My 2007-08 playoffs bracket
Posted: Wednesday April 9, 2008 5:21PM; Updated: Thursday April 10, 2008 7:36PM
Montreal vs. Boston: The Canadiens swept the eight-game season series for two reasons: vastly superior team speed and poor Bruins goaltending. Watch for the Alexei Kovalev magic show. Canadiens in five.
Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa: You should be careful what you wish for, but the Penguins' capitulation in the last regular-season game against Philadelphia in order to get a series against the Senators should work just fine. Without the injured Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher, plus spotty goaltending, the Senators are in trouble. Penguins in five.
Washington vs. Philadelphia: The most-intriguing first-round series in the East offers Alex Ovechkin's playoff debut and surprisingly physical Washington against the NHL's most improved team. The Capitals are hot, but the Flyers had a slender edge in the season series. Capitals in seven.
New Jersey vs. New York: Although the Devils have home ice, the Rangers had a 7-0-1 advantage in the season series. Look for a string of low-scoring, one-goal and overtime games. Not pretty, but definitely long. Brought to you by No-Doz. Rangers in seven.
Detroit vs. Nashville: The Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy because a) they play a superb puck possession game; and b) they play in the Central Division. There is a certain comfort level for the Wings in staying in the division, but Nashville won three of the eight games and was outscored by just two goals. Red Wings in six.
San Jose vs. Calgary: The Sharks played the last six weeks of the season with a purpose, but they will be tested by a team that offers game-changers like Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. If the Sharks shut down the Iginla line, however, they should win, although the Flames will leave a mark. Sharks in seven.
Minnesota vs. Colorado: The Avalanche brought in the cavalry around the trade deadline -- Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and Ruslan Salei -- and now have the depth to make a playoff run. But the Wild has an unshackled Marian Gaborik and the smartest coach in hockey, Jacques Lemaire. Wild in seven.
Anaheim vs. Dallas: The Stars won the season series, 5-3, but stumbled down the stretch. J.S. Gigučre (back spasms permitting) is a superb playoff goalie and low-scoring Anaheim should grind out some wins as Scott Niedermayer takes over. Ducks in six.
Montreal vs. New York: The teams traded wild comebacks during the season, including a match in which the Canadiens erased a five-goal deficit to win 6-5 in overtime. If Stanley Cup experience comes into play, however, the Rangers have a shot against a team that has nine players who began the spring with none. Rangers in seven.
Pittsburgh vs. Washington: Two of a kind -- Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby -- trump an ace: Ovechkin. In the NHL's dream match-up, Pittsburgh, which has handled the Capitals with ease since Ovechkin and Crosby made their debuts almost three years ago, should continue its dominance. Penguins in six.
Detroit vs. Anaheim: The Red Wings are tougher than the team that lost to the Ducks in the conference final last year, but can they withstand the physical assault of the NHL's most disputatious club? Unless the defense-rich Ducks find some secondary scoring, the answer is yes. Red Wings in seven.
San Jose vs. Minnesota: Sharks defenseman Brian Campbell has been the missing link, literally, in San Jose. He has reconnected a stagnant group of forwards with his vision and passing. The Wild have depth, but fewer high-end weapons. Sharks in six.
Pittsburgh vs. New York: Since SI picked the Rangers to reach the final last October, I can't abandon them now. Henrik Lundqvist outplays Marc-André Fleury in a battle of netminders, assuming New York'S defense rises to the occasion. Watch blueliner Marc Staal here. Rangers in seven.
Detroit vs. San Jose: In a brilliant match of skill and will, the Sharks, SI's preseason pick, ride Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Ron Wilson's coaching bromides to victory over estimable Detroit. Sharks in six.
Stanley Cup Final
San Jose vs. New York: The Rangers' experience turns into merely age at this point against a younger, physically superior team. Sharks in five.
Conn Smythe: Joe Thornton