6-for-8. My only misses were a 4-5 and a 3-6 with the weakest division champ. Not bad, if I do say so myself.*
*: I have just screwed myself for the next round by typing that. No sense in erasing it. The karmic damage has already been done.
#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #7 Ottawa Senators
Prediction: Penguins in 6
Actual: Penguins in 4
I just hope the Pens weren’t lulled into a false sense of security. It won’t get any easier than this.
#4 New York Rangers vs. #5 New Jersey Devils
Prediction: Rangers in 5
Actual: Rangers in 5
I mentioned in my prediction that age may be catching up to Martin Brodeur. I thought it would be in physical terms, not get-these-damn-kids-outta-my-crease terms. The non-handshake proved it: Sean Avery got into Marty’s head. The fact that the Devils couldn’t answer with either goals or physical enforcement sealed their fate.
#3 Minnesota Wild vs. #6 Colorado Avalanche
Prediction: Avalanche in 7
Actual: Avalanche in 6
“Something tells me that the Wild’s tough-guy makeover will backfire.” Sure enough, it did in Game 4. After three overtime games and a 2-1 series lead, the Wild responded to the Avs’ 4-0 lead in Game 4 with a pugilistic tantrum, starring Derek Boogaard and Stephane Veillieux. From there, it was all downhill.
#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #8 Nashville Predators
Prediction: Red Wings in 5
Actual: Red Wings in 6
Nashville developed a gift for bang-bang goal outbursts. Shame it didn’t last long after Chris Osgood took over. I just hope Canadian fans were watching those Predators home games. Sommet Center had some of the most boisterous fans in the NHL during these playoffs. (Now if they could just keep that regular season average above 14,000…)
#4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Dallas Stars
Prediction: Ducks in 6
Actual: Stars in 6
Game 6, 2:00 remaining, Dallas has just taken a 3-1 lead. Randy Carlyle pulls J-S Giguere for an extra attacker. Ducks get some cycling time in the Stars’ zone, then the puck is cleared to center ice. While the Ducks are clearing the zone, Chris Pronger takes a stupid cross-checking penalty at the red line. That, ladies and gentlemen, is your 2007-08 Anaheim Ducks in a nutshell.
#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #8 Boston Bruins
Prediction: Canadiens in 5
Actual: Canadiens in 7
It took everything the Bruins had to reach Game 7, but there was nothing left in the tank Monday night. Carey Price recovered from bad outings in Games 5 and 6 to post the Game 7 shutout.
#3 Washington Capitals vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers
Prediction: Capitals in 7
Actual: Flyers in 7
Joffrey Lupul: Hero. Tom Poti: Goat. Gary Bettman: Off the hook for the theory that the Ovechkin-promoting fix was in.
#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Calgary Flames
Prediction: Sharks in 4
Actual: Sharks in 7
That was way harder than it needed to be for the Sharks. Nabokov’s challenge to “play like men” was pretty bold for a goalie, but it was probably the spark San Jose needed. And Ron Wilson’s “Rest JR for Game 6 so he can go off in Game 7” gambit worked far better than Mike Keenan’s tired “Ill-timed goalie change” schtick. That’s going to be an interesting locker room in Calgary next year.