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 2004 Playoff Predictions - Round 2
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Posted - 04/21/2004 :  14:01:46  Show Profile
Contributed by: Raphael Borenstein

Round Two...

Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
This series has “classic” written all over it. Montreal will have some great momentum from their big win, and Tampa Bay is rested and ready to get to the Conference Finals for the first time in club history. Tampa is chock full of French-Canadian talent like Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards, and Andre Roy, who love to give huge performances when playing in front of family and friends in “La Belle Provence”, and have a strong following. Look for a great goaltending duel between Theo and the Bulin Wall. With tons of speed and skill on both teams, this match-up promises to deliver great playoff hockey. - Montreal in 6.

Philadelphia vs. Toronto
Another classic rivalry that went to seven games last time they met, but a lot of questions this time around. Was Esche a fluke in the first round when he got the surprise nod over Burke? Will Eddie be able to repeat his performance from the last round. Lots of injuries to key players on both squads will also come into play. I know this will offend the “Leaf Nation”, but Toronto really has no business being in the second round except that Belfour stood on his head. Philly has the advantage in size, depth, talent, and age, and unless Eddie performs another miracle, the 67 year drought will continue. - Philly in 5.

Detroit vs. Calgary
Jarome Iginla has Conn Smythe written all over him. If he gives another performance like he did last round but loses the series, he could conceivably win the trophy without advancing any further. Goaltending could be the difference in this series. Cujo will have to be fantastic and deal with a lot of traffic, Kipper will have to be better then he has been as he will be facing a lot of talented scorers. Calgary’s big defense will have to lay out a lot of punishment, hopefully getting Gauthier and/or Lydman back from injury to help. On paper, Detroit should sweep the series, but the playoffs and not played with ink, they are played with heart. - Calgary in 6.

San Jose vs. Colorado
Last time San Jose looked this good in the playoffs, they had a lot more stars like Nolan, Friesen, etc…This time around they resemble a much deeper, more experienced, more talented version of last year’s Minnesota Wild. They are solid all through the lineup, and play as a tight knit unit. They can shut down superstars as they did with Tkachuck, Weight, and Demitra, and have fantastic goaltending. Of course, Colorado has Peter Forsberg, who is quite possibly the most dominating player in the world. Colorado, still has chemistry issues, and the goaltending was not tested too much against Dallas. - San Jose in 7.

The First Round Recap...

In the East, Tampa had little trouble getting rid of the Islanders and Nik Khabibulin looked strong in the pipes. Philadelphia had similar ease getting rid of last year’s champs who were no match for Philly’s big forwards without Scott Stevens. Montreal pulled off the biggest upset of the first round coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 3 in a row, including a game 7 shutout win in Boston. Ottawa balked another cup run when faced with their nemesis, the Leafs. The loss was more a mental block and self-beating, as Ottawa scored only 1 goal in the 4 losses combined.

In the West, San Jose cruised over St. Louis, who pretty much blew their load just fighting to make the playoffs to keep their 25 year post-season appearance streak intact. Nashville played valiantly, competing hard for 2 games, and then winning 2 games, but they forgot to even show up for games 5 and 6, and lost the series to Detroit. Colorado needed a few OT wins to clinch in 5 games, but this series was won when Dallas played like they were in the Ice Capades for the first 2 _ games. Vancouver and Calgary provided the most entertaining series of the first round, with the grit and determination of Calgary prevailing in OT of game 7. Calgary was led by Jarome Iginla who had one of the best playoff series performances you will ever see.

Have an opinion on Raphael's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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PickupHockey Pro

365 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2004 :  14:45:17  Show Profile
Things aren't looking too good for your predictions Raph!
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Top Prospect

14 Posts

Posted - 04/30/2004 :  16:06:35  Show Profile
Originally posted by Ripley

Things aren't looking too good for your predictions Raph!

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