Saturday, February 25, 2006

Playoff Hunt #3B

This report for the Western Conference discusses the games between Feb 28 to March 4th.

Period of Analysis 28-Feb-06 to 04-Mar-06

SeedTeamCurrent PointsLast 10 PointsPredicted Points
Detroit spends the week out west with games in San Jose, Anaheim, and Phoenix. The big red machine will have four players who played Sunday in the gold metal game in Turin. Five others made the trip to Italy. I’ll suggest that Detroit is going to stumble a little this week. Certainly they’ll pick up points in Phoenix. But maybe the Sharks and Ducks will be able to catch the Wings on the road and tired. Six points wouldn’t surprise me but let’s give them only two this week.

Dallas has a light schedule with their first game not until Thursday when they pull into Scottsdale to take on the Desert Dogs. Saturday they host the Av’s at home. Turco made the trip to Italy but never played. Modano seems to be over his hissy fit. I give Dallas four points this week. They remain two back of the Wings.

With the Kipper passing on an opportunity to play in Turin, the Flames can be nothing but stronger. They host three home games with Vancouver, St Louis and San Jose providing the opposition. Iggy might have something to prove. Phaneuf as well. I’d think it is going to be hard for Edmonton and Vancouver to keep pace with the Flames down the stretch. Give Calgary six points this week.

Nashville has an easy week. They travel to pick up a couple points from the hapless Blackhawks then return home to host the Canuck’s the next night. Vokoun, Erat and Zidlicky will be slightly high bringing home their Bronze metals. The Pred’s are going to pick up two wins this week.

The Canucks’ post Olympic break slogan must be “Woe is us!” Their top two defensemen went down with injuries in Turin. Bertuzzi came far closer to being the goat than having a momentum changing experience with the Team Canada lads. With likely names like Prestin Ryan being pressed into service on the depleted Vancouver blue line no matter how healthy and rested Naslund is this team is going south for the near future. The Canucks have three road games with visits to Calgary, Nashville and Chicago. Let’s be charitable and give them two points in Chitown. BTW – congratulations to the Twins, and Ruutu for your metals. I don’t know who gets the gold and the silver until tomorrow afternoon. Ohlund and Salo will also have hardware to show for their efforts. One of them will be gold. An interesting question will be to ask the two D-men if they’d rather have a healthy shot the Holly Grail or the Olympic honour and a broken wing. Personally – regardless of the injuries, the Stanley Cup is a bigger asset on my balance sheet. But I’m Canadian; they’re not.

Colorado opens up at home against Minny then the CBJ’s. They end the week on the road in Dallas. Burnaby Joe and Blake will be coming home from the Olympic debacle. I don’t see the Wild or the Blue Jackets giving up much trouble. I figure Colorado for four points this week. This should put them one up on Vancouver.

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LA has a easy week with games at home to Minny and the CBJ’s. With no King having gone to the Olympics they should be rested and ready to go. LA will pick up four points this week to be in a tie with Vancouver.

Here’s a strange one. The Oil went into the break with their last game at home to the St Louis Blues. The Blues provide the opposition when they start up again on Wednesday. The Oilers lost back on Feb 12th. Look for them to win the delayed rematch. The Sharks come to town a few nights later. Hard to say where that contest will fall so let’s hedge and say three points for the Oilers this week.

Outside looking in.

Burke’s Ducks are at 65 points three back of Edmonton. I predict Anaheim to win at home against Detroit (I know I know) and then again against Minny. If the Ducks pick up four points and Edmonton comes up flat there is a chance they could move into a playoff spot this week. Will it happen? Likely not. But will the Ducks put pressure on Edmonton, LA and Vancouver? Definitely yes. Do I sound like John Garrett answering my own questions? Oh God NO!

The remainder of the west with a chance of making it to the Stanley Cup Tournament are, maybe, Minnesota and San Jose. The Sharks still have four games in hand on LA, three on Vancouver and two on Edmonton. Potentially the Sharks can still take a bite out of someone.

Current Dance Partners.

If the playoff were to start on March 5th my predictions for match ups are as follows:

Detroit – Edmonton
Dallas – Los Angles
Calgary – Vancouver
Nashville – Colorado


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