Monday, April 09, 2007

The Peerless' Profound Playoff Prognostication -- First Round in the East

Well, here we are, and The Peerless is poised to present the positively preeminent prognostications for your perusal. Let’s get right to the picks in the East . . .

Buffalo Sabres (1) – New York Islanders (8)

Season Series: Buffalo, 3-1

Series Theme: “Slugs versus Pugs”

Fun Fact: Daniel Briere has no goals against the Islanders this year.

The Islanders snuck in on the last day of the regular season by virtue of having cashed their Bettman token – a shootout win over the Devils. The Sabres sleepwalked through their finale against the Flyers with Ty Conklin in goal and Daniel Briere checking the Philly restaurant guide for some good skewered cuisine. Speaking of sleep-walking, Alexei Yashin had one point in four games against the Sabres this year.

In a perfect world, Chris Simon deposits Daniel Briere in Long Island Sound at some point in this series. Well, Simon was asked to take a vacation, and in the meantime, the Islanders are being backstopped by a goaltender named, “Dubie.” The Peerless wouldn’t bet your money on the Islanders, let alone his own…

Buffalo in four.


New Jersey Devils (2) – Tampa Bay Lightning (7)

Season Series: Tampa Bay, 3-1 (including a shootout win)

Series Theme: “Good Marty versus Evil Marty”

Fun Fact: No Devil has more than two points against the Lightning this year

OK, so “good” and “evil” depend on your point of view. On the one hand, we have Martin Brodeur, iron-man goaltender, the rock upon which the Devils edifice is built, a sure-fire hall of famer, likely to be the winningest goalie (without an asterisk) in the history of the game when he retires. On the other hand, we have a midget.

You choose.

This is the “irresistible force meets immovable object series,” one with Stanley Cup pedigrees all over the place. It says here that goaltending and defense win at this time of year – the Devils have that, the Lightning don’t.

New Jersey in six.


Atlanta Thrashers (3) – New York Rangers (6)

Season Series: Atlanta, 3-1 (including two overtime wins)

Series Theme: “’Baby’ Blue versus Broadway Blue”

Fun Fact: Adam Hall is tied for the Rangers' lead in PP goals against Atlanta...trouble is, he's in Minnesota now

Atlanta has never played a playoff game – ever. The Rangers have the bad taste of last year’s thwapping at the hands of the Devils that included the further insult of Jaromir Jagr separating his shoulder trying to throw a punch. Both clubs feature excellent young goaltenders, both clubs have high-end offensive performers (the Thrashers have more of them), both clubs can play with a bit of an edge (Atlanta has more of that), and there is that whole Atlanta winning the season series thing, the last three in a row. So?

New York Rangers in seven


Ottawa Senators (4) – Pittsburgh Penguins (5)

Season Series: Pittsburgh, 3-1 (including two shootout wins)

Series Theme: “Groundhog Day”

Fun Fact: Ray Emery's been bad in this series (3.17, .863)...Marc-Andre Fleury's been worse (4.10, .886)

Hey, readers, you know the drill . . .

First D.J.: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today.

Second D.J.: It's coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?

First D.J.: Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later this week with that, you know, that, uh, that first round of the playoffs thing.

Second D.J.: [mockingly] That playoff - thing. That playoff - thing. Oh, well, here's the report! The National Hockey League is calling for a "big playoff thing!"

First D.J.: Yessss, they are. But you know, there's another reason why this week is especially exciting.

Second D.J.: Especially cold!

First D.J.: Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody's lips...

Second D.J.: - On their chapped lips...

First D.J.: - On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Ottawa is finally going to win a Cup?

Second D.J.: The Ottawa Senators!

First D.J.: Thats right, hockey puck-chuckers - it's

[in unison]



In a way, it hardly matters that the Senators are playing the Penguins. On the other hand, it matters a lot, since this is (in the eyes of some) the marquee matchup of the first round – a product of you-know-who’s first career playoff series. If Ottawa starts slowly, they’re toast, no matter what the disparity is in playoff experience. Ottawa is carrying a cargo hold of baggage, the Penguins are carrying a Game Boy.

Penguins in five.