The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

DING, DING, ROUND TWO
kick ice
I'm watching the opening game of the Lightning-Devils second-round series, and I realized: I plumb forgot to revisit my earlier playoff predictions for Round One (Eastern and Western Conferences, natch).

Well, obviously I suck at such predictions. I knew there'd be upsets, like there are every year. I didn't think they would all come in the West! Neither did anyone else, though, so I feel no shame. Thinking Boston would take the Devils... what was I thinking?? At least I got the Tampa Bay-Washington series right (although I was off on how many games).

I don't really feel like doing an involved set of predictions like last time; too tired, feel like zoning out and watching the games tonight. I will offer up this:

East: I'm not convinced that Philly can sustain their offensive output for another round. Cechmanek will give the Senators plenty of trouble, and the Flyers can outmuscle Ottawa easily. But the loss of Desjardins, especially, is going to expose some holes that the Sens will exploit. I like Ottawa to advance. In the other series, I'm pulling for the Lightning, but realistically, there's no reason the Devils shouldn't take this series. They're too big, too fast, too skilled, and Brodeur and their defense is going to make life miserable for the Bolts. Plus, if Tampa Bay can't get another scoring line clicking, it's going to be a short series. New Jersey takes it.

West: Who the hell knows? The lower seeds in this conference are world-beaters, all of a sudden. The Ducks are relying on Giguere to stay white-hot and carry them. I'm not sure the Stars are as susceptible to the shut-down Anaheim gave the Red Wings. Dallas gets scoring from all over the ice; they're not relying on just one line to do damage. I think special teams will really put it away for Dallas, who'll roll on to the next round. In the other series, I'm tempted to go with Vancouver with their scoring prowess. But I still think the goaltending, with Cloutier, is very suspect; if St. Louis' Osgood hadn't collapsed, it'd be the Blues facing off against the Wild. Minnesota has proven to be pretty adaptable, and can frustrate the hell out of a high-tempo attack like the Canucks'. Minnesota's Cinderella story continues with a win here and a ticket to the Conference final.