Sabres in 6
After knocking off the pesky Islanders in five games the Sabres now have the Rangers in their crosshairs, a team that they swept during the regular season in four meetings. However, all the meetings were early in the season, and the Rangers are a better team then they were then, as the addition of Sean Avery has helped the Rangers develop a new toughness that helped them sweep the Thrashers. That’s not to say the Rangers are going to win the series, but the Sabres will at one point be nervous, and in the end the Sabres raw deeper talent will end up being the difference as they win the series in six.
Sharks in 5
After knocking off the tough Predators, with relative ease in five games the Sharks smell blood in the water as they face the top seeded Detroit Red Wings. Despite playing an overmatched Flames team the Wings needed six games to reach round two. The Sharks now have the edge in skaters and a solid goalie to boot, look for a big series from Joe Thornton and Jonathan Chechoo as the Wings age instead of being an experience edge works against them against the Sharks snipers, look for this one to be surprisingly one sided as Sharks chew up the Red Wings in six games.
Devils in 6
The swift cutting Lightning provided many match up problems for the Devils in the first round as they needed six games to finally advance, after facing the possibility of trailing 3-1 as they evened the series with an overtime win in Game 4. The Senators are a deeper team then the Lightning, but their style of play more plays into the hands of the Devils as both teams will look to tighten things up defensively, don’t be surprised if 2-1 is the final score of more then one or two games. Look for the entire series to be low scoring, but in the end Martin Brodeur will be the big difference as the Devils win the series in six.
Ducks in 5
There used to be a saying if you have two goalies you don’t have any, but the Ducks seem to buck that trend as both Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Iyla Bryzgalov are capable of bringing the Stanley Cup to Southern California. Meanwhile the Canucks have their hopes banked on Roberto Luonogo, who helped them survive a tight series against the Stars. However, in that series the Canucks were blanked three times, with another game they won going to four overtimes, weather it be Giguere or Bryzgalov the Ducks defense of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer will be a constant road block and the difference as the Ducks fly to the Western Finals in five.