Our first matchup of the Western Conference semifinals is tonight. Frenchy and I make our predictions.
From the Point
As much as it pains me to say anything nice about the Red Wings, well, I just won’t. They are, after all, the most hated team in Denver. Not even the Raiders are close anymore. Regardless, the Sharks could barely handle the Avalanche, so they frankly have zero chance against the Wings. The Wings have owned them in the regular season and that isn’t going to change here. The Wings beat the Sharks on the road this season and I think a split in San Jose is a sure thing and I’ll even bet that the Sharks drop ‘em both at home. I haven’t been impressed with Howard and Osgood is less impressive, but it doesn’t matter. They never see much rubber and they probably won’t see much from the inept first line of the Sharks. Heatley, Marleau and Thornton are sixth, seventh and eighth respectively in playoff points. None of them are positive in the plus/minus category. Dan Boyle has more points than those guys. Wow, that’s not even counting his own goal against Nabby. I can’t help it; I have to put that in there! They got away with it for one round against a very depleted Avs team, but the Wings will make them pay.
Wings in five.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the Wings. I’m still pretty pissed they beat the Coyotes out of the first round. But…..I do think they will be able to beat the Sharks. The Sharks did not look all that impressive to me in the first round. They played a beat up Avs team and it still wasn’t a blow out. Their first line was pretty much useless, unless you count giving the Avs a good chance of scoring useful. Things are just going to get harder for them now since the Wings have a much better defensive core than the Avs did. Plus, as long as the Wings have guys like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom and Rafalski playing their best hockey, they’re going to be hard to beat. And another thing the Wings have going for them, they win in the goalie category. Sure Howard is a rookie and he might fall apart at some point during the series due to pressure, he still has more skills than Nabokov. And to me, Nabokov isn’t the most reliable goalie out there, he’s had some weak showings lately, Olympics anyone?!?! The guy crumbles under pressure. I hate the Wings, don’t really like the Sharks either, but I have to go with the Wings.
Wings in six.