Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Way It's Mean to Be

NOW the playoffs are really beginning. Islanders, it was fun, thanks for the warm-up. Rangers, nice job, you had me a little worried there for a few games. But Ottawa... Oh yes, Ottawa. Brad Riter said it about a million times on the radio this afternoon, but it's true: Doesn't it feel like the whole season has been leading to Buffalo and Ottawa duking it out for the right to move on to the Cup finals? Starting with Buffalo beating Ottawa in the playoffs last year, moving onto to Ottawa's dominance of Buffalo throughout most of the regular season, and of course the Chris Neil hit on Chris Drury and all the craziness that followed... It's all led to here.

It appears we'll have a few days before the next series starts so I'll probably post some more in-depth thoughts later, but here's my first, gut instinct when thinking about this match-up: It's all about the goaltending. If both teams play at their highest level, things are pretty even. Both teams have multiple lines that can score, and good skating, mobile defenses. Both teams can play wide open hockey, both teams can tighten things up defensively when necessary. I reallly think the series comes down to goaltending and in that case, I like our chances. Emery is a good goalie - definitely better than he was a year ago - but I don't think he's going to play as well as DiPietro did in the first round and I know he's not going to play as well as Lundqvist did in the second round. Emery has the flashy shutouts but Miller is locked in and ready to go. He did a wonderful job against a dangerous Rangers offense and I know he'll do the same against the Senators. I don't think Emery has been challenged too much yet and I think this is the series where we see how far he's really come.

Should be a good one for sure, hockey fans


KMS2 said...

My vote is for Buffalo because they have more scoring depth, their defense is probably slightly better than Ottawa's and Miller is more consistent than Emery. However, Buffalo needs to stop taking so many penalties and need to score more PPGs. It'll be interesting to see how much damage Ottawa's supreme #1 line can do. I can't wait for this series to begin!!

rwaver said...

I think that the team that can win will be the one that can replace the injured. You know that this is going to be a hard hitting, high scoring game. Buffalo depth all the way through Rochester is what will win this series.

Heather B. said...

kms2: I would love for the PP to suddenly kick into gear but it's been pretty bad all year and we're still here so I'm not TOO stressed about it. The PK is definitely going to need to be more consistent though. I'm curious to see how much we can contain Alfie's line as well - I don't think they've faced a defensive forward line as good as Drury's or a defensive pairing as good as Tallinder/Lydman so far in the postseason. It's gonna be fun!

rwaver: I didn't really take that into consideration since both teams are pretty healthy right now, but you're right. If Buffalo has to dig into its lower ranks, they definitely have an advantage.