In the east I see the favourites all winning thier first rounds. It would be a true upset for any except the Leafs to make it out of thier first rounds. In the west as a Kings fan considering how well we have played against the Avs I would say that we could steal a series if we got very lucky and good goaltending.
I would still say the Avs should take it though.
For the Det/Nash match up I would have to say that again, I wouldn't give Nash too much of a shot on upsetting the Wings. The Wings will kick into overdrive as they always do and the fact that Nash can be so dominated by a team like the Kings time and again means that the Wings have plenty of film on how to take the Preds out of thier game. Anything is possible but I don't see the Preds taking a 7 game series.
As of today the SJ/Stars series pits two favourites together so the underdog thing don't work. Pick em.
My pick of all in the interesting and anything could happen west though is the Calgary/Van series. I could see the Flames stepping in a taking the Nucks down in 5 unless they do something quick. It isn't out of a lack of respect for the Nucks, its that the Flames have shown some truly impressive games and seem to be building steam while Van has been shakey at times lately. The Nucks certainly have the guns to win thier series but, the Flames are my pick for Underdog who could steal a round and look good doing it.
The east seems more set and established to me for some reason. The west seems more of an anything can happen situation at present.
Nashville has beaten the Wings 3 times this season and always play them tough. The kings play a system that causes problems for the Preds, the Wings can't just decide to play that system they don't have the size on defense or the gritty forwards to pull it off for just a series.
As a Wings fan I really hope we dont run into Nashville. Theyve been really beating us up this year. They really seem to come together against the big guns. Out west I believe LA would be a decent first round opponent. Then again they gotta get lucky some time this year. In the east Montreal could be very dangerous but i think its totally reliant upon whether Jose comes through with a great playoffs.
Location: Halfway between Nothing and Not Much Else
In the West it comes down to Nashville and whichever team doesn't win the Pacific, because frankly I think Dallas and San Jose are very dangerous teams. Both have very solid lines 1 through 4 and while Dallas has more scoring punch, the Sharks seem better balanced and play better defense. The Stars have a ton of playoff experience and the Sharks seem to have a lot of confidence and they can throw Nabokov or Toskala in net.
Guarantee you the Wings, Avs and Canucks are hoping those two teams play each other.
The East is tougher to say. Boston could be a really dangerous team if Raycroft stays hot and the Bruins pick up a defenceman. The Islanders are a little scary because they play a pretty physical style and have a very solid blueline. I don't think Yashin will make much of an impact. Guys out that long seldom have the conditioning or the timing to jump right in. Montreal is dangerous if they get a good match-up. Physical teams with a lot of size cause them no end of problems, but they can skate with anybody and Theo can hold them in. If Souray comes back and the power play returns to form to make the difference in close games they could be scary. Otherwise it's all Theodore.
Habs in the east, mainly because of the man between the pipes. He's a goalie that can not only steal games, but series.
For the west, it's between Nashville and Calgary. The Preds are one of the hardest working teams in the league and don't really have any big money players. Vokoun can steal some games and boy will they leave you banged up. Calgary has a gamebreaker in Iginla and Kipprusoff has shown he's top-notch quality. They can outwork anyone on any given night.
Location: Writing an Haiku or watching an habs game
Montreal in the east : Souray and Bulis should be back for the playoffs. Steve Bégin's back too and he'll make a huge difference (don't laugh). Theodore is also one of the best goaltender and he could steal some game.
Calgary in the west : Kipprusof is on fire (don't know if he'll be good in the playoffs tough..) and they've got a much better defence then most people think.
If L.A. ever got healthy, watch out Western Conference. Unfortunately, I doubt Allison, Deadmarsh or Palffy plays a minute in the postseason.
I think the Preds are definitely dangerous, especially if they keep their scoring up. In the East, the ghosts + Jose Theodore make the Habs never an easy playoff opponent (unless Mario Tremblay is coaching them).
If I were the Flyers, Red Wings and Senators, I'd be real worried about a first-round upset.
As would I, watching them play on HDIC. Even though Calgary played its heart out you could tell Ottawa was the much better team.
However, the Flames could upset any team in the playoffs for one reason. Kiprussoff. On Tuesday against Colorado he basically decided the Flames were going to win. Some of the saves he made were unbelievable. He was absolutely amazing. Calgary also has more playoff exprience than most people think. Gelinas, Warrener, the New guy, Conroy, Reinprecht, Yelle are all playoff veterans. Iginla is also aware of how to play in playoff like settings. By the way, does anyone know the longest streak between playing in a playoff game? Because Iginla must be high on the list.
Knocking of a top seed requires solid team defense and outstanding goaltending. So, in the west you'd have to look at Calgary and Nashville. Montreal in the east.
Montreal has Theodore, a former Hart Winner. The guy can eliminate a team by himself.
Vokoun has carried Nashville so far and will likely continue to do so. I'm still suspect of their backend, but if Poile addresses it like he claims, they could pull of something.
If Calgary gets in the playoffs, they aren't the type of team that i'd want to face. A young, tough defence coupled with Kiprusoff (who is playing Gigueresque right now) could pose huge problems for a team that plays them.