So here it is, today is the beginning of the 2008 NHL playoffs as four matchups are scheduled today.
Yesterday I flew across the East, now let's have a look at the Western conference matchups:
Nashville Predators (8) vs Detroit Red Wings (1)
The Red Wings have won yet another Presidents trophy this season with a total of 115 points. The fact that they play in a poor division helps a lot winning those trophies year after year. But we cannot look away from offensive stars like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in the Wings lineup. Nicklas Lidstrom has been steady as ever on defense. They look like a steamroller to be frank.
The Predators will try to pull off a huge upset here! Don't get me wrong but the Predators winning this series would be a huge upset. I just don't believe that they can pull this off. So if you are in for a longshot, pick this team.
My prediction: Detroit in five games.
Calgary Flames (7) vs San Jose Sharks (2)
This series promises to be a great one. The San Jose Sharks, are loaded with offensive talent with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo only to name those two. While in the net, Evgeni Nabokov has been as solid as a rock. A great goaltender is needed to win the cup, and San Jose has one in their roster.
The Flames will give a fight to the Sharks. Jarome Iginla added another 50-goal season to his record and is for sure the main man offensively. The Flames are usually a tough team also, don't expect a walk in the park for the Sharks. Dion Phaneuf's contribution as a defensemen will also be of great importance for them. One last thing: Can Mikka Kipprusoff in net steal a few games for the Flames this year?
My prediction: San Jose Sharks in seven games.
Colorado Avalanche (6) vs Minnesota Wild (3)
The Avalanche finished the regular season on a good note. This team suffered greatly the loss of Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny on offense. Stasny has recovered from his injury and along with player like Milan Hedjuk, Wojtek Wolski and Joe Sakic, the Avalanche represent a volatile offense. The Avalanche's goaltending also has to deliver for the team to advance.
The Minnesota Wild is a tightly coached team. Head coach Jacques Lemaire has the teams he wants. Rough and playing tight defense. Marian Gaborik is a great offensive talent and can bail out the team by himself. They are capable of the better and the worse. Should they roll over the Avalanche, this team will gain momentum.
My prediction: Colorado Avalanche in six games.
Dallas Stars (5) vs Anaheim Ducks (4)
The Dallas Stars are made for the playoffs. The only bad news is that they face the defending Stanley cup champions. Mike Ribeiro has been a fantastic offensive outlet on offense. His vision of the game is undeniable. As for goaltending, they still have the goods with Marty Turco who has already went thru the playoffs a champion.
The Ducks begin their title defense today. With Selanne and Niedermayer back from semi-retirement, the team offense is maybe only a Dustin Penner away from being a sure two time champion in my opinion. On defense, big Chris Pronger will control traffic and contribute offensively. Jean-Sebastien Giguere is a prime playoff goaltender and is sure hungry for a second cup.
My prediction: Anaheim Ducks in six games.
Enjoy the first round of those 2008 NHL playoffs!