Wow, closer than I thought and it looks like the edge goes to the stinking Leafs. People have been talking in Ottawa all year about Redden and Chara having Norris Trophy years but McCabe looks to me like he may win it. Adding Leetch and Klee has improved their defence ten fold.
First off, McCabe has an OUTSIDE shot at being nominated for the Norris. He doesn't have a chance at winning the thing.
Secondly, unlike some belligerent fans on both sides, I do think this will be a hard, fought and close series. The two teams are evenly matched.
Third, I notice that your comparisons had selective qualifiers/disclaimers. You made some obvious mistakes on the Senators side, but more so on the Leafs side as well.
i.e. you noted the discrepancy between Fisher and Stajan in terms of GP (in favour of Fisher) but left out the fact that Johansson (6 pts) has played only 8 games while Leschyshyn (5 pts) has played in 56 games.
Yeah but McCabe has got that flying ass check that winds me up something else.
I don't really believe in these type of comparisons. The key to this series is Ottawa's game plan over the series.
Bondra was brought into shore up the 2nd unit of the PP and if you believe the rumour mill, we shouldn't expect to see him on Thursday night. The Leafs PK has our #1 PP unit and it's scheme well scouted. They've been ineffective. Bondra running that #2 PP unit certainly would have given us a different weapon.
There is also faceoff matchups - I think this is where Toronto has the most significant edge over us. Francis and Niewendyk are just brilliant in the circle. A couple of signs of improvement tho: Havlats GWG straight off the faceoff play against the panthers and White was great in the faceoff circle yesterday. We've got a number of guys who can play center and take faceoffs - lets use them and try and make sure that we've got our lefties and righties taking faceoffs on the correct side in the defensive zone.
Impossible to use stats or numbers to compare these teams. One stat stands out and that calls for a very close match - Leafs 103 points, Sens 102. No statistical significance in these kinds of numbers. Leafs have not had a great home record and Sens have not had a great road record. I'm not prepared to say that the home ice advantage is crucial, though it is more important than stats. History is also not relevant because regular season dominance has not carried over into playoffs before. Both coaches have their weaknesses and strengths.
Winner will be determined by effort, ability to avoid bad penalties, the power play, the goaltending, and injuries.
Of course I am pulling for a Leaf win, as you guys are for a Sens win.
May the better team over a short series live long, prosper and go all the way.