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Playoff teams that got a bad draw

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02-11-2012, 06:50 PM
  #1
Al Bundy*
 
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Playoff teams that got a bad draw

Sometimes, when you want to win in the playoffs, who you draw is an important factor along with how you play and how you're looking going into the playoffs.

When game 7 of the Chicago/Vancouver series went to overtime, I thought about how the Blackhawks had snuck into the playoffs via Dallas losing to Minnesota in the last game of the season and how close they were to a comeback of comebacks. If they completed the epic comeback, that would have been the all-time instance of 'Wow, talk about getting a bad draw in terms of who they faced.'

Can you recall any other instances of playoff teams that drew the short straw?

One that came to my mind was the 2009 Sharks. We all know what happened against Anaheim (and how the Blues/Jackets fared in their series), but they came very close to getting an easier opponent- had the Blues lost their season finale, San Jose would have instead faced St. Louis, Anaheim would have faced Detroit, and Columbus would have faced Vancouver.

Talk about a bad break- instead of a playoff novice, they drew arguably the greatest 8 seed ever this side of the 2006 Oilers. And I sure don't think San Jose's one-and-done if they draw the Blues.

(Conversely, how would Detroit/Anaheim have gone if it was in the first round instead of the second?)

Another one the same year- the Flames. If they hold on to win the division title, they face St. Louis in a 3-6 matchup instead of a Chicago team they had problems with at that time- and given how Detroit was stretched big-time after the Columnus sweep, who knows if Calgary could have made a playoff run to June- they had its most lethal offensive team of the post-lockout era and a 46-win goalie in Kipper. If they get an easier draw, maybe they win a series or two and don't fire Keenan or let go of Cammalleri?

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02-11-2012, 06:56 PM
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GuineaPig
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Both Washington and Vancouver drew very good teams last year in the first round.

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02-11-2012, 07:31 PM
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Nashville in 2007. Had 110 points but since Detroit won the division with 113 they had to face San Jose who had 107 points.

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02-11-2012, 08:49 PM
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1996 Winnipeg Jets, if they win the final game, would have had home-ice advantage in their last year before the Phoenix move- at the very least, they could have had a chance to maybe win a playoff round as a goodbye- instead of facing the 62-win, 131-point Red Wings.

In fact, the playoffs out West would have literally been different if they win that final game.

What we got
(1) Detroit vs. (8) Winnipeg
(2) Colorado vs. (7) Vancouver
(3) Chicago vs. (6) Calgary
(4) Toronto vs. (5) St. Louis)

What we would have gotten if Winnipeg won their season finale
(1) Detroit vs. (8) Vancouver
(2) Colorado vs. (7) Calgary
(3) Chicago vs. (6) St. Louis
(4) Winnipeg vs. (5) Toronto

Jets would have home-ice against a beatable Leafs team. Maybe the Whiteout gets a fond farewell in round 2 and extra playoff hockey?

(Anyone who remembers the NHL FOX/CBC controversy with FOX showing Canadian teams and screwing up the HNIC format- would have been less of an issue if this happened, for they'd have had Chicago/St. Louis as opposed to one Canadian team in each West playoff round 1 series

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02-11-2012, 09:13 PM
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1980-81 Montreal Canadiens. Finished 3rd overall which matched them against #14. Usually #3 vs. #14 is a good matchup for #3, unfortunately for Montreal it was Edmonton in that spot. The Oilers had a terrible start to the season, and were 20th out of 21 teams at New Years; but turned it on over the last two months of the year to snag a playoff spot. Edmonton only lost one of their last 12 games, and despite the low #14 ranking, they were arguably the league's hottest team entering the playoffs.

Montreal would've been better off finishing in any spot other than 3rd.

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02-12-2012, 01:43 AM
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In 2003, the Avs faced the Wild in the first round.

The Wild were one team I thought matched up well, specifically trap versus run and gun. This coupled by the fact that it was astute coach in Jacques Lemaire versus a very raw and quite frankly ineffective head coach in Tony Granato (the team earned wins largely through talent).

On paper the Avs had a stronger roster but the games were close (as to be expected against a trapping team) and IMO it wasn't too surprising to see them lose in game seven. To this day I still don't understand why they wouldn't have hired someone more experienced or strategic to lead that cast.

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02-12-2012, 10:51 PM
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Phoenix in 2010. Had the fourth best record in the NHL after a surprise regular season. Could have gone far if the Red Wings didn't decide to finish fifth that year.

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02-12-2012, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by canuckmaster12345 View Post
Phoenix in 2010. Had the fourth best record in the NHL after a surprise regular season. Could have gone far if the Red Wings didn't decide to finish fifth that year.
If Detroit doesn't win the season finale at Chicago, that would have altered the entire West playoff picture:

the Coyotes would have faced the Los Angeles Kings instead of Detroit in the 4-5 matchup (winnable series, and I don't think LA fans would have invaded Glendale the way Phoenix did)

Detroit faces Vancouver in the 3-6 series, San Jose faces Nashville in the 2-7, and Chicago would have been the #1 seed in the West and faced Colorado.

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02-14-2012, 10:01 AM
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2001-2002 Islanders. Had 1st place in the Atlantic until the last week of the season - if the Rangers had beaten the Flyers in Philly's second to last game, the Isles would have been seeded #2 instead of #5, avoiding a series with Toronto that essentially ended Peca's career and knocked out Kenny Jonsson with a concussion. The Isles would have played Ottawa and may have won their first playoff series since 1993.

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02-14-2012, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by McCrackus View Post
2001-2002 Islanders. Had 1st place in the Atlantic until the last week of the season - if the Rangers had beaten the Flyers in Philly's second to last game, the Isles would have been seeded #2 instead of #5, avoiding a series with Toronto that essentially ended Peca's career and knocked out Kenny Jonsson with a concussion. The Isles would have played Ottawa and may have won their first playoff series since 1993.
Islanders were not in first place since December 4th of the 2001-02 season. They were between 5-10 points behind Philly for most of the time until the end of the season when Philly finished the year 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games.

Playing Ottawa would have been the worst match up for the Islanders considering how awful they have always been against the Sens. They were 0-3-1-0 that season vs. the Sens.

Isles were 3-0-0-1 vs. the Leafs that year.

If there is an argument to make it would be had the Isles LOST their last game of the season against Philly they would have been the 6th seed and faced the Canes. Isles were 3-1-0-0 that year vs. them.

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02-14-2012, 05:00 PM
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bruins309
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One thing I never understood about the older systems of NHL playoffs: Why did the first place team play the 3rd place team, and 2nd place played 4th place? Makes zero sense.

Classic example: 1971 Bruins finish 1st and instead of playing a slightly over .500 Toronto team, they get 3rd place Montreal (97 pts) with a ton of HOFs and we all know what happened.

The 1980 and 1981 playoffs were just so strange with that league-wide format. Lots of strange matchups by doing it that way, like the Montreal-Edmonton one referenced earlier.

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02-14-2012, 07:28 PM
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beauchamp
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Originally Posted by bruins309 View Post
One thing I never understood about the older systems of NHL playoffs: Why did the first place team play the 3rd place team, and 2nd place played 4th place? Makes zero sense.

Classic example: 1971 Bruins finish 1st and instead of playing a slightly over .500 Toronto team, they get 3rd place Montreal (97 pts) with a ton of HOFs and we all know what happened.

The 1980 and 1981 playoffs were just so strange with that league-wide format. Lots of strange matchups by doing it that way, like the Montreal-Edmonton one referenced earlier.
Even stranger system in the really old days.

(1) From 1928-29 to 1937-38 for example, NHL was divided in two sections.

In the Quarter-Finals, #3 of one section played against # 3 of the other section, while the two #2 met each other.

In the Semi-Finals, the winners of the Quarter-Finals met each other, while the two #1 met head-to-head.

(2) From 1938-39 to 1941-42, one section of 7 teams.

In the Quarter-Finals, #5 met #6, while #3 met #4.

In the Semi-Finals, the winners of the Quarter-Finals met each other while #1 played #2.

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02-14-2012, 09:11 PM
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McCrackus
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Originally Posted by seawolves View Post
Islanders were not in first place since December 4th of the 2001-02 season. They were between 5-10 points behind Philly for most of the time until the end of the season when Philly finished the year 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games.

Playing Ottawa would have been the worst match up for the Islanders considering how awful they have always been against the Sens. They were 0-3-1-0 that season vs. the Sens.

Isles were 3-0-0-1 vs. the Leafs that year.

If there is an argument to make it would be had the Isles LOST their last game of the season against Philly they would have been the 6th seed and faced the Canes. Isles were 3-1-0-0 that year vs. them.
I don't know man, it couldn't have been worse than TML since they, you know...lost.

I don't put much stock in regular season records against another team come playoff time. Didn't some publications predict the Isles upsetting the Lightning in 2004 because of their regular season record against them?

EDIT: Also, every single game in that 2002 series was won by the home team. If you ask me, being seeded #2 and getting home ice advantage means more than however the Isles did against Ottawa in the regular season.

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02-14-2012, 09:24 PM
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Considering that the 1 seed Bruins were one-and-done, the Islanders were literally thisclose to having home-ice advantage all the way until the Finals!

Seriously, I think the Islanders would have made the Stanley Cup Finals with better seeding.

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