HabsWorld.net -- 

The 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to start and with the Montreal Canadiens failing to qualify, we turn our attention to a plethora of interesting matches in round one.

Ten of HabsWorld’s collaborators have looked over each series and offered their prediction on the outcome.

You may find all of the predictions below, broken down by each match-up. Also, the team and number of games most commonly selected by the group is highlighted as the "HabsWorld Pick".

Upon the completion of each round points will be assessed to those who have successfully chosen the right team and number of games. To keep things simple, a collaborator will receive a point for a correct team choice and a point for a correct choice in the number of games. The standings will be presented at the conclusion of every round along with the second round picks.


1. Buffalo vs. 8. NY Islanders

Eric B. – BUF in 5
A Concerned Fan – BUF in 6
Jason Brisebois – BUF in 5
Matt Gauthier – NYI in 7
Matt Godbout – BUF in 5
B. La Rose – BUF in 5
G. Logan – BUF in 5
Matthew Macaskill – BUF in 5
Jason Pardy – BUF in 5
Jonathan Rebelo – BUF in 5
Norman Szcyrek – BUF in 5

HabsWorld Pick: BUF in 5

Gauthier – [NYI in 7]: I expect many upsets in the first round. One of them could very well be the NY Islanders over the number one team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres. The Islanders made the best move at the deadline by acquiring Ryan Smyth, one of the best players in front of the net. They have an experienced defense led by Poti and Hill. DiPietro is still out, but his replacement, rookie Dubielewicz, did an amazing job and won the last four games of the season for the Islanders to push them on top of our Canadiens and the Leafs. He was also named the NHL’s star goalie for the last week of the season.

Godbout – [BUF in 5]: Buffalo will win this one in a wash; four maybe even five games without Rick DiPietro manning the crease. But why would this match-up be so interesting to watch? Aside from watching your players rack up valuable points for your fantasy pool team, this might be the last time you ever see Wade Dublewiscz… er…umm… Dubielewicz in the NHL. Yes, it will be that bad! Media and fellow spell checkers everywhere can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

2. New Jersey vs. 7. Tampa Bay

Eric B. – NJ in 6
Jason Brisebois – NJ in 6
A Concerned Fan – NJ in 6
Matt Gauthier – TB in 6
Matt Godbout – TB in 7
B. La Rose – NJ in 5
G. Logan – NJ in 6
Matthew Macaskill – NJ in 6
Jason Pardy – NJ in 6
Jonathan Rebelo – NJ in 6
Norman Szcyrek – NJ in 5

HabsWorld Pick: NJ in 6

Macaskill – [NJ in 6]: This is a classic battle of defense versus offense. Though, I have to go with Martin Brodeur over any of the three netminders Tampa may ice. If the Bolts do sneak by the Devils, it will be thanks to Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, who’s chemistry is as good as any two players in the league. It should be interesting to see if the Devils respond well to their new coach, Lou Lamoriello.

Szcyrek – [NJ in 5]: Normally, a good offence can overcome a good defence. However, I feel the Devils are too strong at their game, using a defensive-yet-speed-oriented style which is optimal for the playoffs. I have to give the edge to NJ in coaching, goal, defence and two-way play from their forwards. Expect the Lightning to win only one game in sunny Florida.

3. Atlanta vs. 6. NY Rangers

Eric B. – NYR in 7
Jason Brisebois – NYR in 6
A Concerned Fan – NYR in 5
Matt Gauthier – ATL in 7
Matt Godbout – NYR in 6
B. La Rose – NYR in 6
G. Logan – NYR in 7
Matthew Macaskill – NYR in 7
Jason Pardy – ATL in 6
Jonathan Rebelo – NYR in 6
Norman Szcyrek – NYR in 6

HabsWorld Pick: NYR in 6

Szcyrek – [NYR in 6]: The Rangers hold a slight edge over the Thrashers in this series. Both teams finished the regular season on a roll. Both have young but good goaltenders, but the Rangers have more veterans up front and should be able to win the majority of these games.

La Rose – [NYR in 6]: The Thrashers finally made the playoffs and have the talent to go far, but how much will inexperience from their key players hurt? Lehtonen and Kovalchuk (as well as several others) have never been to the dance, while guys like Hossa were chastized for performances on their old teams. Meanwhile, the Rangers haven’t forgotten last season’s ugly performance to New Jersey, and common sense says a guy like Shanahan won’t let it happen again. With the quality veterans the Rangers have, this will give them the edge, and Thrashers GM Don Waddell will have to revise his playoff guarantee for next season.

4. Ottawa vs. 5. Pittsburgh

Eric B. – PIT in 6
Jason Brisebois – OTT in 7
A Concerned Fan – OTT in 5
Matt Gauthier – OTT in 7
Matt Godbout – OTT in 6
B. La Rose – PIT in 7
G. Logan – PIT in 6
Matthew Macaskill – OTT in 6
Jason Pardy – OTT in 7
Jonathan Rebelo – OTT in 6
Norman Szcyrek – PIT in 7

HabsWorld Pick: OTT in 7

Eric B. – [PIT in 6]: This ought to be one of the first round’s best match-ups. On the one hand, the Penguins ooze offensive talent and a young, talented goalie. The question for the Pens is whether or not they can win in the playoffs with such a young, inexperienced team. On the other hand are the Senators, who have a history of flopping in the playoffs. Will their experience finally pay off against a young team? Look for goaltending to play a big role in this series. The Pens’ Marc-Andre Fluery has never seen NHL playoff action, and the Sens’ Ray Emery was inconsistent in his first playoff run last year.

Rebelo – [OTT in 6]: I picked the Sens because of their playoff experience and their depth in retrospect to the Penguins. It does not hurt the Sens to have Anton Volchenkov, one of the league’s top shot blockers, on the back end. He is without a doubt one of the best defensive defenseman in the league.


1. Detroit vs. 8. Calgary

Eric B. – DET in 6
Jason Brisebois – CGY in 7
A Concerned Fan – DET in 5
Matt Gauthier – CGY in 7
Matt Godbout – DET in 6
B. La Rose – DET in 5
G. Logan – CGY in 7
Matthew Macaskill – DET in 6
Jason Pardy – DET in 6
Jonathan Rebelo – CGY in 6
Norman Szcyrek – CGY in 7

HabsWorld Pick: DET or CGY in 7

Brisebois – [CGY in 7]: In a rematch of the 2004 playoffs, Calgray is looking to pull an Edmonton and knock off the number one team, which is once again Detroit. It will be another goaltender duel as the seasoned Dominik Hasek will take on a red-hot Mikka Kiprusoff. With Calgary finally winning on the road, Detroit is facing a lot more than an eighth seed would suggest.

Logan – [CGY in 7]: I’m loving the Calgary-Detroit series. I honestly feel they’re the two best teams in the Western conference (sorry SJ and Nashville). The goaltending battle will be the highlight of the year with the cagey, aged Hasek attempting to hold his own against one of the best playoff goalies in recent memory, Miika Kiprusoff himself.

On defense, you have the all-star Lidstrom and PP QB Schneider taking on the solid trio of Phaneuf, Hamrlik and B-Rad Stuart. The series will come down to who can keep the big forwards out of the crease.

Many are tipping this to come down to one-goal games, a specialty for both teams, which means offense will play a huge part in it. The additions of Calder and Bertuzzi to the top two lines will do wonders for their offense, taking the weight off Datsyuk. But Calgary’s offensive corps has been together all season, if not longer, and it may come down to chemistry.

2. Anaheim vs. 7. Minnesota

Eric B. – MIN in 7
Jason Brisebois – ANA in 7
A Concerned Fan – ANA in 5
Matt Gauthier – ANA in 5
Matt Godbout – ANA in 5
B. La Rose – ANA in 6
G. Logan – ANA in 6
Matthew Macaskill – ANA in 4
Jason Pardy – ANA in 6
Jonathan Rebelo – MIN in 7
Norman Szcyrek – ANA in 6

HabsWorld Pick: ANA in 6

Rebelo – [MIN in 7]: Minnesota is not a true number seven seed, as they actually had the same number of wins as the Ducks this season. Also Despite playing just 48 games this season, Marian Gaborik scored 30 goals and picked up 27 assists.

Macaskill – [ANA in 4]: Alright, nothing against the Wild here. Minnesota is a capable team, but the Ducks are here to destroy everyone in their way. Also, I felt obligated to predict a sweep somewhere; the Ducks are my logical choice. Actually, I’m beginning to think that I’m routing for the underdog here with so many people jumping on the Jacques Lemaire bandwagon.

3. Vancouver vs. 6. Dallas

Eric B. – VAN in 5
Jason Brisebois – VAN in 6
A Concerned Fan – VAN in 7
Matt Gauthier – VAN in 6
Matt Godbout – DAL in 6
B. La Rose – VAN in 7
G. Logan – VAN in 7
Matthew Macaskill – DAL in 7
Jason Pardy – VAN in 7
Jonathan Rebelo – VAN in 5
Norman Szcyrek – VAN in 7

HabsWorld Pick: VAN in 7

La Rose – [VAN in 7]: Most people may think this may turn out to be one of the more boring series, but the intrigue is certainly there, particularly between the pipes. On one end, you have Roberto Luongo, who’s never been playoff-tested, while across the ice, there’s Marty Turco, who’s struggled to put it lightly in playoff competition. Dallas coach Dave Tippett will also be on the hot seat, as if Dallas goes down early again, so will he. Ultimately, home ice advantage will help the Nucks prevail over the Stars and in doing so, sending Tippett to the unemployment office.

Brisebois – [VAN in 6]: With all eyes on the Ottawa series, I have decided to look towards the West. Many questions will be answered, mostly questions coming from between the pipes. Can Roberto Luongo handle the pressure in his first playoff appearance? Will Marty Turco choke again? I look forward to finding these answers in the upcoming weeks.

4. Nashville vs. 5. San Jose

Eric B. – NSH in 6
Jason Brisebois – NSH in 7
A Concerned Fan – NSH in 7
Matt Gauthier – NSH in 7
Matt Godbout – SJ in 7
B. La Rose – SJ in 6
G. Logan – SJ in 6
Matthew Macaskill – SJ in 5
Jason Pardy – SJ in 7
Jonathan Rebelo – NSH in 7
Norman Szcyrek -SJ in 6

HabsWorld Pick: SJ in 6

Eric B. – [NSH in 6]: Another match up that could prove very interesting. San Jose finished the season strong, but both of their goalies have been a bit banged up. Jonathan Cheechoo finished the season on a torrid goal scoring streak. A big key for the Sharks will be Joe Thornton, who showed signs of putting his playoff struggles behind him last year. Nashville has a little history on their side, as the last two Cup winners have come from non-traditional hockey cities. The Preds made some big changes for the Cup drive, adding players such as superstar Peter Forsberg. If Forsberg can stay healthy, this should be a very dangerous playoff team.

Macaskill – [SJ in 5]: Forsberg who? Like Turco, it’s Thornton’s turn to prove something in the post-season. Also, I’m a Craig Rivet homer and wish him all the success possible. Bill Guerin will out-stage Forsberg in my opinion. While the Sharks boast a lot of big forwards and will do their best to wear down the Predators with their physical game, it will be important for Nashville to utilize their speed game against the sharks. Also, considering both teams have two goaltenders capable of being starters in the NHL, don’t be surprised if either backup Chris Mason (NSH) or Vesa Toskala (SJ) get a call in nets if this series goes the distance.