When these games go into double overtime, you East Coast types will drowsily complain that it's 2am. But I'll alertly proclaim that J.S. Giguere is red hot!
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Nashville Predators
Since they started handing out the President's Trophy in 1985, only six winners have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. Of the 17 President's Trophy winners that came up short, four were Detroit. Since Nashville came into the league in 1998-1999, Detroit has one lousy Stanley Cup, even though they had back-to-back Cups in the '90s. What does all of this bedrock scientific evidence lead us to conclude? Nashville and the President's Trophy are jinxes to Detroit!
Detroit has 25 guys that can score goals on a 23-man roster. Nashville has J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott, Martin Erat and occasionally Alexander Radulov. Very occasionally. But they also have Dan Ellis in goal and he's turned Detroit away like somebody shopping for a new car and worrying about good gas mileage.
Every year there's a big upset, every year a no name goalie gets hot, almost every year the President's Trophy winner loses. Killing three birds with one giant stone here.
GOOD FOR DETROIT - They are better than everybody else.
BAD FOR DETROIT - Which makes it more noticeable when they lose.
GOOD FOR NASHVILLE - They finally have an owner again.
BAD FOR NASHVILLE - Game 6 in Nashville could be pre-empted by a truck pull.
THE PICK - Nashville in 7
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Calgary Flames
Since trading for Brian Campbell, the Sharks have won approximately 50 games in a row. On the other hand, both the Sharks and Joe Thornton have a history of...flaming out in the playoffs. On the third hand, Calgary has shown quite a knack for playoff upsets during the aughts. The Flames play physically and the Sharks don't. Literally they do, but you know what I mean. Although on the fourth hand, San Jose wasn't afraid to rack up about 95 PIMs in the season finale Sunday, with Jody Shelley taking care of 41 by himself.
What does all of this mean? Something for sure. But Evgeni Nabokov has been so dominant this season that nothing else really matters.
GOOD FOR SAN JOSE - Evgeni Nabokov's record this season was 114-6.
BAD FOR SAN JOSE - Cheechoo and Marleau split the vote for Most Disappointing Player. So that's something else they couldn't achieve this season.
GOOD FOR CALGARY - They will almost definitely win Games 3 and 4 at home.
BAD FOR CALGARY - Nobody wants to win the Cup for Mike Keenan.
THE PICK - San Jose in 6.
(3) Minnesota Wild vs. (6) Colorado Avalanche
Here's the one series you can skip. You can only watch so many games each night, so why bother with these? The most interesting thing about this matchup may be seeing if Peter Forsberg, Pavol Demitra or Marian Gaborik get hurt first.
Uh...uh...there's probably nothing else to say about this one. I guess it comes down to Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu versus Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos. Whichever secondary duo has the better series will be the edge. Let's go with...Rolston and Koivu.
GOOD FOR MINNESOTA - They have very knowledgeable fans.
BAD FOR MINNESOTA - Jacques Lemaire hates goals by either team.
GOOD FOR COLORADO - Half of their Cup heroes are back on the team.
BAD FOR COLORADO - Not Uwe Krupp, though.
THE PICK - Minnesota in 7.
(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Dallas Stars
Steve Ott. Brad Winchester. Trevor Daley. Travis Moen. Brad May. Chris Pronger. Somebody is definitely going to get hurt in this series. PIMs should outnumber goals by a factor of 10. Historically, Jean Sebastian Giguere is very good in the playoffs while Marty Turco is very bad in the playoffs.
Dallas had a good offense this season up until March. Leading scorer Mike Ribiero has 0 goals in the last 10 games. Jeff Halpern and Jussi Jokinen were traded for Brad Richards and Richards is the 3rd leading scorer in that group since the deal went down.
Anaheim struggled to score all season, but they have playoff experience and a complete lack of conscience when it comes to cheap shots.
GOOD FOR ANAHEIM - They won the Cup last year.
BAD FOR ANAHEIM - Teams very rarely repeat.
GOOD FOR DALLAS - Their black uniforms are imposing.
BAD FOR DALLAS - Marty Turco.
THE PICK - Anaheim in 5.