Eastern conference semifinals.
Tonight the 2007 NHL playoffs continues with the presentation of the conference semifinals. As I did for the first round, here are my picks for this second round.
Buffalo Sabres (1) - New-York Rangers (6)
The Buffalo Sabres finished in 1st place of the Eastern conference this season and will benefit of the home ice advantage during the whole duration of the 2007 playoffs. The Sabres defeated the New-York Islanders in 5 games in the first round.
For Buffalo, the short first round series should keep them fresh for this conference semifinals. Chris Drury has scored 4 goals and 1 assist for 5 points this far in the playoffs. Daniel Briere totals 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points also. Danius Zubrus has 5 assists.
The New-York Rangers finished in 6th place during the regular season and defeated the Atlanta Trashers in 4 quick games during the first round. On the attack side, the Rangers are in good shape. Michael Nylander has scored 4 goals and has 4 assists for 8 points in only four games. Jaromir Jagr has 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points. Sean Avery 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points.
This series will be an exciting one to watch as Sean Avery promised the Buffalo players yesterday that he will be very physical with them and will hurt them all series long. Both teams have decent offensive power with a small advantage to the Sabres on the defense side of the game. This series will be intense and should give high intensity games. Expect this series to go past 5 games.
I predict a Buffalo Sabres victory in 6 games.
New-Jersey Devils (2) - Ottawa Senators (4)
The New-Jersey Devils finished 2nd in the conference then eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning in 6 games during the first round series. The succes of this franchise relies on their defense and goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Patrick Elias with 1 goal and 6 assists for 7 points, Zach Parise with 6 goals and Brian Gionta with 5 goals and 1 assist for 6 points are the main offensive weapons of the Devils.
The Ottawa Senators finished 4th in the Eastern conference and eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in 5 games during the first round. On the attack side, Daniel Alfredsson with 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points. Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza with 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points will be the main weapons for the Senators.
Both teams will give a good fight in this series. I do not expect a quick 4 or 5 games series in this one. The home ice advantage could help the Devils down the line. But I think that Ottawa's attack will do enough to win the series.
The Ottawa Senators should win the series in 6 games.