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Conferece Finals Predictions

Well, well, well. Looks like my preseason Stanley Cup matchup just may happen. Not sure anyone remembers, or cares, but back in October, I picked Buffalo and Anaheim to make it to the finals.

Then about six weeks ago, I amended my picks to Ottawa over Detroit in six. (Anyone looking for lottery numbers? Email me privately.)

Whatever happens, these playoffs have been spectacular. Be sure to check out Post columnist John Feinstein's take on this very subject. It's a great read.

Okay, back to my predictions:


Sabres (1) vs. Senators (4)
Prediction: Sens in six.
Why: Ray Emery is going to have his hands full with Chris Drury, Thomas Vanek and Daniel Briere buzzing around his net. But Emery has probably been the best goalie in these playoffs. And I don't see that fact changing. I'm also starting to feel in my gut that this is the Sens' year.


Ducks (1) vs. Red Wings (2)
Prediction: Wings in seven.
Why: Wings goalie Dominik Hasek has been great (1.51 gaa), Pavel Datsuyk is finally scoring in the playoffs (5 goals, 6 assists) and Niklas Lidstrom is the game's best defenseman. Sure, the Ducks are pretty good in goal and on the blue line, too. And goalie JS Giguere scares me a bit. But the Wings have gotten better with each round, and I see no reason for that improvement to stop now.

As always, post your predictions below.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 8, 2007; 11:43 AM ET
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I predict just the opposite: Ducks will sweep and the Sabres will win in 7. But you're right though: the playoffs have been great.

Posted by: tokyo fan | May 8, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

In the East, I think the Sabres will take the Sens in 7 games. Despite the Sens being the only remaining team I really like and the team I really want to see win, I just think the Sabres have too much depth and talent throughout their lineup. It's going to be a good one and I expect a couple of games could be real shootouts.

In the West, I'm going to give the nod to Anaheim in 6 games. The most important issue to me is the Ducks are fairly healthy, and though something may be amiss with Selanne and Niedermayer that we're unaware of they will be in the lineup. The Wings will miss Schneider a whole lot, I think his absence changes the dynamic of the Wings PP. The Ducks have more depth than the Wings and despite Hasek being good lately I'm going to give the netminding nod to Giguere. I think there will be a few really low scoring games and can see a 0-0 game getting deep into OT once during the series.

Agree with the comments on a great playoff season, here's to a great semifinal and final series!

Posted by: Jay | May 8, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I strangely also had a gut feel about the Sens. It seems like the team people thought would win 1+ years earlier, and no one picks that year, is the one that surprises everyone.
I say Sens over Sabres in 6, Anaheim over Detroit in 7, and The Sens defeat Anaheim in 6 games for the Cup. You heard it here 57th!

Posted by: Mark Tucker | May 8, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The Sens and Anaheim would be my pics. I have a feeling that this might be the Sens year finally at least to make it to the finals.

Posted by: usiel | May 8, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

No offense Tarik, but didn't EVERYONE pick Buffalo and Anaheim for the finals at the beginning of the season? :)

Posted by: Sonia | May 8, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Sonia -- that was a popular pick. so what are you trying to say? Hahaha.

Posted by: Tarik | May 8, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of the Wings, so I'll be pulling for the Ducks. Not high on Buffalo either, so I will root for the Sens. If my master plan works, it'll be the Ducks/Sens with the Sens winning it in 7.

Posted by: cbstoner | May 8, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Sabres in 7
Ducks in 6

Sabres win the Cup in 6

Posted by: kenhockey | May 8, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Sens in 6

Ducks in 6

Another prediction:

Lindy Ruff will whine about something and get fined

Posted by: Cush | May 8, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Cush- that's really going out on a limb there with that last prediction... bold! :)

Posted by: Jay | May 8, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"I'm also starting to feel in my gut that this is the Sens' year."

Man, it must suck to be Brian Pothier.

The Sens were willing to spend $2.5M/yr on Joe Corvo when you left, they just weren't willing to spend $2.5M/yr on you.

So instead of thriving with moderate minutes on one of the best teams in the league, you flailed with heavy minutes on one of the worst teams in the league.

Was the money Pothier could squeeze out of the Caps but not the Sens enough to make losing the rare shot at a Stanley Cup ring worth it?

I guess he'll kick himself a little less hard if TEB's prediction doesn't pan out.

Posted by: McLean, VA | May 8, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: Sen's coach Bryan Murray will drown a reporter saying the phrase,
"Dainusss Zthubruss didn't deserve to break up our Ssshut out."

Posted by: Saturday Night's alright for El-Bashiring | May 8, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Slugs in 5

Ducks in 7

I think the ducks will win but im gonna root like heck for the wings so I dont have to stay up till 1am to watch the cup finals.

Posted by: livinit | May 8, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Definitely feeling the Sabres this year. Starting watching them after the Zubrus trade and I'm really impressed with the depth of the team.

I don't think we've seen the best they can play yet - if they start playing up to their potential I'm betting on them to win the series.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I went 50-50 in the last round, not as good as I hoped. i picked the Rangers because of my gut, which truly illustrated why I don't gamble. My gut often tells me to go all in. Flash and a flamboyant exit.
Moving along, the Sabres will thwart the Sens for exactly the same reasons I should have picked them over the Rangers: They are a hockey machine. They truly are an amazing team. The Sens look very good but the Sabres look heroic. Drury is a hero's hero. 8 secs left? No worries. Sabres in 6.

Anaheim has been rock solid all year. THey play great, they have speed skill and a dominant blueline and great netminding. Detroit got let off the hook by the Sharks (way to go, Old Yeller). Anaheim will fire far more shots on net, since Mike Grier won't be the one on the breakaways. Ducks in 6.

DiSCLAIMER: Baring injuries, of course. If Miller goes down then Buffalo is bounced, etc.

Posted by: MM | May 8, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Sens in 7
Ducks in 6

Posted by: CJ | May 8, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Good article by Feinstein is absolutely right. Should be required reading for Wilbon.......maybe he and Tony/Tony/Tony can talk about something besides the NBA on PTI. Oh well, I can dream.
I see Buffalo in six.
and Anaheim in 5, 6 at the most. Detroit got lucky to play a timid, uninspired, can't play with a lead team in San Jose. Detroit is not healthy and should find things much more difficult against a deep, fast, talented "Mighty" Ducks squad.

Posted by: DC in Tennessee | May 9, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Ottawa has played well and Buffalo has not played to there potential this post season. Both the Islanders and Rangers gave them fits in each game. It is Ottawa's time to reach the Finals. Ottawa in Six.

Red Wings have improved as the playoffs have gone on and are backed by Nicklas Lidstrom. I know Anahiem has Niedermeyer and Pronger, but something tells me the Red Wings return to the Finals. Wings in 7.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | May 9, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Hasek has been great. The Wings defense has been. It's not that hard in the playoffs for a goalie to have a 1.5 gaa when he only faces 15-20 shots every night. Hasek is horrible, and it amazes me that the players haven't figured him out by now. Fake a shot, and deke to the other side. He'll be on his face, so shoot high!

Posted by: jwh | May 10, 2007 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Anaheim over Detroit
Senators over Buffalo

Anaheim over Senators in the finals

Posted by: Graham | May 10, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

There's been some great games this year - witness Buffalo's tying goal with 7 seconds left as the Rangers were about to go up 3-2 - but overall, this hasn't been the greatest of playoff years just because there's only been ONE game 7! Game 7 in the hockey playoffs is the greatest of all sports occasions. Let's hope the last 3 series all go the limit. (With OTs!)

Hoping it's Sens over Wings - been waiting for this series for a decade!

Posted by: katzistan | May 10, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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