Eastern Semifinals --
Buffalo Sabres (1) –
Series Theme: “Head-On…Apply Directly to the Forehead”
Fun Fact: No team scored more against the Rangers than did the Sabres (4.25 goals per game).
This is a difficult series to handicap.
…one sees a club that plays with a considerable efficiency and consistency.
Series Theme: “Irresistible Force?...Meet immovable object.”
Except for the first game – an 8-1 blowout win for the Senators – each of the games in the season series was decided by one goal.
On the other side, Martin Brodeur had an odd – for him – season. Over a four month period, beginning with December, his GAA rose in each succeeding month (1.69 – 1.80 – 2.22 – 2.92). At the beginning of April, it looked like the light went on – he gave up only four goals in his last three regular season games – but then he gave up three goals in four successive games to open the Tampa Bay series. Brodeur closed out the series with a shutout and a two-goals-yielded performance, but there is the uncommon issue of Brodeur’s consistency as this series opens. Nevertheless, tie goes to the defense, and the Devils are better, front to back.
Western Semifinals --
Series Theme: “Gen-X versus Gen-Ex-Lax”
The six defensemen
But here is something to watch…
Series Theme: “Hey, we might still be playing when you wake up out east”
This is another of those difficult series to figure. The clubs split a pair of games after New Years (
The problem for
Neither Jean-Sebastien Giguere nor Ilya Bryzgalov are likely to put up the goose eggs Marty Turco laid on Vancouver, but it doesn’t seem likely Vancouver will be able to muster much more of an offense than they showed in the first round. And,