Tuesday, April 27, 2010
How The West Was Won
With minor exception the Western conference in the NHL went as planned. All the favorites won and Detroit was the only lower seed to win (although they were favored to win the series). Which means I was wrong in picking these games.
San Jose was able to beat Colorado in 6 games. Something I'm sure the fine folks in San Jose are happy about. The problem is they now have to face the Red Wings.
Detroit put together an impressive Game 7 in which they dominated Phoenix. Their defense was stout and was very affective in keeping the Coyotes out of the offensive zone. And they did a great job killing penalties (something that's been iffy for the Wings in this series).
Vancouver just flexed their muscle in LA. Quick had some strong performances in goal but everything he did, Luongo did better. The Kings just didn't have an answer in Games 5 and 6 for the Sedin twins.
I honestly thought Nashville was going to force a Game 7 but their defense and goal tending really let them down in Game 6. Chicago didn't play tight late in 6 and got lucky. What was a 6 minute power play for Nashville didn't hurt them.
San Jose vs Detroit:
San Jose will have had a nice rest between Game 6 and when Game 1 with the Wings start and that's probably good for them. I think beating Colorado in 6 games and getting out of the first round will help. They've gotten over the hump and can now just get back to playing hockey. Minus Game 2, Nabokov was stellar. I think Nabokov will be key in San Jose going forward. But the rest will work in their favor. Detroit coming off a hard fought series with Phoenix will be tired. And even though Game 7 was a blowout, Detroit Has some big holes. Their penalty kill failed them badly in 2 games against the Coyotes and there's no doubt in my mind that San Jose has a better offense and better goal tending than Phoenix does. Detroit's been to the finals in back to back years and because of that this series should be a great one and a long one. But overall I look for the Sharks to win it in 7.
Vancouver vs Chicago
Chicago has problems going into this series. The Blackhawks penalty kill wasn't great against Nashville. On top of that I'm not convinced Niemi can be consistent in goal. He had some good games and good periods but he gave up 4 goals in three games against Nashville and 3 goals in the first period of Game 6. It also doesn't work in their favor that Roberto Luongo has only gotten better as the playoffs have progressed. The question is, can the Hawks' first line be better then Vancouver's first line and I doubt it. I'm not sure Chicago has an answer for the Sedin brothers. I'm taking Vancouver in 6.