Sizing up Detroit’s Potential First Round Opponents

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by HFNHL Red Wings, May 4, 2007.

  1. With the Red Wings only having one game in 10 days between their loss to the Hawks and their final 3 game day flurry to end the season it’s time to look at some of their potential first round opponents.

    Unfortunately the Western Conference playoff match up picture is still so clouded that there are as many as 6 potential opponents for the Wings but we will only focus on the four most probable – Dallas, San Jose, Vancouver, and Columbus.

    Dallas Stars
    If the playoffs were to start today the four vs. five seed matchup would feature the Wings and Stars with the Stars having a 2-0 season record against the Wings.

    In the Stars the Wings face one the leagues best balanced defensive units that features the leagues top point producing dman (McCabe) and includes physical defensive stalwart Mathias Norstrom. Even if they get past the defence the Wings have to face Mikka Kiprusoff between the pipes.

    Up front the Stars forwards have been highly effective all season long with Horcoff, Koivu, Parise, Yashin, et. al and with the trade deadline addition of Martin St. Louis they have become a force.

    Dallas is balanced enough that there are no obvious areas for an opponent to exploit and have put up very similar team stats to that of the Wings.

    The deciding factor in any potential matchup between these two teams could be the powerplay. The Stars are amongst the league’s most penalized teams however they also have one of the best penalty killing records while the Wings powerplay units have underperformed. Solving these PP issues would be essential for the Wings to move on.

    San Jose Sharks
    With the closeness of the point races between the Wings and Blues and the Sharks and Stars, it is very possible a Sharks victory over the Wings on the last day of the regular season would set up this first round match up.

    Playing a high flying team like the Sharks, Detroit would likely have to focus on a defensive strategy to limit the number of scoring opportunities for San Jose’s top two lines.
    The Wings will also need to play a controlled game emotionally to limit their penalties as San Jose boasts the most lethal PP at over 20%

    The ‘X’ factor will be former Red Wing players. With 3 former Wings (Roberts, Osgood, and Huet) playing for the Sharks they might still hold lingering resentment towards GM Niece.

    Vancouver Canucks
    A team that is better than their position suggests and one the Wings do not take lightly. The Canucks put themselves in an early season hole that saw them near the bottom of the conference approaching the 20 game mark before shaking up their lines and making a series of trades. The end result of all those changes was one of the best records in the second half of the season.

    While Detroit won both match-ups against Vancouver this season they were close games and a series between these two teams could go to 6 or 7 games.

    The key to this series could be depth. The Wings will not be able to keep players like Markus Naslund and super rookie Eric Staal off the scoreboard and will instead look to counter with some balanced scoring from their four lines.

    Columbus Blue Jackets
    With the Blues finding their game again of late and the Jackets suddenly enduring a rash of injuries on defence this is rapidly looking like the least likely of the four potential matchups but one the Wings would prefer.

    The Wings had a 5-3 record against their division rivals this season with two of the those losses happening early in the season when Brodeur, Kozlov, and Shanahan were still there.

    In a series against the Jackets the Wings would likely look to play a more offensive game instead of their traditional balanced attack as the current Jacket’s lineup is best suited to grinding out low scoring one goal victories.
     
  2. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Insert head:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a2/Rotating_grinder.gif
     
  3. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

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    Interestingly enough, Naslund is no longer with the Canucks, nor is Staal a rookie this year. :P

    Ironically enough, I'd say depth could now be the strength of the Canucks as well. While Naslund's gone, Satan, Tucker, Turgeon and Scatchard have all been included since. Depth is a strength for the Canucks at this point I'd say.

    I do appreciate taking my club seriously though. :)
     
  4. Ville Isopaa

    Ville Isopaa Registered User

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    Is Dallas even a possible opponent at this point?
    Well, mathematically it might be possible for Detroit to face Dallas, this would have to happen:

    1) Anaheim would have to get 7 more points than Detroit in the final 4 games, leading to Detroit falling to 3rd in the west. - Detroit gets a maximum of 1 point in their 4 games and Anaheim wins their 4 games.

    2) Colorado would have to get 3 and San Jose would have to get 5 more points than Dallas in the last 3-4 games, so that Dallas falls to 6th in the west. - San Jose and Colorado wins the last 3-4 games and Dallas gets a maximum of 3 points in their final 3 games.
     
  5. Dryden

    Dryden Registered User

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    Detroit falls to 4th because of the division winners getting the top 3 spots.

    Now if Detroits opponents were smart they may take a peek at my lineup when I play Detroit...Good luck figuring it out
     
  6. Ville Isopaa

    Ville Isopaa Registered User

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    I thought that the divisional winners only get ranked last in the draft. Could someone clarify this, as it would mean that I'm almost safe as the winner of the North West.
     
  7. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Division winners secure the top three spots in each conference, throughout the playoffs. This is not a recent change; the only recent change was what you are referring to - the bit about draft order.

    You are indeed almost safe for the #3 seed. Which I'm sure will annoy either the Wings or Blues no end!
     
  8. Ville Isopaa

    Ville Isopaa Registered User

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    I guess I'll have to blaim the fact that I haven't seen the playoffs for such a long time that I forgot about this.. I guess it changes my 1st round opponent predictions a bit..
     
  9. Yeah, I was rushing the last two commentaries and was looking back at old boxscores when you still had Naslund.

    Anyway, the probable 1st round opponents are getting narrowed down with the Stars or your Canucks being the most likely two. The Blues are in the drivers seat when it comes to top spot atm so I guess I'll prepare for the Stars but will have to keep my scouts watching those Canucks as well :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2007
  10. SensGod

    SensGod Registered User

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    It sure is looking like a Wings vs. Stars series is lining up in the heavens.

    Oh man...this is going to probably be one of the more entertaining first round match up's. It's too bad someone will have to be eliminated. Well...eliminated to play golf in the Detroit region that is ;)
     
  11. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    The Wings still have a very good chance to be #1 in the West. Assuming they can get 2 out of 4 points in their other two games (quite likely), then a win versus the Blues and the President's Trophy is theirs. The Wings win the tie breaker with more wins. Similarly, if the Blues and Wings tie, but the Wings win the other two games, they again take the tie breaker.
     
  12. SensGod

    SensGod Registered User

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    After tonight's games...I might even have a chance to win my division...But the Ducks have to lose against the Hawks tomorrow. Oh well...we'll see what happens.
     
  13. SPG

    SPG Registered User

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    Looks like whoever wins the Wings/Blues game tonight gets the top spot.
     

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