Vulgar Statistics: Playoff Power Rankings: Conference Finals
I think you all know the drill by now. So far in the playoffs my power rankings have been 6-6 at picking playoff series, succeeding only in predicting the Tampa Bay upset in the second round. I feel that predicting that upset was worth at least a dozen victories so honestly I think I’m doing pretty well right now.
Once again Tampa Bay has the biggest gap between their opponent, a harbinger of a possible Cup Finals appearance perhaps? I still don’t know what to make of Boston. From what I saw in their opening round against Montreal they looked terrible and tried to lose the series at every conceivable moment only to come back and utterly destroy Philadelphia. Meanwhile Tampa Bay is the Dwayne Roloson show with special guest appearances by all those guys that have won the Cup before. It seems weird for a team to be successful while being outshot by nine shots a game on average.
Another thing that caught my eye was the curious fact that opponents in each conference have played the same number of games with Tampa Bay and Boston both going the 7-4 route and Vancouver and San Jose flip-flopping 6-7 game series finishes. Theoretically everyone should be similarly rested though it feels like San Jose might be mentally taxed after their long series with Detroit. Then again Vancouver rebounded alright after their Chicago debacle.
I love that Tampa Bay is proving me right. At the beginning of the playoffs I said that I felt Tampa Bay was so good that if they could just get an average performance out of Dwayne Roloson and their defense, they’d be primed for a long run. Well they’re getting an All-Star performance out of Roloson, and from the rest of their team too. That has to be frightening for Boston. As well as they played against Philadelphia I feel that their faltering special teams are too big an Achilles heel to overcome.
The Vancouver – San Jose series should be an interesting one as both teams have looked so good at times and mind numbingly bad at others. Both have had a series where they made things way harder on themselves than they ever should have been and could probably consider themselves lucky to still be around. The big question to me is which team’s star players will be more invisible, the Sedins, or Marleau and Thornton, and which plucky hustlers-with-talent can pick up the slack with Kesler, Burrows, and Torres for Vancouver, or Pavelski, Couture, and Clowe for San Jose.