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Barnaby: Crunch Time

Sunday, 05.13.2007 / 11:00 PM CT / News
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Barnaby: Crunch Time
By Matthew Barnaby

Conference Finals Mark the Best Competition our Sport has to Offer

There haven't been any real surprises so far this post-season. We all knew coming in that there was going to be a lot of tight hockey. There are a lot of good hockey teams, especially in the West. We all expected a lot of close games this post season, and we are getting just that. After we got knocked out, the teams that remained were not a surprise, and I expected them to still be in the hunt. It has been great hockey so far, and the level of competition has impressed me a great deal.

I think the entertainment value of this playoff has been great. Personally, I am entrenched in the Buffalo/Ottawa series. Buffalo finished first in the regular season and has been one of the most dominating teams this season. Harkening back to when I played for Buffalo, we used to play Ottawa in the playoffs all the time, and I am fixed on that series because of the players for Buffalo that I know. The series is very physical and that translates into a great, heartfelt battle.

I hope no one has overlooked Ottawa this season. Buffalo had such a stellar regular season that everyone was foreseeing them winning it all. But Ottawa is a great team. They had a terrible start to the year, but really came on after the first month and were great. They are explosive and have one of the best lines in hockey with Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Danny Heatley. Their goaltender, Ray Emery, is playing fantastic as well. The Senators just had a bad start to the season, but if they hadn't, they might have been the team with the Presidents' Trophy this year.

Moving to the Western Conference Finals, I have said all along that Anaheim is the best team that we in Dallas faced this year. They have a little bit of everything. They have guys that can score, guys that can check, and great special teams. They also may have the best two defensemen in the league right now with Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. They have a good goaltender in J.S. Giguere and they can play very tough. They can beat you in any style of game you want to play. If you want to play tough, they have all the tools to do that. If you want to play a skilled game, they can do that, too, without skipping a beat. I like Anaheim and think they will advance with Detroit losing Mathieu Schneider and I think that will be a problem for them as the series moves along.

For the Stanley Cup Finals, I think it is going to be Anaheim versus Ottawa. I had predicted Anaheim to win the West in six games, and for Ottawa to win the East in six games as well. The Detroit/Anaheim series may be the closer of the two Conference Finals. It is really hard to bet against Dominik Hasek, having played with him. He has the ability to steal games like he did in game one. But I am sticking with my original prediction of Anaheim against Ottawa for the Stanley Cup.

For the Stanley Cup champion, I am going to go with Anaheim. I really like that team. It is going to be a very tight series, and I expect it to go seven games. I am going with them because they showed me how tough a team they are to beat, and there was no question that they were the toughest team we played this year. Anaheim has had a lot of rest this post season due to how quickly they have beaten teams. However, Ottawa is up two games to nothing, and if they can move past Buffalo very quickly, then I think that will play a big role in the Cup Finals. I may have to reconsider depending on which team gets that much needed rest.

 

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
8 ANA 49 24 18 7 106 113 55
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 51 24 21 6 136 156 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 49 22 24 3 129 145 47
13 WPG 50 22 25 3 129 143 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 52 28 30 16 58
T. Seguin 52 27 28 12 55
J. Klingberg 52 8 35 17 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 52 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 52 10 13 2 23
A. Goligoski 52 3 20 20 23
M. Janmark 52 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 50 8 10 6 18
V. Nichushkin 49 6 12 8 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 9 5 .910 2.46
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .908 2.82
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