Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Western Conference Finals: Anaheim vs. Edmonton

Here's another pair of teams that I don't think many people thought would be in the final four at the start of the season. This will be the last time the "Mighty" Ducks will be in the playoffs, and the "Mighty" will be dropped, for fear of the wrath of Eisner. The Oilers made some strategic moves in the off-season, and then during the season to get where they are today.

The Ducks could have a little rust on them with the long layoff they have had to endure, but I don't think they are sweating it too much. They have the home-ice advantage and the hottest goalie in the playoffs right now. Ilya Bryzgalov has been playing out of his mind with a 0.87 GAA and .967 Sv%. However, the rest could help the players who have some ailments like Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne. The main thing for the Ducks is whether or not their young guns will take control of this series. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Joffery Lupul are showing that the future is now in Anaheim and that they could contend with the best of them for years to come. I'm sure right now, Vancouver fans are rueing the day Brian Burke was let go.

The Oilers have ousted two top seeds. First, they upset the Red Wings, then when the top-4 teams were out in the West, they took out the 5th-seeded Sharks. A lot of intangibles go the way of the Oilers. From their skill in the face-off circle with Jarret Stoll and Michael Peca to their shot blocking from everyone, the Oilers have gotten it done by hardwork. Granted the topic of the has come up more than once, but you have to do what you have to do. In order for the Oilers to really succeed is for Dwayne Roloson not to come down off the high he has been playing on. If that can happen, the Oilers will make this a rough time for the Ducks.

During the season, the Oilers rolled over the Ducks winning all four games. Yet, in the playoffs, you can pretty much throw all of that out to the curb. What's really going to matter is whether or not the Oilers will get worn down or the Ducks have rust built up. It's no rest for the weery Oilers who have to go back at it in two days time, but I'm sure they would rather that than waiting forever and a day.

It should be a good series, but as I said on the show-- I'm going with the Ducks in six games. For some reason, I don't see the Ducks really letting the pressure get to them. They are a pretty laid back team who is really confident, especially coming off a sweep of the Avalanche as they did. The Ducks have the tools to really get the job done and have outworked teams prior to this series. I don't expect this series to be any different.

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