|Angus' Playoff Pool Primer - Part 2 of 2|
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (3) New Jersey Devils vs. (8) Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina is deep up front, and the Devils are as well. This series also features two of the best goalies in the league (something I would not have said about Cam Ward last season). Ward has been very consistent all year for the Hurricanes, as in the past inconsistent play has been his one glaring weakness. Both teams also feature mobile defensive units that are deep one through six. This was the toughest series to call for me, as Brodeur showed last playoffs that there are some chinks in his armour.
From a fantasy perspective, most of the ‘Canes team has done it before. They also boast a trio of defensemen (Pitkanen, Corvo, and Babchuk) that would be fantastic pool picks if you think the Hurricanes are going to go anywhere.
Forwards: Even. Both teams have elite talent (Parise, Elias, Staal, Whitney), and great role players (Cullen, LaRose, Madden, Clarkson).
Defense: New Jersey. Paul Martin and Johnny “don’t call me David’ Oduya lead an unheralded defensive group that weathered the storm for most of the season without Brodeur.
Goaltending: New Jersey. Cam Ward has played like a Vezina finalist all season, but Marty is Marty.
Intangibles: New Jersey. Brodeur, Sutter, and Lamoriello. There is something both mystical and boring about the Devils (a very weird - but fitting - combination).
Match-up to Watch For:
Whichever team shuts down the others’ top forwards wins the series. I guess that seems like an obvious statement, but both teams are not going to be on the offensive. Something has to give.
The Verdict: Brodeur can’t bail the Devils out. Carolina in seven.