Senators in 5
The Lightning may be the keepers of Lord Stanley having won the Cup before the lock out, but they are a shell of that team now, while the Senators are in a situation that anything less then the Stanley Cup Finals will be unacceptable. In the regular season the Senators swept the Lightning out scoring them a combined 16-6. The Lightning will be lucky if they are not swept in the playoffs, as the series will not be that close, in the end the Championship pride will get that one game but the Senators will win in 5.
Red Wings in 7
The Red Wings are the President’s Trophy Champions and when they win the President’s Trophy they usually have a let down in the playoffs this year wont be any different as they have to sweat through a rough and tumble 7-game series with the pesky Edmonton Oilers who did beat them twice in the regular season with 3 of 4 games going into Overtime. Look for each game to be tight and don’t be shocked if the Oilers actually have a shot at the upset but in the end the Wings will prevail.
Canadiens in 6
Forgive me for being stubborn and not believing in the Hurricanes, but I do not believe in the Carolina Hurricanes. This is a team with so little fan support walk along the streets of Raleigh and they think the Carolina Hurricanes are some sort of singing group. Sure the Hurricanes did sweep the Canadiens in the regular season, but that was before Cristobel Huet took over in goal for the Habs. When it comes down to it the youth of the Hurricanes will be a major factor and just the tradition of playoff hockey in Montreal will be the other, as the Canadiens win in 6.
Stars in 6
The Avalanche have been used to long playoff runs in their 10-year history, as they have been among 3 teams that have ruled over the West. The Stars were another of those teams with a Stanley Cup in two trips to the Finals, while the Avalanche are 2 for 2 with 6 trips to the Western Conference Finals. However that was then this now the Avalanche are a team fading that will soon be rebuilding while the Stars appear to have done a good job retooling as they win this match up in 6 games.
Devils in 5
Fire and Ice meet up in this clash of rivals separated by the Hudson River and a little over 8 miles, the Devils are on fire with 11 straight wins to come out of nowhere and take the Atlantic Division Title away from the Rangers who were in first place almost all season before 5 straight losses at the end of the season. In his long stellar career Martin Bordeur has had just one nemesis in the playoffs and that is the Rangers who beat the Devils in a 1994 classic series and in 1997 were skates in the crease doomed the Devils. This time nothing gets in the way as the Devils make a statement by winning the series in 5.
Flames in 6
A meeting of the last two teams to win the Western Conference, with each losing in Game 7 on the road, and feeling a sense of unfinished business. In the regular season these two teams split 4 games, with the home team winning all 4 games. The home ice could be a difference in this series but it won’t be an all home ice series. In the end the Flames are just better Miikka Kiprusoff has been the best goalie in the NHL all year and if he continues to be the best on the playoffs this time the Flames can complete the mission, as they start off by roasting the Ducks in 6.
Flyers in 6
The Flyers have been a puzzle all year. Look at their talent and they have one of the best rosters in the NHL, but somehow it seems like they were not as good as they could or should have been despite only losing the division by a tiebreaker. However now the real test comes and one better watch out because that too could bring out the real Flyers. If Peter Forsberg is healthy they could even be skating with Stanley at the end. However, that’s only if he’s healthy and he not been healthy all year. None the less they should still be able to shuffle past Buffalo in 6 games.
Sharks in 5
In the regular season these two teams split 4 games, with home ice being the difference in all 4 games. However that was when the Predators were healthy and both Predator wins came before the Sharks received Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins in a trade that still has Bruins fans shaking their heads. Add to the mix that Predators goalie Tomas Vokun will miss the series with a blood condition, and the Sharks ended the season on a roll and what you have is an easy series win for the Sharks who chew through Nashville in 5 games.