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Duffer Predicts Round 2

Thursday, 24.04.2003 / 8:46 AM / News
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Duffer Predicts Round 2
Heading into the second season of Leafs TV, anchor Brian Duff knows what's happening in Leafland on a daily basis. You can watch Brian hosting pre and postgame shows on Leafs TV for all the breaking news surrounding the Blue and White.

by Brian Duff
-- Leafs TV

Before we get into second round predictions I'd just like to thank my colleagues for making me look better than I actually was in Round 1.

Now, on with the show.

Ottawa vs. Philadelphia

And what a show it should be. Underachievers from the past collide. Big name players desparately trying to assert themselves as leaders. Goaltenders with confidence, both in themselves and from within the room. And of course, two exceptional coaches. Much like the Flyers first-round matchup, it's a shame that one of these teams will have to lose. I'm not sure it's accurate to say the Senators have more offensive depth anymore. Even with zeroes from Amonte and Handzus in the first round, Philly still managed a league-high 24 goals. Ottawa should have the edge on the blueline given that Eric Desjardins is unlikely to partake in the series, but after that, this one's a wash.

Prediction: Senators in 7

New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay

Rick Dudley must be proud ... oh, wait ... he's now with Florida. Well, I'm sure he's watching with interest from a distance. Dudley helped turn the Lightning around, with the acquisitions of Khabibulin, Prospal, and Boyle to name three (the latter two he stole from his current Panthers organization). Want one more ... how about Martin St. Louis? Dudley also hired John Tortorella who should be given a lot of the credit for the Vincent Lecavalier we're seeing today. All that said, they are up against the Devils, whom I believe are the odds on favourites to win it all. As an added bonus, the Devils get Sergei Brylin back for this series which simply means one more player that can score the game winning goal. When New Jersey gets out of the first round, others should beware.

Prediction: Devils in 6

Dallas vs. Anaheim

How 'bout them Ducks! As easy as it was to like Anaheim in the first round (albeit, I didn't expect them to sweep), this step may be a little tougher. If Giguere stays true to form, and keep in mind, he's been consistently good for more than 2 years now, goaltending won't be the issue of this series. It will however come down to scoring ability and with Turgeon and perhaps Guerin ready to bolster the attack, it's hard not to be star-struck. Anaheim can take comfort in the fact that their offensive stars, especially Petr Sykora, can still crank it up a notch. I see plenty of 3-2 games in this one.

Prediction: Stars in 6

Vancouver vs. Minnesota

How do you pick against either team that rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the first round? Vancouver is hot. The city is fired up, the big line is going, other lines are going, the defence is scoring as well, and Dan Cloutier has won a round. These are the Canucks that we saw over the course of the Calendar year 2002. In fact, they're even better. My only regret in round one is that I didn't pick the Wild. While believing in both Anaheim and Minnesota down the stretch, I opted only for the Ducks, and it cost me a chance at immortality ... okay, maybe bragging rights for another week. I believe Brian Burke meant it as a compliment when he said, "the Wild are not a hockey team, they are a cult." We've heard Brian go wacko (not Waco) before, but this time he was merely stressing that every Wild player listens to and believes in their coach, Jacques Lemaire. And he's right. And you can be sure that isn't going to change. The best series of Round 2 is this one.

Prediction: Vancouver in 7
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