Apr 232008
 
  1. Dallas at San Jose

    Dallas (road) San Jose (home)
    Predicted Winner San Jose (Some)
    Fair Odds +125 -133
    Overall Record 45-30-7 49-23-10
    Home/Road Record 22-14-5 22-13-6
    Last 10 Games 3-5-2 7-2-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/29: San Jose 4 at Dallas 2
    • 2007/11/07: Dallas 3 at San Jose 1
    • 2007/11/14: San Jose 4 at Dallas 3 (SO)
    • 2007/12/05: San Jose 3 at Dallas 2
    • 2007/12/15: Dallas 4 at San Jose 2
    • 2008/01/17: Dallas 4 at San Jose 2
    • 2008/03/27: Dallas 2 at San Jose 3 (OT)
    • 2008/04/06: San Jose 2 at Dallas 4

    My opinion: This is an interesting secound round matchup since it features two teams who have each had dissapointing playoffs in recent years. On paper San Jose is probably the better team but they may not be as rested having gone 7 games against Calgary. I think home ice will serve the Sharks well though so I’ll predict Sharks in another long 7 game series.

  2. Colorado at Detroit

    Colorado (road) Detroit (home)
    Predicted Winner Detroit (Good)
    Fair Odds +132 -148
    Overall Record 44-31-7 54-21-7
    Home/Road Record 17-19-5 29-9-3
    Last 10 Games 5-4-1 7-2-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/12/27: Detroit 4 at Colorado 2
    • 2008/01/08: Colorado 0 at Detroit 1
    • 2008/02/01: Colorado 0 at Detroit 2
    • 2008/02/18: Detroit 4 at Colorado 0

    My opinion: This is another very intriging matchup as it features a renewal of an old rivalry and while many of the players have changed some core players on both teams remain and although neither team really plays with a physical edge, I am sure some of that old rivalry will resurface. Detroit is better on defense with Lidstrom and crew but Colorado probably has an edge up front with more offensive depth. The key to this series is likely to be goaltending as the Avalanche hope Theodore can continue his resurgent season and the Wings hope that Osgood can carry the reigns as it seems age has finally creeped up on Hasek. Prediction: Avalanche in 6.

  3. Philadelphia at Montreal

    Philadelphia (road) Montreal (home)
    Predicted Winner Montreal (Strong)
    Fair Odds +146 -187
    Overall Record 42-29-11 47-25-10
    Home/Road Record 21-15-5 22-13-6
    Last 10 Games 7-2-1 8-1-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/01: Philadelphia 2 at Montreal 5
    • 2007/12/13: Montreal 4 at Philadelphia 1
    • 2008/02/16: Philadelphia 0 at Montreal 1
    • 2008/02/17: Montreal 5 at Philadelphia 3

    My opinion: This series features a small, speedy skilled team in Montreal vs a bigger and more physical team in the Flyers. The key to this series will be for Montreal to get a quick start to the series and try and end the series early. If they don’t I think Philadelphia will wear them down over the course of a long series and should it go 6 or 7 games I like Philadelphia’s chances. To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of either of these teams and if I had a choice I would hope they would both lose. But since one of them has to win I’ll choose Philadelphia in 6 if only because Montreal (the city) doesn’t deserve to win after the behaviour shown from some of their ‘fans’ after game 7 against Boston.

  4. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh

    NY Rangers (road) Pittsburgh (home)
    Predicted Winner Pittsburgh (Some)
    Fair Odds +121 -128
    Overall Record 42-27-13 47-27-8
    Home/Road Record 17-14-10 26-10-5
    Last 10 Games 5-1-4 6-3-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/23: NY Rangers 0 at Pittsburgh 1
    • 2007/11/08: Pittsburgh 2 at NY Rangers 4
    • 2007/11/17: NY Rangers 4 at Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
    • 2007/12/18: Pittsburgh 0 at NY Rangers 4
    • 2008/01/14: NY Rangers 1 at Pittsburgh 4
    • 2008/03/18: Pittsburgh 2 at NY Rangers 5
    • 2008/03/30: NY Rangers 1 at Pittsburgh 3
    • 2008/03/31: Pittsburgh 1 at NY Rangers 2 (OT)

    My opinion: The Rangers goaltending and defense defense vs Pittsburghs offense. It is an interesting matchup. Typically goaltending and defense win (see the success of the New Jersey Devils over the past 15 years) but the Penguins are loaded with star players so the defense wins rule may be tossed out the window. I like the Rangers but I wonder if they have enough offense to win agaist a strong offensive team like Pittsburgh. My gut also tells me that this is Pittsburgh’s year. So with that in mind I’ll predict Pittsburgh in 6.

Apr 082008
 

Here are my predictions for the first round of the playoffs. Beyond that I am predicting San Jose over Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals.

  1. Dallas at Anaheim

    Dallas (road) Anaheim (home)
    Predicted Winner Anaheim (Some)
    Fair Odds +121 -126
    Overall Record 45-30-7 47-27-8
    Home/Road Record 22-14-5 28-9-4
    Last 10 Games 3-5-2 8-2-0
    Since Trade Deadline 5-8-2 11-4-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/20: Anaheim 1 at Dallas 3
    • 2007/11/05: Dallas 5 at Anaheim 0
    • 2007/11/21: Anaheim 1 at Dallas 2
    • 2008/01/15: Dallas 2 at Anaheim 4
    • 2008/01/20: Anaheim 2 at Dallas 5
    • 2008/02/15: Dallas 4 at Anaheim 2
    • 2008/03/19: Anaheim 2 at Dallas 1
    • 2008/03/30: Dallas 2 at Anaheim 3 (SO)

    My Prediction: Both Anaheim and Dallas play a tight defensive system but with the return of Selanne and Niedermayer the Ducks have the edge offensively and that should be enough to give them the series. For Dallas to win Brad Richards really has to play well and above what he has contributed so far in Dallas (or in Tampa this season). Anaheim in 6.

  2. Colorado at Minnesota

    Colorado (road) Minnesota (home)
    Predicted Winner Minnesota (Some)
    Fair Odds +124 -132
    Overall Record 44-31-7 44-28-10
    Home/Road Record 17-19-5 25-11-5
    Last 10 Games 5-4-1 6-2-2
    Since Trade Deadline 12-5-1 10-4-5
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/21: Colorado 2 at Minnesota 3
    • 2007/10/28: Minnesota 1 at Colorado 3
    • 2007/11/11: Minnesota 2 at Colorado 4
    • 2007/11/18: Colorado 1 at Minnesota 4
    • 2008/01/24: Minnesota 3 at Colorado 2
    • 2008/03/17: Colorado 1 at Minnesota 3
    • 2008/03/30: Colorado 2 at Minnesota 3 (OT)
    • 2008/04/06: Minnesota 3 at Colorado 4 (SO)

    My Prediction: I believe that Minnesota is likely the better team but don’t count Colorado out as they have an abundance of offensive game breakers in Forsberg, Sakic, Smyth, Stastny, etc. to take this series. The two keys to the series will be whether they can solve the Wild’s defensive system and whether Theodore (or Budaj) can provide consistent and good enough goaltending. The key for Minnesota will be generating enough offense. This series really could go either way but I’ll give the edge to Colorado. Colorado in 7.

  3. Calgary at San Jose

    Calgary (road) San Jose (home)
    Predicted Winner San Jose (Some)
    Fair Odds -100 +100
    Overall Record 42-30-10 49-23-10
    Home/Road Record 21-19-1 22-13-6
    Last 10 Games 5-5-0 7-2-1
    Since Trade Deadline 9-8-1 16-2-2
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/22: San Jose 4 at Calgary 1
    • 2008/01/03: Calgary 3 at San Jose 2 (OT)
    • 2008/01/30: San Jose 4 at Calgary 5
    • 2008/02/12: Calgary 4 at San Jose 3 (OT)

    My Prediction: This series features one of the hottest teams in the league against an up and down team that hasn’t proven consistent enough to really get consideration as a true Stanley Cup contender. We all know how great San Jose has been since acquiring Brian Campbell and a large part of Calgary’s inconsistencies can be blamed on Mikka Kiprusoff’s poor play. But we all know what Kiprusoff is capable of so that should worry the Sharks. If Kiprusoff gets hot he and Iginla are capable of taking the Flames a long way. But in the end the Sharks are just playing too good to overcome. San Jose in 6.

  4. Nashville at Detroit

    Nashville (road) Detroit (home)
    Predicted Winner Detroit (Some)
    Fair Odds +103 -103
    Overall Record 41-32-9 54-21-7
    Home/Road Record 18-18-5 29-9-3
    Last 10 Games 6-3-1 7-2-1
    Since Trade Deadline 9-8-1 12-4-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/07: Nashville 2 at Detroit 3 (SO)
    • 2007/11/22: Detroit 2 at Nashville 3
    • 2007/12/10: Detroit 2 at Nashville 1
    • 2008/02/12: Detroit 2 at Nashville 4
    • 2008/03/09: Nashville 3 at Detroit 4
    • 2008/03/15: Nashville 3 at Detroit 1
    • 2008/03/20: Detroit 6 at Nashville 3
    • 2008/03/30: Nashville 0 at Detroit 1 (OT)

    My Prediction: Except for the stretch around Lidstrom’s injury Detroit has been by far the best team in the league over the course of the season but they aren’t without a few question marks that make them a potential upset victom. The key concern is whether Hasek has enough left for another Cup run and/or wether Osgood has it in him. Generally Osgood has been the better goalie this year but he has been considered the backup so who knows how this will play out. The other potential issue is scoring depth. After Datsyuk and Zetterberg they don’t have any big time scorers up front (their third leading scoring forward is Dan Cleary with 42 points). For Nashville they have no pressure on them and that is always a good position to be in. Some consider their season to be a resounding success just making the playoffs. We saw in the Superbowl what can happen when one team has a huge amount of pressure to win and the other team is given next to no chance of winning. I am picking Detroit in 6 but something tells me this series could very likely go the other way.

  5. Boston at Montreal

    Boston (road) Montreal (home)
    Predicted Winner Montreal (Some)
    Fair Odds +126 -135
    Overall Record 41-29-12 47-25-10
    Home/Road Record 20-13-8 22-13-6
    Last 10 Games 4-2-4 8-1-1
    Since Trade Deadline 8-6-6 13-4-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/22: Boston 1 at Montreal 6
    • 2007/11/08: Montreal 2 at Boston 1
    • 2007/11/17: Boston 4 at Montreal 7
    • 2007/12/06: Montreal 4 at Boston 2
    • 2008/01/10: Montreal 5 at Boston 2
    • 2008/01/22: Boston 2 at Montreal 8
    • 2008/03/20: Montreal 4 at Boston 2
    • 2008/03/22: Boston 2 at Montreal 3 (SO)

    My Prediction: There is really no sane reason why anyone would choose Boston to win this series. They have been thoroughly dominated by Montreal for a couple seasons now. Who knows what the reason for this domination is but you can’t dispute the numbers. Boston will be lucky to squeek out one win. Montreal in 5.

  6. Ottawa at Pittsburgh

    Ottawa (road) Pittsburgh (home)
    Predicted Winner Ottawa (Some)
    Fair Odds -114 +112
    Overall Record 43-31-8 47-27-8
    Home/Road Record 21-16-4 26-10-5
    Last 10 Games 3-6-1 6-3-1
    Since Trade Deadline 11-6-1 7-9-2
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/22: Pittsburgh 6 at Ottawa 5 (SO)
    • 2007/12/13: Ottawa 4 at Pittsburgh 1
    • 2008/02/23: Ottawa 4 at Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
    • 2008/03/01: Pittsburgh 4 at Ottawa 5

    My Prediction: Ottawa has been one of the worst teams in the NHL since their 15-2 start. Pittsburgh has been one of the better teams after a poor 8-11-2 start. Pittsburgh is fairly healthy while Ottawa is without Alfredsson, Fisher and Kelly. It seems like a no-brainer that Pittsburgh should easily take this series. But Ottawa has played Pittsburgh very tough this year and Pittsburgh is still a fairly young and inexperienced team. The key for Ottawa to win this series will be to have some success early in the series to boost their confidence and put some question marks in the minds of the Penguin players. To do that they will need to focus on their defensive game, not take bad penalties and get some big time goaltending from Martin Gerber. For a significant part of the year both those things have been problems for the Senators and I don’t think they will overcome some or all of those issues. Pittsburgh in 6.

  7. Philadelphia at Washington

    Philadelphia (road) Washington (home)
    Predicted Winner Washington (Good)
    Fair Odds +138 -161
    Overall Record 42-29-11 43-31-8
    Home/Road Record 21-15-5 23-15-3
    Last 10 Games 7-2-1 9-1-0
    Since Trade Deadline 11-4-4 14-4-0
    Past Games
    • 2007/11/02: Philadelphia 3 at Washington 2
    • 2007/11/23: Washington 4 at Philadelphia 3 (OT)
    • 2008/01/13: Philadelphia 6 at Washington 4
    • 2008/02/06: Washington 4 at Philadelphia 3

    My Prediction: Washington has home series advantage but Philadelphia actually had more points. But interestingly enough, home ice may be a disadvantage as the road team won all four of the games in the season series. The Capitals are kind of in the same situation as Nashville is in that they might just be happy that they have made the playoffs. The Capitals have been one of the best teams in the NHL in 2008 and have been on a ‘make the playoffs’ mission for a long time led predominantly by Alexander Ovechkin. But Ovechkin is highly competitive, loves to play hockey, and I don’t see him quitting now that they have
    made the playoffs. Plus he has a very supportive team behind him who will follow Ovechkin’s lead so I don’t see the Capitals taking it easy just happy they made the playoffs. For Philadelphia they is just one key to their playoff hopes. Will Biron (or Niittymaki) play well enough over the duration of a 7 game series and a playoff run for them to win. Both goalies have had stretches of great play and stretches of mixed play. The Flyers need consistent goaltending for them to win. I am going to stick with the hot team and pick Washington to win in 7.

  8. NY Rangers at New Jersey

    NY Rangers (road) New Jersey (home)
    Predicted Winner New Jersey (Some)
    Fair Odds +120 -125
    Overall Record 42-27-13 46-29-7
    Home/Road Record 17-14-10 25-14-2
    Last 10 Games 5-1-4 4-5-1
    Since Trade Deadline 10-3-5 9-8-1
    Past Games
    • 2007/10/25: New Jersey 0 at NY Rangers 2
    • 2007/11/03: New Jersey 1 at NY Rangers 2 (SO)
    • 2007/11/14: NY Rangers 4 at New Jersey 2
    • 2007/12/09: New Jersey 0 at NY Rangers 1 (OT)
    • 2008/02/01: NY Rangers 3 at New Jersey 1
    • 2008/03/19: NY Rangers 2 at New Jersey 1 (SO)
    • 2008/03/27: New Jersey 2 at NY Rangers 3
    • 2008/04/06: NY Rangers 2 at New Jersey 3 (SO)

    My Prediction: This will be a defensive struggle if there ever was one. Both teams rely heavily on their goaltenders and this series will be no difference. Martin Brodeur has the experience but Lundqvist is more than capable of matching Brodeur’s performance. The Rangers should have a little more depth offensively so I will predict the Rangers in 6.

Apr 082008
 

Here are how the Power Rankings look after the regular season. Also take a look at stats.hockeyanalysis.com for season ending player rankings and other statistics.

Rank 7 Days
Ago
Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power
Rank
1 1 Detroit 0.659 0.502 0.642
2 2 San Jose 0.598 0.514 0.612
3 3 Anaheim 0.567 0.517 0.582
4 4 Minnesota 0.567 0.510 0.572
5 5 Dallas 0.537 0.520 0.558
6 6 Montreal 0.579 0.482 0.556
7 7 Pittsburgh 0.555 0.483 0.532
8 8 Nashville 0.512 0.514 0.527
9 13 Colorado 0.512 0.514 0.525
10 11 Calgary 0.512 0.514 0.524
11 12 New Jersey 0.537 0.484 0.521
12 10 Ottawa 0.537 0.485 0.521
13 14 Philadelphia 0.530 0.485 0.514
14 9 Vancouver 0.494 0.515 0.513
15 18 NY Rangers 0.518 0.486 0.505
16 16 Phoenix 0.470 0.525 0.503
17 17 Boston 0.506 0.487 0.499
18 15 Buffalo 0.506 0.487 0.499
19 20 Chicago 0.482 0.516 0.498
20 19 Carolina 0.530 0.469 0.487
21 22 Washington 0.524 0.470 0.478
22 21 Columbus 0.445 0.520 0.466
23 23 Edmonton 0.433 0.521 0.457
24 24 Toronto 0.445 0.493 0.445
25 25 St. Louis 0.415 0.522 0.443
26 26 Florida 0.470 0.474 0.440
27 27 NY Islanders 0.415 0.494 0.420
28 28 Los Angeles 0.378 0.533 0.417
29 30 Atlanta 0.396 0.480 0.383
30 29 Tampa Bay 0.372 0.482 0.359

AdjWinP is a teams winning percentage when shootouts are considered ties and there are no points awarded for overtime losses
SchedStr is an indication of a teams relative difficulty of schedule
Power Rank is the teams expected winning percentage if team played all .500 teams