The Playoff Picture

Welcome to the main forum of our site. Anything and everything to do with the Vancouver Canucks is dicussed and debated here.

Moderator: Referees

The Playoff Picture

Postby Meds » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:25 pm

No team has more than 16 games remaining in the regular season, and the Canuck's are down to their final 14. So I don't think it's too early for this thread to start and to begin looking at potential first round matchups. As it sits right now we'd get Phoenix, and that is actually a series I would like to avoid as Vancouver has always found ways to make those games closer than they need to be.

The top 3.

The Canucks are all but guaranteed to finish in the top 2 in the West, no team from the Northwest Division is going to catch them unless the Canucks completely tank and go less than 6-8 in the final 14.

The 3rd spot will end up going to a team from the Pacific Division, and it is looking more and more like it will be Dallas. The Stars are putting together some good games lately and have been getting some help from the officials. Not a surprise as the Stars are losing money hand over fist. That being said, it won't be a stretch for either Phoenix or San Jose to supplant them in that 3rd place finish as Phoenix has been playing some great team hockey of late and has a goalie in Mike Smith who can heat up and steal games. San Jose is a team that has some great pieces and can also go on a tear, the Shark's also currently have 2 games in hand on both Dallas and Phoenix.

The Central Division is where the real action is this season, and although Nashville has dropped off a bit in the race of late, they aren't out of it yet. However it looks like it will be a fight to the finish between Detroit and St. Louis. Who would have thought that the Blue's would be battling for to spot in the Conference back in early January? Of the two teams Detroit has the game in hand, but St. Louis has the easier schedule. The Blue's still have 3 games remaining against the lowly Blue Jackets, another against Anaheim, one with Tampa, and another against Carolina. That is 6 games that should be gimme's and an easy 10 points, all things being Murphy, chances are they will get 8 of the 12. Detroit only has 2 against Columbus, 1 with Carolina, and another against the Islander's. So that is 8 points that they should be able to take, and again, all things being unequal they will likely get 6 of the 8. So those are the bottom feeders remaining for both of those teams to go through. St. Louis then plays 7 games against teams that are either quite good or fighting for the final couple of playoff spots. Detroit has to go through 9 teams in that category. Then the final game that could possibly decide things is a head-to-head matchup between the Wing's and Blue's on April 4th. It will be an interesting finish, but I think that St. Louis has the overall edge, and certainly the youth to provide the energy for a final push in the late stages of the season.

Bottom 5.

Nashville probably has 5th place locked up with 4th place going to either Detroit or St. Louis. They are 6 points up on Chicago with a game in hand and, quite frankly, are a better team than the Blackhawk's right now. Chicago doesn't have the defense or goaltending to really push for higher than 6th now that they are 3 wins back.

So really that leaves the final 3 spots, and to be perfectly honest those are the one's that matter most to the Canuck's right now as that is who we would see in the first round, and possibly the semi-finals as well.

While I don't think Chicago will catch Nashville, I don't think they will surrender their current position to either of San Jose or Phoenix. They might be much depleted and much less threatening than they were a couple of years ago, but they still have some punch and can probably stay the course to finish the year. This puts them in an excellent place for the first round as they would draw the matchup against the Pacific Division champs, who will be the weakest of the top 3 teams and fairly easy for the Hawk's to matchup with simply by drawing on their playoff experience from the last 3 years, something that both Dallas and Phoenix cannot do, and something that Shark's should probably forget as they have always found ways to choke.

7th and 8th are a dog fight right now between 4 teams. San Jose, Phoenix, LA, and Colorado are all in the hunt with a spread of 2 points between the four of them. Calgary is 2 points back of Colorado, but I don't think they have what it takes to upset 3 of those 4 teams and sneak into 8th. The Shark's have been dropping like a stone of late, but I think they just have too much talent not to turn it around and fight for a playoff spot.

Of the 4 in the hunt the only team that I don't want as a first round matchup for Vancouver is LA. Quick is just too good of a goalie when he goes on a streak, and the Canucks just have too much difficulty with goaltenders that are standing on their heads. The King's also have more depth than the other potential opponents boast. They have some playoff experience in Carter and Richards, and while they gave up some defensive depth to acquire Carter, they still are a team that can do some damage and would give the Canuck's fits if Vancouver hit a dry spell, or even worse, when (not if) the officials put their whistles away and decide to help the American team along.

San Jose will never do anything in the playoffs while they are lead by Thornton and Marleau. Thornton is a choke artist who loses his composure and likely will be one of the best NHL players to never win anything (good quote Tort). Marleau simply doesn't want to lead, never has. He can play, but he would rather just fly under the radar. In net Niemi is only a problem when his horseshoe gets greasy, he doesn't track the puck well, he doesn't have great rebound control, and once he's been beaten early, often generally follows.

Colorado is too shallow, too young, and too inexperienced to be a real threat. The only way they pose a danger in the playoffs is if they pull the "too young to understand" playbook out and don't feel the pressure.

Phoenix is a bit of a dark horse this year. They play a very good team game, but they are only dangerous when Smith is on his game and keeping pucks out while channelling his inner Patrick Roy. They have some scorers, but ultimately not much depth and very little playoff experience.

On the outside chance that Calgary sneaks in I will say that the most they take from the Canuck's is a single game, and if they do it will be game 4 in Calgary in front of a desperate sea of red who manage to fuel Iginla and Kiprusoff into one final act of playoff heroics.

If the Canucks finish first then I am willing to bet that our second round matchup will be with Chicago. I don't see the Canucks screwing up against the Hawk's again. The experience and depth is now there, and Crawford won't be playing playoff hockey for the first time where he can just have fun and not feel the pressure, that series would go 6 games at most. The way the bottom 4 are shaping up this year in the West, a first place finish for the Canucks could mean only having to play 10-11 games before the real test in the conference final.
User avatar
Meds
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3340
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Madcombinepilot » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:12 pm

I would love to play Calgary in the first round, and Chicago in the second.

thats a TON of hockey hate :)
The 'Chain of Command' is the chain I am going to beat you with untill you understand I am in charge.
User avatar
Madcombinepilot
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 1954
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:54 am
Location: Saskatoon, Sk.

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Fred » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:02 pm

Watch out for Nashville and now they add

Paper work is being finalized that would see Alexander Radulov return to the NHL this season and the National Hockey League Players' Association said they would agree to bypass waivers for the Russian forward if he decides to return to the Nashville Predators.

The Predators drafted him 15th overall in 2004. After two seasons in the American Hockey League, he joined the NHL club and finished the 2006-07 campaign with 18 goals and 19 assists through 64 games. The following season, he scored 26 goals and added 32 assists in 81 games.

In 2008, the 25-year-old left to play for Salavat Yulayev in the KHL.

Radulov still owes the Predators another season on his entry-level contract. If he comes back for the remaining NHL schedule, it would satisfy the final season of his Predators' contract worth $980,000. He would then become a restricted free agent.

With 14 games remaining on their schedule, the Predators are fifth in the Western Conference with 87 points.
cheers
Fred
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3433
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:00 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Meds » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:55 am

If the Predators add Radulov back onto their Roster I don't think it will make much of a difference. He hasn't played with the team for a while and will only be an individual threat. He may even hurt team chemistry slightly.
User avatar
Meds
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3340
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Meds » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:08 am

A 4-way tie for 8th spot in the West after tonight. San Jose with the advantage of having the game(s) in hand.

Colorado at a serious disadvantage having played the most games and being the "benefactors" of 8 shootout wins compared to 3, 5, and 6, in the cases of their competition.

Of the 6 teams from 6th to 11th only LA worries me as a first round matchup for the Canucks.
User avatar
Meds
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3340
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby ESQ » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:13 am

I've been crossing my fingers all year, and I still think there's a chance Chicago will drop out and miss the playoffs. They are brutal on the road, and have 5/11 remaining games on the road. If San Jose and Phoenix win their games in hand, Chicago only has a 3 point cushion. Unfortunately, they have a pretty healthy lead on the ROW tie-breaker, which might determine the 8th spot in the end.

We'd be sitting pretty if Detroit-Nashville beat each other up, and St. Louis would have their hands full with Chicago. Hitchcock hasn't coached a team out of the 1st round since before the lockout. If its anybody but Chicago in the 6th seed, Dallas has a fine chance to get through the first round.
ESQ
CC 1st Team All-Star
 
Posts: 694
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:34 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Diehard1 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:13 am

I'm not too worried about the Preds adding Radulov - when's the last time a Russian was a big difference maker in the post-season other than Datsyuk? I guess Malkin a few years ago too - but they have a well deserved reputation for folding their tents when the going gets rough.

These next 4 or 5 games mean essentially nothing for the Nucks, so I'm not surprised they aren't playing well. I suspect they'll be ready to go for the last 5 games of the regular season when they're ramping up for the playoffs, and definitely once the playoffs start.
Diehard1
CC 1st Team All-Star
 
Posts: 568
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:48 am

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby dbr » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:30 pm

Diehard1 wrote:I'm not too worried about the Preds adding Radulov - when's the last time a Russian was a big difference maker in the post-season other than Datsyuk? I guess Malkin a few years ago too - but they have a well deserved reputation for folding their tents when the going gets rough.


Considering the very few Russians in the league' the fact that the core of two of the last four cup winners have boasted a very effective Russian is pretty remarkable.

That being said I wouldn't expect to see Radulov produce considerably under his "nhl equivalent" rate of production while he adapts his game to the small rinks and tight defenses here.
dbr
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 2516
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:37 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby dbr » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:30 am

It might all be moot, Dmitry Chesnokov reports that if Salavat releases Radulov from his contract to allow him to play for the Predators this season, they would also give up their (KHL, I guess) rights on him - and they have no plans of doing that.
dbr
CC Hall of Fan Member
 
Posts: 2516
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:37 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Zamboni Driver » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:06 pm

Diehard1 wrote:I'm not too worried about the Preds adding Radulov - when's the last time a Russian was a big difference maker in the post-season other than Datsyuk? I guess Malkin a few years ago too - but they have a well deserved reputation for folding their tents when the going gets rough.



Well, if we assume that the top two teams win the first round (Canucks & Blues) then 3 vs 6 would be Stars - Chicago and 4 vs 5 would be Detroit vs Nashville.

If the Stars win vs a slumping Hawks team, then it should be the #1 seed (St. Louis) that faces either the Wings or the Preds in round 2, which would be a break for the 'Nucks if we face the Stars in round 2.

I don't think the Flames, Avs or Sharks are going to get out of round 1....
User avatar
Zamboni Driver
CC 2nd Team All-Star
 
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:24 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Meds » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:11 am

Colorado and Calgary have closed the gap to only 11 and 12 points behind us, respectively. The Av's have 9 games (18 possible points) remaining, while the Flames have 11 games (22 possible points) remaining. I think it is safe to say that both of those teams are playing desperate enough right now to get at least half of those, Colorado has it in them to do better than that even. Calgary will get 13-14 of those.

For us to guarantee a division title and home ice advantage we need to win at least 5 more games, though we should be safe if we manage just 4 wins.....100 point division title, the NW is so weak this year. Usually it takes 100 points just to cement a playoff spot.
User avatar
Meds
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3340
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Meds » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:13 am

Zamboni Driver wrote:
Diehard1 wrote:I'm not too worried about the Preds adding Radulov - when's the last time a Russian was a big difference maker in the post-season other than Datsyuk? I guess Malkin a few years ago too - but they have a well deserved reputation for folding their tents when the going gets rough.



Well, if we assume that the top two teams win the first round (Canucks & Blues) then 3 vs 6 would be Stars - Chicago and 4 vs 5 would be Detroit vs Nashville.

If the Stars win vs a slumping Hawks team, then it should be the #1 seed (St. Louis) that faces either the Wings or the Preds in round 2, which would be a break for the 'Nucks if we face the Stars in round 2.


Because we handled them so easily in our last two meetings? :roll:

Zamboni Driver wrote:I don't think the Flames, Avs or Sharks are going to get out of round 1....


Safe bet seeing as only one of those teams is likely to even make the first round. :P
User avatar
Meds
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3340
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Mondi » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:30 am

Are we going to get out of the first round?

Lets talk about clinching a playoff spot. Then discuss our second or third round match-ups later.
User avatar
Mondi
CC 1st Team All-Star
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:02 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby SKYO » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:52 am

The way the team is playing I'd be worried about Chicago/Nashville.

Phoenix I think we can win that series in 6 or less.
User avatar
SKYO
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3465
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:34 pm

Re: The Playoff Picture

Postby Meds » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:43 pm

SKYO wrote:The way the team is playing I'd be worried about Chicago/Nashville.

Phoenix I think we can win that series in 6 or less.


Because they were such pushovers in our last two meetings?
User avatar
Meds
CC Legend
 
Posts: 3340
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Next

Return to Canucks Corner Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Per, Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests