Well, it was a heck of a first round! Can't wait till these Conference Semi's kick-off tonight!
(1) Buffalo Sabres vs (6) NY Rangers
Buffalo in 7. Going into the playoffs, many thought the Rangers wouldn't get past the Thrashers. Well, they did alright. Watching the Rangers in the first round proves they are more critics think of them to be. They are a very fast and pesky team that will give Buffalo some trouble. The Sabres didn't look to convincing in the series vs the Islanders. They did win in 5, but they allowed the Islanders to make a series out of it. I still think the Sabres will prevail in 7.
Players to look out for: Drury, Briere, Vanek, Avery, Jagr, Nylander
(2) NJ Devils vs (4) Ottawa Senators
Senators in 6. The Senators are simply a better team. Broduer looked a bit shaky against Tampa & I think with Ottawa picked up on many of Broduer's weak spots. A six game, hard fought series vs the Lightning may have an effect on the Devils.
Players to look out for: Gomez, Elias, Parise, Spezza, Heatley, Kelly
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs (5) San Jose Sharks
Sharks in 7. A very skillful Sharks team will be too much to handle for the aching Wings who went a rough six games against the Calgary Flames. The Wings are getting too much production upfront besides the likes of Datsyuk. I think that may hurt them considering Marleau & Thornton are started to step it up in the latter stages of round 1.
Players to look out for: Franzen, Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Thornton, Marleau, Michalek, Cheechoo.
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs (3) Vancouver Canucks
Ducks in 6. Anaheim is simply a better team all around. They have two strong goalies in Bryzgalov & Giguere, and they have a blue line that are strong offensively and defensively. Canucks are a team that have trouble scoring. I think it was clear to see that the only reason they got past the Stars was because of the outstanding play by Luongo.
Players to look out for: Getzlaf, Pronger, Sedin Bros.