|Eastern Conference Playoff Primer|
With the end of the regular season upon us, it’s come down to the final games to determine the playoff match-ups in the first round of the playoffs.
Let’s have a look at how some players on each Eastern Conference team in contention have performed against the playoff bound teams during the regular season:
I don’t think anyone wants to face the Pens in the opening round of the playoffs. Boasting a plethora of offensive talents named Crosby, Malkin, Hossa and Gonchar, the offence promises to be more than a handful for any team unfortunate enough to face in the opening round. Pittsburgh split their season series against Montreal, Carolina, New Jersey and Boston. Ottawa was 3-1 versus Pittsburgh this season, but with the Sens recent injury woes, the Pens might benefit from this match-up. Here’s how the Pens fared during the regular season against potential playoff opponents (GP-Pts):
After starting out 1-5 against the Senators, the Canadiens have won two straight and wouldn’t mind a first round match-up against Ottawa. Montreal won all eight matches against Boston and all four against Philadelphia this year. The Rangers were 3-1 versus Montreal in their season series. Saku Koivu is a questionable playoff pick due to his foot injury.
It’s too bad one of either Washington or Carolina will not make the post season. Washington can win the South East Division with one point. Carolina will win the division only if Washington loses in regulation tonight against Florida. The Caps have won ten of their last eleven games.
Matt Bradley has three points in four games versus Boston and two points in four games against New Jersey.
New Jersey and Philadelphia are both 3-1 versus the Hurricanes this season. Justin Williams is listed as out indefinitely, be sure to check his injury status before drafting him. Do not draft Rod Brind’Amour as he will not make a miraculous recovery and play in these playoffs. If Washington doesn’t earn a point tonight against the Panthers, I would not rule out Carolina as they have overcome every obstacle so far this season.
The Devils are 6-2 against the Flyers so far this season, but their likely first round opponent is the Rangers. New Jersey hasn’t won in seven tries against the Blueshirts this season.
Jay Pandolfo has three points in three games against Carolina and two points in four games versus Philadelphia, but if they play any other teams, don’t take him. Patrik Elias and Johnny Oduya of all people really enjoy playing against Philadelphia with nine points against the Flyers.
New York Rangers
With his history of clutch performances, one guy to keep in mind on draft day is Chris Drury. Both Drury and former Devil Scott Gomez enjoy playing against New Jersey.
A dark-horse pick if the Rangers face the Devils is Nigel Dawes. He’s scored four goals in six games against New Jersey. Jaromir Jagr isn’t a great pick if he faces the Devils. This season he has recorded only two points in seven games. I guess Brodeur has his number.
If Simon Gagne has recovered from his concussion, he could be a decent last round pick up. The Flyers don’t want to face New Jersey in the playoffs. Philadelphia won their first game against the Devils and then proceeded to lose the next six games before Friday night’s 3-0 shutout victory. Montreal has won all four match-ups against Philadelphia this season.
Patrice Bergeron would be an interesting comeback story for the Bruins. From a fantasy perspective, Zdeno Chara has had a very productive season. Rookie Milan Lucic likes playing against Ottawa. Wideman is a good choice against Montreal, but the Bruins haven’t been able to beat the Canadiens in eight tries this season. Don’t take Chuck Kobasew, he’s out up to two months with a fractured tibia.
Secretly, this is the team everyone wants to face in the first round. With the recent injuries to Alfredsson and Fisher coupled with inconsistent goaltending, the Sens look to be an easy opponent as they come in the East.
If Ottawa faces Carolina in the first round, of course Spezza and Heatley will light it up, but strangely Alfredsson has only a single point in four games this season.
If Ottawa faces Montreal, it might be worth it to take Spezza or Heatley based on their regular season mauling of the Canadiens. Both Alfredsson and Spezza had 15 points and Heatley has 12 points in seven games against Montreal. Heatley in particular like playing the Bruins with seven points in seven games.
Dean McAmmond has three points in four games against the Caps and two points in three Carolina games. Chris Neil has three points in seven games against Montreal and two points in four games versus Washington. Schubert has two points in four games against both Pittsburgh and New Jersey. Heatley has six goals in four games versus the Penguins.