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Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: Stanley Cup Playoffs
If you ask me, a ‘Cinderella’ in the Stanley Cup Playoffs can only be a team seeded 7th or 8th. The most recent ones to make a serious run have been Edmonton (’06) and Anaheim (’03). Let’s see if the slipper fits one of the four teams seeded in this range…
#7 Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers had to sneak into the top eight on the last day of the season… so I can definitely see them riding that momentum through their first round series against rival New Jersey. Another thing going for them is that they’ve had the Devils’ number all season. They have a good enough core of forwards with the likes of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards (among others). The blue-line is also talented, led by veteran Chris Pronger. But to advance to the second or third round, goalie Brian Boucher will have to play well above his level. The ‘D’ will have to stand tall in front of him and help him out. They could surprise some people, but I have little faith in Boucher.
Does the slipper fit?? Maybe
#8 Montreal Canadiens
The Habs really shot themselves in the foot last week. They had a few chances to clinch a playoff spot and take the six seed in the East. But they had to clinch their playoff berth via a shootout loss to Toronto in Game 82, after a pair of losses to non-playoff teams. Jaroslav Halak is a solid goaltender who can be great at times. But is he good enough to take down the Capitals?? We’ll see. Montreal has a solid team, which could have matched up well versus Buffalo if they had won a couple more games. That’s not the case, and they have a very tough task trying to defeat the odds-on favorite to represent the conference in the finals. Given their matchup, I don’t like the Habs’ chances to advance.
Does the slipper fit?? No
#7 Nashville Predators
This is a very interesting Predators team, one that can do some damage if Pekka Rinne plays like he has since the Olympic break. Barry Trotz’s club has been in playoff-mode since the break, and hasn’t lost two games in a row since early March. They’ve bounced back from every loss with a solid 60-minute effort. There’s nothing real flashy about the Preds, but they get it done with hard work and discipline. For them to pull off an upset over Chicago, they’ll obviously have to exorcise their playoff demons away from home, where they are 0-10 in four postseason trips. With that being said, if you’re discounting Nashville’s ability to at least give the ‘Hawks a series (and maybe win it), you’re making a mistake. This is a well-balanced hockey team that has great depth on the back end. Out of these four clubs, the Preds have the best chance to make some noise.
Does the slipper fit?? Yes
#8 Colorado Avalanche
Joe Sacco and company have had a tremendous season, compiling 95 points when the pundits expected that number to be closer to 65. But let’s not kid ourselves here. The Avalanche are very young team without much experience. It is difficult to win in the playoffs when you have rookies up and down your roster. Youngsters Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, and Brandon Yip could be relied on too much to produce. Plus, the team didn't play well down the stretch, and Craig Anderson hit a wall as the season wore on. The Avs are going to be a strong team once they jell everything together, but to beat a hungry Sharks team in round one is too tough of a feat for them – unless the Sharks overlook Colorado. Their time will come, but now is not that time.
Does the slipper fit?? No
at 4:55 PM
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