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04-17-2012, 11:06 AM
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DaveG
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This should be a good matchup. The pure offense of Hartford's first line against the strong defensive forwards of Lada counter attacking.

Quick thoughts:

Top 6: Stevens - Mario - Makarov is tough to contain, but if there's any line that can slow them down it has to be Balon - Clarke - Hossa. So the question is how well can Hartford's defense contain the counter attack from that line? Hartford's line will do their fair share of damage for sure, but I'd expect Lada's to do so as well without a truly strong defensive presence on Hartford's top line to stop the counter.

On the other hand the second lines I would say is a bit of an advantage to Lada. Hartford has a very strong 2nd line, but I honestly think at every position there Lada just flat out has the better personnel. Joliat vs Goulet, Hawerchuk vs Thornton, Recchi vs Mullen. This is where I think Lada would be able to do their most damage offensively.

Bottom 6:
Hartford definitely has the edge offensively for the 3rd line, but then again Lada's 3rd line was built to be purely defensive in nature. I don't anticipate either line being a huge factor in this series.

The 4th line impact will be mostly on special teams. Oliver is a solid PKer, while Smyth, Staal, and Getzlaf will all do most of their damage on their respective 2nd unit PPs. At even strength I'd give Lada an edge, but as 4th lines go in this draft I doubt either will be an impact on the series.

Defense:
Seibert's the best dman of this entire group by a fair margin, and will have to be counted on to physically wear down Lemieux over the course of the series. Thankfully for me he's one of the few top dmen in this draft capable of doing that. Overall I'd say the top pairing is a wash as Hartford definitely has the better #2 guy, though Pospisil is hardly lacking at the #2 slot.

On the second pairing Harris and Neilson have very similar resumes, as do Stapleton and Simpson. And on the third pairings Corbeau and Awrey are the stay at home help for their more free wheeling counterparts in Laviolette and Ramage. Ramage definitely has a physical edge over Lavi, but overall I'd say the bottom 4 is a slight edge to Hartford, but not a large one.

Goaltending:
Definite edge to Lada. Worters I view as somewhat of a middle of the pack goalie in this, while Brimsek I have in my top 10. If there's one place where I see Lada really being able to take advantage of the series it's here... and with a top line of Stevens - Mario - Makaraov it will have to be.

Coaching:
Again definite edge to Lada here. I'm a huge Lavi fan, but in the battle of Flyers bench legends this one is fairly easily advantage Shero. Lavi definitely is making a fast route up the coaching ladder in the ATD though, and IMO he's the best coach out there right now after Babcock. Both coaches have teams well suited for their style of play so neither will be asked to really go out of their comfort zone in this series.

Should be a close series, I can see it going either way but I think Lada's perfectly built to counter what Hartford can roll out and the edge in goal and edge the second line matchup should be enough to get Lada through to the next round.

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