristobal Huet is from France. France's most famed sporting event is the Tour du France. Lance Armstrong is the most celebrated champion of that cycling champion. He beat cancer just like Saku Koivu. Montreal will win.

(3) New Jersey Devils vs. (6) New York Rangers

David: New Jersey became red hot when their GM took coaching duties and scared the shit out of the devils as he wanted to take a closer look at his team and decide who should get rid of. Mogilny was sent to the minors but the rest of them was kept intact. It paid as the Devils resurrected a failed season. Too bad their playing a resurrected Jagr and have to score on the goalie who won Gold in Turin. NY Rangers in 7 games

Joe: Well the Devils went from fighting for a playoff spot to division champs. What the hell happened? They look great, and Brodeur looks like he did when he won 3 cups. The Rangers on the other hand look like they have fallen off the horse, but they should not be taken lightly. The thing that will make this a great series to watch and a tough grinding one is that its a subway series. It may not be as good as the 1994 semi-finals in which the Rangers went on to win, but
it should be one of the better ones. New Jersey in 6 games (I put green in the name because I want them to go back to their old jerseys)

DaColbert Code: New York vs New Jersey is a sibling rivalry. In sibling rivalries big brother always wins. Like Martin BROdeur. New Jersey will win.

(4) Buffalo Sabres vs. (5) Philidelphia Flyers

Dave: I picked the Sabres to finnish last place because they have no visible big name players. They made the playoffs with no clear star forward and Ryan Miller just got his first shutout this season in the last game he played. The Sabres are a hard working team with no gapping holes. 6 players scored more than 20 goals. But the biggest upside for the Sabres is their opponent. Primeau and Kim Jonsson are injured. Forsberg, Gagne, and Pitkanen are playing injured. Also it's the flyers, so you have no idea who their goalie. Buffalo in 7 games

Joe: Does this series have defence and hitting written all over it. Well even in the new NHL it maybe like that. Buffalo had a great over-achieving year, and I still dont know how. The Flyers were a lot of peoples early season favourites to win the cup. Everytime I hear sportscasters talk about them, they always just say how they are no good this year. Well they are a good team, and I think Buffalo is a little too young and green to beat them. They just have to keep up
the good work. Philadelphia in 5 games

DaColbert Code: Maxim Afinogenov a Russian led the team in points. And the Greatest Russian Leader of All-Time- Peter The Great, as in Peter Forsberg. Philadephia will win.

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