Well, I got three out of eight and two exactas in the first round. We'll see if I get better as it goes on.
(1) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) New York Rangers: Well, the Sabres won in five games over the Islanders, but they didn't look too, too impressive. They got goals from 11 different players, but depth may not be their best thing right now. The top guys like Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, and Thomas Vanek have to be their best. Ryan Miller will have to find the goalie who carried the team last season if they want to get to the Conference Finals.
The Rangers made easy work of the Thrashers, which saw Michael Nylander take the offense under his wing and led them to the win. Let's not slight Henrik Lundqvist either. He played very well in his first playoff series win. They'll face stiff opposition, but the Rangers have the tools to get it done if need be. RANGERS IN 6.
(2) New Jersey Devils vs. (4) Ottawa Senators: This is a re-match of the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils got off to a shaky start, but once Martin Brodeur found his game, they locked up the Lightning. Scott Gomez and Zach Parise put on a show, but in the end-- Brodeur was the main key in yet another series win.
The Senators shut down the high-powered Penguins offense and showed that they were a different team. Ray Emery, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza showed their top forms, but Chris Kelly was the big surprise so far this playoffs. Dany Heatley needs to get his game going for this team to be really unstoppable. SENATORS IN 7.
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (5) San Jose Sharks: After the Red Wings won, many Wings fans were rooting for the Stars, but couldn't get the match-up they wanted. Now they'll have to hope that they are as good in the first round heading into the second round. Dominik Hasek will face a barrage of shot for the Sharks offense, which the scoring will need to be there in order to move on.
The Sharks are looking to right the wrongs of last playoffs. With Evgeni Nabokov on his game and Patrick Marleau showing his leadership ability, the Sharks could be on their way to get back to the Conference Finals. However, it would be nice to get Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo going. SHARKS IN 6.
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks: Anaheim's GM Brian Burke may not lead on, but deep inside, you know he wants to beat his old team. The Ducks have gotten plenty of help from their power play with Chris Pronger and Ryan Getzlaf being the top producers. The tandem of J-S Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov have been very good in their appearances and the hot one will start as long as they are on top.
For the Canucks to have success, they'll need to learn to score more. The Sedins have play well, but will have to lead the charge. Veterans like Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund will be the leadership and actually help ease the young guys. However, with Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa out, the defensive depth is going to be the real question. Roberto Luongo has been good, but there's only so much he can do to keep them in the series. DUCKS IN 6.
So that's it for the Wazz playoff preview. Make sure you check out the Show this week to see Lyle/Orb IV; the best match-up of an expert and Magic Orb since Lyle/Orb III.