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03-10-2004, 02:33 PM
  #35
NWT Habs Fan
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Edmonton, AB
Country: Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Moreso than most years. The top 6 have little difference in them and the Habs with goaltending, it's going to be a first round nightmare for poolers because there are no real favorites in the 3/6 and 4/5 matchups no matter who they are.
So true, guardian of the goats (or is it the pretzel?). As much as Leafs, Bruins and Sens fans all look to the Habs as an easy first round matchup, I don't think there will be any easy first round matchups in the East. Assuming NYI get in, they will have Yashin and Parrish back and have been quite competitive for a long haul without them.

As for the bigger teams, that is a real concern. We don't match up well against the bigger teams like Toronto, Philly and Boston. That being said, the real wild card in goaltending. I like Theo and he can steal you games in the playoffs. Belfour's health is a concern as if he gets injured, Kidd is just not an option. Even the biggest Leaf fan has to roll their eyes when he plays. Philly added Burke to complement Esche. Burke is a big game player, but how much is left in the tank, and Esche is also relatively untested in the big game. Boston has Potvin and Raycroft. The kid is having a super year, but the playoffs are a whole different story. He is the guy they will be going with to start though, no doubt about it.

NJ has Marty the Great, but without a fully healthy Stevens (or even without him entirely), they are a less threatening team. Teams can beat them over 7 games, although they are as well coached and as cohesive a team as it gets. Then the Sens, the poster boys of playoff underachievement. Is this the year of the final breakthrough? Ask the Sens fans, if Lalime screws up even once in the post season, the Corel Centre will erupt and make Breezer bashing look like a love-in. I would really like to see that franchise win a cup (while the Habs are still rebuilding of course), but I wouldn't put money on it right now.

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