#1 Buffalo vs. #4 Ottawa
Sabres in a bloody, brutal 7
Ottawa in 5
Buffalo may have gotten the wake-up call they needed, but it was too little, far, far too late.
(Original post follows for posterity)
I'm getting a head start on this series, because it's already over. Somewhere between Manhattan and Buffalo, the Sabres lost their heart. Whatever speed they carried into the playoffs ran out. Ryan Miller is the only reason Game 3 wasn't a blowout, and the one goal he did give up was a fluke. And I don't see any signs that anybody in the Sabres' locker room is trying to shake this team out of its funk. Lindy Ruff sounds exasperated in the post-game press conferences. He already sounds like he's been defeated. (Ruff : Adams Award :: Nowitzki : NBA MVP) Somebody in that room needs to deliver a passionate rally cry, or a stick-slamming, paint-peeling tirade to wake his teammates up, or something. I just don't know who's going to do it.
Ottawa, on the other hand, looks unstoppable. Their defense has taken over every game in this series. Buffalo has been frustrated at every turn by the Sens' blueliners. Even when Ottawa has fallen into penalty trouble, as they did in Game 3, their penalty killers have completely derailed the Sabres power play. Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Dany Heatley have dominated the ice at times. And Ray Emery just keeps building up confidence.
#1 Detroit vs. #2 Anaheim
Ducks in 6
Ducks in 6
This series came down to who had more aggression. Anaheim has it in spades, but Detroit was more than capable of fighting back. Unfortunately for Hockeytown, they had to empty the tank in the 3rd period of game 6 just to get within one goal. In the end, the youthful energy of Ducks like Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Penner wore the Wings out.