I’ve always found that if you gauge teams on their record since the trade deadline up until the end of the season you will get a clearer picture of how good they can be in the playoffs. This is because lots of teams get a face lift of new players, and sometimes a new coaching staff as well, so it’s almost a fresh start for many teams.
Also, teams seem to really turn it on right after the deadline where it’s almost like another season in a season per say. It’s never good to just look at a teams total record and assume that’s how good they are.
That’s what helps me predict my playoff matchups. Now just because a lower seeded team had a much better record the last few weeks does not mean it’s wise to take them in a upset, but let that help you as a guide to how tough a matchup they can be, or if they could possibly pull an upset if they are up against a team who has played real poorly.
Eastern Conference Records: From March 4th, 2009
1. Pittsburgh Penguins: 12-2-3 (27 points out of 34) Real rank: 4th
2. Carolina Hurricanes: 12-3-2 (26 points out of 34) Real rank: 6th
3. Washington Capitals: 10-4-3 (23 points out of 34) Real rank: 2nd
4. Boston Bruins: 11-6-1 (23 points out of 36) Real rank: 1st
5. NY Rangers: 11-6-1 (23 points out of 36) Real rank: 7th
6. New Jersey Devils: 9-7-1 (19 points out of 34) Real rank: 3rd
7. Philadelphia Flyers: 10-9-1 (21 points out of 40) Real rank: 5th
8. Montreal Habs: 7-7-4 (18 points out of 36) Real rank: 8th
Western Conference Records: From March 4th, 2009
1. St. Louis Blues: 12-4-2 (26 points out of 36) Real rank: 6th
2. Vancouver Canucks: 12-5-2 (26 points out of 38) Real rank: 3rd
3. Anaheim Ducks: 10-5-1 (21 points out of 32) Real rank: 8th
4. Columbus Blue Jackets: 9-4-4 (22 points out of 34) Real rank 7th
5. San Jose Sharks: 11-6-2 (24 points out of 38) Real rank: 1st
6. Detroit Red Wings: 9-5-2 (20 points out of 32) Real rank 2nd
7. Chicago Blackhawks: 10-7-3 (23 points out of 40) Real rank: 4th
8. Calgary Flames: 8-11-0 (16 points out of 38) Real rank 5th
The Bruins are by far the superior team here in all aspects of the game. The Bruins have home ice and they will not be taking the Habs lightly because they will be looking for revenge from last year where the Bruins lost to the Habs in 7 games in the first round.
This could be a real ugly series in two ways. One from the nastiness between the rivalry, especially the last game these two faced each other in the other day where it turned very ugly. Two because the Habs should really be no contest. They are injury riddled and I can’t trust Carey Price.
I’m taking the Bruins in 5 games.
This series should be much more competitive than many will assume. The Rangers play an up tempo style under Tortorella a lot like the Capitals play, so we should see some up and down the ice competitiveness.
I like the Rangers goaltending and defense more than the Capitals, but the Capitals offense is well beyond what the Rangers will be able to handle, and overall that will be the difference because both teams play an offensive style.
I’m taking the Capitals in 6 games.
The Devils did not finish the end of the season very well while the Hurricanes were one of the hottest teams. I think this match up is pretty even overall but I get this feeling the Hurricanes are much more hungrier.
Both teams have lots of key guys who have Stanley Cup experience so we should see this series go a long way, at least 6 games.
I’m taking the Hurricanes in 6 games.
In my preseason predictions I picked the Flyers to go all the way to the finals to face the Sharks. Ummm, I don’t think that is going to happen now, not even close. The way Philly ended the season and looked today in a game where they needed to win to clinch home ice in round 1 has got me worried about them, so I’m scared to ride them.
Plus I just think Pittsburgh is a better team right now. They don’t have as many offensive horses as Philly, but I believe they are better balanced in other areas.
Like Boston, Pittsburgh has the upper hand this time around against Philly with home ice so they will not take it lightly.
I’m taking the Penguins in 6 games.
Eastern semi’s and conference finals
Bruins vs Hurricanes (Bruins in 6 games)
Penguins vs Capitals (Penguins in 7 games)
Bruins vs Penguins (Bruins in 7 games)
The Ducks will be a good first round test for the Sharks and will take a lot out of them even if the series doesn’t go that far. It’s a good rivalry that generated some nastiness this year, but I can’t look into that too much.
I think the Sharks are a superior team with lots to prove. They’ve added all the pieces they need to win a Cup so I have to go with them.
I’m taking the Sharks in 5 games.
Columbus has been a great story but this is where the story ends. Columbus does not match up with Detroit anywhere on the ice in skill or experience, even in net where Mason has been fabulous but has no playoff experience unlike Osgood for the Wings who thrives in the playoffs.
The Wings didn’t end the season well but I guarantee they will turn it on come playoffs.
I’m taking the Wings in a 4 game sweep.
I think this series will be the best of all the first rounders. St. Louis is outmatched virtually everywhere, but boy are they playing with a great amount of confidence where they finished the season just about as good as you can do it. They are a team that plays balls to the wall and they will give Vancouver all they can handle.
I’m taking the Canucks in 6 games, though.
Chicago stole home ice down the stretch of the season, but they are a team with a core that has little to no playoff experience, so the home ice should play a little part here.
Don’t overlook Calgary here because they have some injuries and finished the season poorly, and don’t overrate Chicago because they played well in the regular season. All Calgary has to do is turn it on and it could be lights out for Chicago rather quickly.
I’m taking the Flames in 6 games.
Western Semi’s and conference finals
Sharks vs Flames (Sharks in 5 games)
Canucks vs Red Wings (Canucks in 7 games)
Sharks vs Canucks (Sharks in 6 games)
Stanley Cup Final
Bruins vs Sharks (Sharks in 6 games)
Not a huge surprise here with two 1 seeds. Both teams are in my opinion the best all around teams in their conference with the ingredients to go the distance. The Sharks are more experienced with more horses so I’m going with them.
Conn Smythe Winner: Patrick Marleau