Conference Finals predictions

Ottawa at Buffalo

Ottawa (road) Buffalo (home)
Predicted Winner Buffalo (Some)
Fair Odds +118 -122
Overall Record 48-25-9 53-22-7
Home/Road Record 23-12-6 28-10-3
Last 10 Games 6-2-2 7-3-0
Past Games
  • 2006/10/07: Buffalo 4 at Ottawa 3
  • 2006/11/15: Ottawa 4 at Buffalo 2
  • 2006/11/18: Buffalo 1 at Ottawa 4
  • 2006/12/16: Ottawa 3 at Buffalo 1
  • 2007/01/03: Buffalo 3 at Ottawa 6
  • 2007/02/07: Ottawa 2 at Buffalo 3
  • 2007/02/22: Ottawa 5 at Buffalo 6 (SO)
  • 2007/02/24: Buffalo 5 at Ottawa 6

My Opinion: This is the first and will be the only divisional matchup of these playoffs but despite that fact it pretty much features the best two teams in the eastern conference. It should be a dandy of a series as well as it is a rematch of last years second round matchup as well as a continuation of a fairly heated regular season rivalry. Despite the fact that Ottawa won the season series with 5 wins I think Buffalo goes into this series as the favourite. I, and many others, thought Buffalo was the elite team in the east prior to the season and I don’t think they have done anything to alter my opinion of that. But Ottawa has been pretty dominant so far in these playoffs so one can’t write them off yet. For Ottawa to win this series though they need all 6 of their defensemen to come up big defensively as Buffalo features a four line attack far beyond anything Ottawa has seen in the playoffs so far. Ray Emery also needs to come up big and do a better job controlling rebounds because I can assure you that Buffalo will get more traffic in front of the net to capitalize on those rebounds than either Pittsburgh or the Devils did. Offensively the Senators need to get more production from the second, third and fourth lines as the only forwards other than the big 3 to score in the New Jersey series were Fisher, Vermette and McAmmond with one goal apiece. If the rest of the forwards just score 3 goals in 5 games against the Sabres the Senators may very well be preparing for the golf course in short order. For the Sabres, I think the key to the series might be to get on the Senators early in the series and put some pressure on them. So far Ottawa has never trailed in a series and has never been in a must win situation. If the Sabres can win game one it might change the psyche of the Senator and knock their confidence level down a bit and that can only help. In the end I think the Sabres are a faster team with more consistent and deep offense and probably better goaltending so I will stick with them as my pick to come out of the east. My Prediction: Sabres in six

Anaheim at Detroit

Anaheim (road) Detroit (home)
Predicted Winner Detroit (Some)
Fair Odds +120 -126
Overall Record 48-20-14 50-19-13
Home/Road Record 22-14-5 29-4-8
Last 10 Games 5-3-2 5-1-4
Past Games
  • 2006/10/18: Detroit 1 at Anaheim 4
  • 2007/01/02: Anaheim 1 at Detroit 2
  • 2007/01/07: Detroit 2 at Anaheim 4
  • 2007/03/26: Anaheim 0 at Detroit 1

My Opinion: I have never really been sold on Anaheim’s strategy of being a top heavy team relying significantly on 2 or 3 defenseman and one line to produce most of their offense. They also have a lot of youth on their team which I also think is not ideal in the playoffs. But so far in these playoffs they have pretty much dominated their opponents winning both series in 5 games. But, I think that is partly because of the matchups they faced. Both Minnesota and Vancouver were largely one line teams relying on just a few players to produce offense. This is ideal for the Ducks as they could use their high end talent on defense and solid goaltending to shut down that one line and all is good. But the Red Wings are a different beast and one that I think will give the Ducks a much tougher challenge as they have more depth and experience than either Minnesota or Vancouver which will put some pressure on Anaheim’s less talented depth players, particularly the defense. The biggest concern I think the Red Wings have is the loss of Mathieu Schneider, their #2 defenseman. Not having Schneider in the lineup means ancient Chris Chelios will be required to take on more ice time. So far Chelios has been up for the task but one has to question whether he can play upwards of 25 minutes a game over the course of a long, physical series. In the end I think the Red Wings will have enough defense to largely shut down the Ducks offense and will be able to score enough goals to squeek out a series win. My Prediction: Detroit in 7

This article has 15 Comments

  1. Your anti-Sens stance has led you to predict wrong in both the first and second rounds. Why should anyone take your third round anti-Sens prediction seriously?

  2. Because this is not an anti-Sens prediction but a pro-Buffalo prediction. I think they are the more talented team.

  3. Certainly not more talented on defense. In addition Ottawas #1 line destroys Buffalo’s.

    What is with the hype on this team? They aren’t great. They won 20 of 25 games to start and have been simply mediocre since.

    Are they that deep? Adam Mair gets a spot on their team, he would certainly not take a spot from McAmmond or Shcubert on the Senators. Anyone with a brain would take Ottawa’s roster over Buffalo’s in two seconds.

  4. Adam Mair provides the Sabres some grit and toughness, a much needed attribute for a generally smallish team. Is Adam Mair better than Saprykin? Probably. Adam Mair has 5 points in the playoffs which is the same as Fisher and more than Kelly, Vermette, Comrie, Schaeffer, Neil, Schubert, and Saprykin. He is also a +5 which is better than any Senator forward. Not too shabby if you ask me.

  5. Adam mair is not grit. thats like saying mcgrats got grit. Mair is a goon. NEIL is a gritty forward. Grit is more than muscle, its playing with an edge, and mair can’t score at all. look at his career stats. Look at roy for buffalo, he’s a gritty player. But anyways, whoever this guy is that keeps betting aginst ottawa is dumb. You have good predictions, but u just basing that on wrong stuf. As a die hard sens fan, i realzie that buffalo has a better team, but Ottawa plays much better, that was the same thing last yr, but in reverse.

  6. buffalo is the better team on paper, but they haven’t looked it in the playoffs so far. if not for a last second goal against the rangers they could be golfing right now. ottawa on the other hand have been closing out series well.

    i picked buffalo to win the cup before the playoffs, but they don’t look like they’re that interested in it. so, i took ottawa in 6.

  7. As a very long-time Sabres fan, I have to say, ouch. What the heck? There is NO leadership on the Sabres right now, from Ruff on down. Pathetic.

    Yes, the Sens are playing phenomenal hockey, but the Sabres aren’t adjusting at all. Not one bit.

    Just a hint to Sens fans, though: be nice. Its always fun on the way up. Just remember what happened to the ‘canes and the Oilers…if you don’t win it all this year, its a loooooooong way back.

  8. Justin789 says:

    What is with the hype on this team? They aren’t great. They won 20 of 25 games to start and have been simply mediocre since.

    Um, hardly. They went 33-18-5 after the first 25 games. A .634 winning percentage isn’t what most honest folks would call “mediocre”.

  9. Iteresting to note that after the first 25 games
    the Senators are 36-13-8, a superior record to
    the Sabers. Close, but still better.

  10. Are you now willing to admit that the Sens are the better team? Or are you stll going to root, in the next round, for the Anybody-but-Ottawa team?

  11. I didn’t have an anybody but Ottawa thought in my predictions. In the first round, I had to pick some upsets because they always happened. I thought Pittsburgh if they played smarter hockey could have upset Ottawa (though they were definitely the underdog). I did think New Jersey was capable of beating Ottawa but Brodeur didn’t play great and the Madden line couldn’t shut down the Spezza line and the Devils refused to change the matchup. And I thought (and still do) that Buffalo is the better team if both teams played up to their expectations but I don’t think you can really say that Buffalo had a good game utilizing their speed to full effectiveness until maybe yesterday.

    They are better than Pittsburgh and New Jersey (deeper) and played better than Buffalo (no one believes that Buffalo played up to expectations in any of their playoff series). Are they a better team than Detroit or Anaheim? I am not sure, the western conference has been the better conference all season and both teams are playing good hockey so I am leaning to either of them but it depends on what shape the team is in when that series ends. I like Detroit a bit better than Anaheim because of experience but if Ottawa played Anaheim they would have the travel issues to deal with which they aren’t used to and might cause more problems for the Sens than the Ducks.

  12. Thats true about the travel. BUT travel should be the last problem for teams. If ANA wins, its going to be a non-North American captian vs a NA captain. So history says Ottawa should lose. And History does have a tendency to repeat itself. HOWEVER, i think this Sens club is re-writing history with their play.

  13. DANG dont you hate when your predictions are mostly wrong?
    Please PLEASE pick Anaheim over Ottawa PLEASE

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