Friday, May 19, 2006
That's what you call a little false hubris, there. No way this ends in four unless one team gets absolutely every break possible.
I have seen everything from Ducks in five to Oil in five.
Some guy at SI, Scott Wraight, picks the Ducks in six although he likes the Spacek/Pronger pairing for the Oil as well as their scoring, led by Peca, Smyth and Torres.
Jeez, why do they even bother. Nice work, pal.
Anyhow, as has been my wont I'm picking the Oil in six. I'll leave the number crunching to others but here's the why.
The matchup - Man, past numbers favour the Oil but they mean nothing now. However they do tell us one thing and that is that the Oil match up well with the Ducks. The Ducks are fast. So are the Oil, unlike the Avs. The Ducks have balanced scoring. So do the Oil. These teams are almost mirror images in a lot of ways. I think that the advantages the Ducks had over their last two opponents are nullified here.
Goaltending - I know the Ducks' youngster has put up dandy numbers but so had Toskela. I'll take Roloson over the kid anyhow. I'm thinking the Oil get to him.
The Devils Principle - I think the Ducks are a really good team and they could take the Oil. I also think they've had an easier ride then the Oil so far. Beating a team with one guy who can score (and it still took them 7 games) and a one line team with shaky goaltending and Patrice Breezeby eating up significant minutes does not a juggernaut make. We'll see how the Ducks do against a fast, tough, experienced squad with depth up front and on the blueline.
The Oil are rolling and I think get to a better start then they did in the last series. Good thing too because if they spot the Ducks two games I don't think they come back.
The Ducks don't have the top end offensive talent that the Wings and Sharks do, except for Selanne and MacDonald. They'll see a lot of Pronger and Smith, I'd think.
The Ducks do have, like the Oil, a lot of guys who can get that big goal - Jeff Friesen being one. The Oil did do well shutting down the secondary scoring from the Sharks. Guys like Niemenen, Mark Smith and Scott Thornton counted one goal between them so hopefully the Oilers can do the same to Friesen, Marchant, Lupol and Getzlaf.
In a lot of ways its experience against youth - we'll see how the Ducks hold up playing some veteran guys who are going to battle tooth and nail for that shot at the Cup.
In the end, I see the Oil taking it in six. I don't know if the eight days off will hurt the Ducks tonight but I don't think it will help. (see Jersey/Avs) I think the Oilers have a little more juice offensively and that experience and plain old guts will carry the day in the end. Intangibles sometimes mean a whole lot of nothing but the Oil are playing together and they've got it going on.
Play hard. Play smart. Stay out of the box as much as possible.
Oil in 6.
Posted by Black Dog at 11:30 AM