2006-07 HFNHL Playoff Preview

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Brock, May 10, 2007.

  1. Brock

    Brock Registered User

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    With the Florida Panthers dwelling in the HFNHL cellar, the Florida Post has decided to do a write up as the playoffs draw near. Some of the matchups should prove to be very compelling and exciting. Let us examine the first round more closely and supply you with some predictions.

    THE EAST

    1. Devils vs. 8. Lightning
    Tale of the Tape:
    New Jersey Devils
    Record: 50 - 25 - 7 - 1
    Goals For: 299 (1st in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 229 (8th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 19.3/83.2% (3rd/21st in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Marian Gaborik - 102 points
    Tampa Bay Lightning
    Record: 39 - 36 - 7 - 2
    Goals For: 258 (T 14th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 265 (19th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 13.9/87.7% (24th/T 2nd in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Markus Naslund - 99 points
    Season Series: 1-1
    Devils 8, Lightning 1
    Lightning 7, Devils 3
    Keys to Success:
    Both teams boast strong offensive units which have scoring depth across 3 lines, which means that this series will likely come down to goaltending. The Devils can choose to go with either Dominik Hasek or Ed Belfour, while the Lightning are likely to stick with seasoned veteran Curtis Joseph.
    The Prediction:
    Devils in 6
    The Lightning are likely to give the Devils a scare, as they match up fairly well. But in the end, the Defense of the Devils is more likely to shutdown the Tampa offense. One of the only vulnerable points of the Devils is their penalty killing, however the Lightning have one of the weaker power play units in the league, meaning they likely won't take full advantage of this. In the later rounds, a week penalty kill could cause the Devils some problems. However, they are usually tame, ranking 2nd last in the HFNHL in penalty minutes received.

    2. Hurricanes vs. 7. Senators
    Tale of the Tape:
    Carolina Hurricanes
    Record: 47 - 26 - 9 -2
    Goals For: 258 (T - 14th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 219 (3rd in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 16.9/85.2% (11th/T 9th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Alex Ovechkin - 68 points
    Ottawa Senators
    Record: 39 - 35 - 8 - 4
    Goals For: 246 (18th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 217 (2nd in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 18.1/88.6% (7th/1st in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Henrik Zetterberg - 88 points
    Season Series: 1-1
    Hurricanes 3, Senators 2 (OT)
    Senators 5, Hurricanes 1
    Keys to Success:
    This series sees the matchup of two of the best defensive teams in the HFNHL, which suggests that the series could be very low scoring. This clearly means that the offenses of both clubs need to step up. Both clubs rely heavily on young forwards participatings in their first playoffs. Veterans like Keith Tkachuk and Craig Conroy for the Hurricanes, and Henrik Zetterberg and Glen Murray of the Senators need to set the standard.
    The Prediction:
    Senators in 6
    Two words. Roberto Luongo. Luongo has been the berlin wall for the Senators all season long and is likely to give the Hurricane forwards fits.

    3. Leafs vs. 6. Penguins
    Tale of the Tape:
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    Record: 43 - 32 - 7 - 3
    Goals For: 264 (12th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 225 (6th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 17.1/87.7% (10th/T 2nd in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Mats Sundin - 95 points
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Record: 41 - 36 - 5 - 3
    Goals For: 240 (22nd in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 224 (5th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 10.1/83.4% (29th/19th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Brad Richards - 84 points
    Season Series: 1-1
    Penguins 2, Leafs 4
    Leafs 1, Penguins 2
    Keys to Success:
    Two more heavily defensive teams duke out in this series. The Leafs definitely get the advantage in the experience department as many of their forwards have seen the playoffs many times before. The Penguins will need their defense to continue to play rough and outmuscle the Leaf forwards. Goaltender Manny Fernandez will also need to step up his play for the Penguins. The Leafs need to capitalize on poor speacial teams play by the Penguins, especially with them being among the leaders in penalty minutes received.
    The Prediction:
    Leafs in 5
    With the nods in experience and goaltending, the Leafs should make easy work of the Penguins, whom still have a good team but not likely enough offense to overcome Tomas Vokoun.

    4. Flyers vs. 5. Sabres
    Tale of the Tape:
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Record: 44 - 33 - 5 - 2
    Goals For: 295 (2nd in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 237 (10th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 17.9/84.2% (T 8th/17th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Simon Gagne - 104 points
    Buffalo Sabres
    Record: 40 - 37 - 5 - 6
    Goals For: 288 (4th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 252 (17th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 15.7/84.3% (T 14th/T 15th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Jaromir Jagr - 90 points
    Season Series: 1-1
    Sabres 1, Flyers 2 (OT)
    Flyers 4, Sabres 5
    Keys to Success:
    With two high powered offenses facing off, the key to this series for both teams is goaltending. Perennial Vezina candidate Martin Brodeur faces off against rookie Ryan Miller. In order for the Sabres to win, Miller needs not to be intimidated by Brodeur and play his game. Both teams made huge plays at the trade deadline, so a lot rides on this series.
    The Prediction:
    Flyers in 7
    While the defending champion Sabres still remain a threat and have played well down the stretch, the Flyers with the addition of defenseman Wade Redden and Brodeur have been near unstoppable and roll into the playoffs on a 6 game winning streak.

    THE WEST

    1. St. Louis vs. 8. Canucks
    Tale of the Tape:
    St. Louis Blues
    Record: 50 - 21 -11 - 3
    Goals For: 291 (3rd in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 200 (1st in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 20.5/87.3% (1st/5th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Joe Thornton - 98 points
    Vancouver Canucks
    Record: 41 - 36 - 5 - 5
    Goals For: 278 (5th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 246 (T 14th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 14.8/86.3% (17th/8th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Eric Staal - 82 points
    Season Series: 2-0 Blues
    Canucks 0, Blues 1
    Blues 2, Canucks 1 (OT)
    Keys to Success:
    The Blues are the high powered juggernaut of the HFNHL, while the Canucks barely scrapped into the HFNHL playoffs. This screams mismatch, but it isn't as much of one as you would think. Both teams boast very solid offenses with incredible scoring depth. The Canucks vastly improved themselves at the trade deadline and are a much better team than when those two seasonal games were played. The Canucks desperately need a good series from Manny Legace in order to win.
    The Prediction:
    Blues in 6
    It's a shame for the Canucks that they had to run into the Blues the first round, because if they were to match up with any other team in the league, I could see them potentially taking the series. The Blues are just too strong from top to bottom and should do away with the Canucks in a hard fought series.

    2. Stars vs. 7. Sharks
    Tale of the Tape:
    Dallas Stars
    Record: 47 - 28 -7 - 1
    Goals For: 269 (11th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 226 (7th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 14.4/87.5% (19th/4th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Bryan Mccabe - 92 points
    San Jose Sharks
    Record: 42 - 36 - 4 - 6
    Goals For: 273 (8th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 246 (T 14th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 20.1/85.1% (2nd/13th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Peter Forsberg - 92 points
    Season Series: 4-4
    Stars 3, Sharks 2
    Stars 5, Sharks 3
    Stars 0, Sharks 5
    Sharks 3, Stars 2
    Sharks 2, Stars 3
    Stars 1, Sharks 6
    Sharks 6, Stars 3
    Sharks 0, Stars 5
    Keys to Success:
    The Stars are a very well balanced team whom roll two excellent scoring lines and provide solid defense infront of a solid game named Miika Kipprusoff. The Sharks are a complete enigma. They are very inconsistent, but can be dominating when the situation calls. The Stars need to stay out of the penalty box, as the Sharks have one of the most lethal power plays in the league. The Sharks need to stay healthy, as starting goaltender Cristobel Huet and 4th defenseman Craig Rivet are both nursing injuries. Back up goaltender Chris Osgood needs to be up the test while Huet recovers.
    The Prediction:
    Sharks in 7
    Just call it a hunch, but the Sharks may be hungry. The Stars are the second most penalized team in the league and are matched up against one lethal power play which will punish them for being in the box. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer and Ed Jovonovski form one heck of a first pairing which should cause problems for Koivu, St Louis and Yashin. The Stars second unit of Horcoff, Roy and Ouellet are far too green to handle the responsibility of picking up the scoring slack. This will be one hard fought series...if the Sharks can find some enthusiasm to play.

    3. Avalanche vs. 6. Flames
    Tale of the Tape:
    Colorado Avalanche
    Record: 46 - 33 -3 - 2
    Goals For: 272 (9th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 249 (16th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 14.3/87.5% (21st/T 24th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Jason Allison - 86 points
    Calgary Flames
    Record: 42 - 36 - 4 - 6
    Goals For: 275 (7th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 241 (12th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 19.0/82.2% (5th/23rd in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Vaclav Prospal - 92 points
    Season Series: 6-2 Flames
    Avs 1 Flames 3
    Avs 2 Flames 7
    Flames 4 Avs 3
    Avs 4 Flames 7
    Flames 3 Avs 2
    Flames 1 Avs 2
    Avs 3 Flames 2
    Flames 8 Avs 4
    Keys to Success:
    Both teams are incredibly well balanced all the way through the line up and can roll three scoring lines. An obvious key to Flame victory is the continued strong play of goaltender Jason Labarbera who has been incredible this year. The Avalanche need a strong first playoff from rookie phenom Sidney Crosby and continued strong play from it's defense infront of goaltender Marc Denis.
    The Prediction:
    Flames in 6
    It's hard to argue with the results of the season series. Labarbera makes or breaks this series for the Flames. If he can continue his cinderella run, than perhaps he is the Jocelyn Thibault of this years playoffs and the Avs could be in trouble.

    4. Red Wings vs. 5. Ducks
    Tale of the Tape:
    Detroit Red Wings
    Record: 53 - 24 -5 - 1
    Goals For: 270 (10th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 220 (4th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 15.7/87.2% (T 14th/6th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Brendan Shanahan - 78 points
    Anaheim Ducks
    Record: 45 - 31 - 6 - 6
    Goals For: 258 (T 14th in HFNHL)
    Goals Against: 233 (9th in HFNHL)
    Power Play/Penalty Kill: 16.5/86.7% (13th/7th in HFNHL)
    Top Scorer: Bryan Smolinski - 73 points
    Season Series: 2-0 Wings
    Red Wings 3, Ducks 1
    Ducks 4, Red Wings 5
    Keys to Success:
    In terms of statistics, these two teams match up fairly strong. However the Wings are clearly the deeper team. For the Ducks to be able to put up a fight, they will need continued strong goaltending from veteran Sean Burke and perhaps a bit of prayer. The Wings need to just continue being the Wings, and not underestimate the Ducks.
    The Prediction:
    Wings in 4
    Despite this being a 4 and 5 matchup, I believe this to be the largest mismatch in this years playoffs. Lets not forget that the Wings had the second best record in the entire HFNHL, yet are seeded 4th because they failed to win their division. They roll 4 offensively dangerous lines and have the strength to physically punish you. This one should be a laugher on paper.

    Thats it, stay tuned for our second round coverage as the playoffs progress.
    Esteban Santour,
    Florida Post
     
  2. islanders

    islanders Registered User

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    The Prediction:
    Wings in 4

    Okay, one GM is the SIM GOD and the other GM is the Commissioner. I guess you prefer the SIM GOD. But I prefer the Commissioner because he will be running the draft lottery.

    My prediction, Ducks in 4:yo:
     
  3. 91

    91 Registered User

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    Well, I'm glad at least one person isn't throwing in the towel for my team just yet! lol
     
  4. Well done Brock. I love this stuff but please don't jinx me with sweep predictions.
    I'm honestly betting a 7 game series here and the Ducks have already had their slump to finish the season so given the 'streak effect' I honestly fear they may get hot against me :(

    Likewise the Blues are coming in red hot (8-0-2) and could see a reversal of fortunes.

    Is it possible the Wings and Blues might both get bumped in the first round?

    Other than that I agree with most of your assessments especially the Sharks over the Stars. When I assumed I was going to be facing the Stars I was trying to figure out how to solve my teams poor Powerplay performance to exploit all those Stars penalties. The Sharks are ideally suited for this matchup.
     
  5. Ville Isopaa

    Ville Isopaa Registered User

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    Good work Brock! But I have to say that both teams (CGY & COL) looked completely different during the season series, so it's not a very good base for a prediction of the playoff series. Compared to the first 5 games of that series, there are 6 new better forwards(Kozlov, Recchi, Allison, Marchant, PÃ¥hlsson and Begin) and 3 new defensemen (Schneider, Hatcher and Boynton) in the lineup for Colorado. Also Calgary has traded away their series winning goalie, Gerber.

    My prediction is Colorado in 6
     
  6. HFNHL Commish

    HFNHL Commish Registered User

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    On paper, most people had the Ducks finishing near the bottom of the conference.

    Fortunately, the Ducks don't believe in paper. They believe that paper is a myth being perpetuated by capitalist giants like Weyerhauser, Unisource, and Georgia Pacific that are bent on tearing down the trees that protect our wetlands.

    Ponds are wetlands. Ducks live in ponds. People who believe in paper hate ducks. Hate makes Baby Jesus cry. Therefore, Baby Jesus is on the Ducks' side. As for Esteban Santour... ;)

    How's that for applying the Transitive Property!
     
  7. LMAO. Matt if you were ever looking for a job change I think, based on that style of argument, you'd make an excellent Press Secretary defending Bush policies :silly:
     
  8. Brock

    Brock Registered User

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    Esteban Santour's grasp of the english language is not yet superior enough to understand this.

    The truth is that he writes all his articles in spanish and than uses babelfish to translate them to english.
     
  9. Brock

    Brock Registered User

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    Care to change your prediction now that your preference over the sim god has failed you!! :naughty:
     
  10. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    Ahmen! And to take this a step further, Detroit (aka "motor city") can clearly be linked to the excess of green house gases over the last few decades, so all the more reason to cheers on those poor little Ducks.

    If I you didn't hate the Wings before, here's another reason to add to the growing list.

    It's time for some other team to wear the black hat in the West.
     
  11. islanders

    islanders Registered User

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    Wow, I had no idea that SIM GOD has any influence on the draft picks.:wave:
     
  12. After all these years I must have done something right this year with the Wings to be feared enough as to be consdered the evil empire. I'll wear the black hat as a badge of honour :darth:
     
  13. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    Face the dark lord, I must .... :yoda:
     
  14. I'm thinking of no other series than the Ducks atm.

    BTW don't you have some long overdue Red Wing contract offers to review :p:
     
  15. Toronto_AGM_Adil

    Toronto_AGM_Adil Registered User

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    :lol:
     
  16. MatthewFlames

    MatthewFlames Registered User

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    Three home games. I'll take that.
















    Though I think I'll win the series :)
     
  17. islanders

    islanders Registered User

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    Nope, and we are already one game up and three to go:biglaugh:
     
  18. Brent Burns Beard

    Brent Burns Beard DontTouchMyDonskoi!

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    well, kinda close .... ;-)

    cough cough
     
  19. Toronto_AGM_Adil

    Toronto_AGM_Adil Registered User

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    Leafs still have a long way to go...
     
  20. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Credit where credit is due, though, you guys had a great year. Kudos! :handclap:
     
  21. islanders

    islanders Registered User

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    Well done Adil and Abbas. I know how excited both of you were before the season started and I know your team will be better next year with the arrival of J.Staal.:handclap:

    Josh, You had a great team this season but somehow it didn't 'gel" well. Hopefully you will rebound next season.:handclap:
     
  22. MatthewFlames

    MatthewFlames Registered User

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    Congrats dudes... It's been a pleasure dealing with the Leafs franchise since you guys have taken over... congrats on the amazing turnaround of the franchise... and good luck in the future ('cept against the Flames)...
     
  23. Toronto_AGM_Adil

    Toronto_AGM_Adil Registered User

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    It's been a pleasure dealing with you as well Matt. No offense Ville but I've really been pulling for the Flames considering the financial turn-around they've had to go through. I know this play-off revenue must mean alot for you Matt so I hope you make it all the way:handclap: ... plus if you get a cup you won't feel so bad when we beat you next year...

    BTW, did we ever decide to move to the new NHL draft positioning for play-off teams?
     
  24. Ville Isopaa

    Ville Isopaa Registered User

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    Hey, financial turn-around.. bah, that was nothing compared to the mess Colorado was when I took over, or well, after a failed playoff run (Game 7 OT loss against Detroit in the first round) running on an almost empty tank.. I'm still in the financial struggle, but luckily the endorsements save me even if playoff action would be cut short..

    Now, if those damn :flames could stop injuring my star players.. :nono:

    I might have to pick up a :freddie: (tough guy) or :pillow: (two) in the offseason and dress against these :flames next season to make :damnpc: (minced-meat) out of :rudolf: (Hejduk) and :spud: (Iginla)..
     
  25. MatthewFlames

    MatthewFlames Registered User

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    :D
     

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