2006-2007 Playoff Match-ups: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Jeff Angus



With the top eight seeds set in the Western Conference, we are finally able to breakdown the match-ups from top to bottom.  Every series is shaping up to be absolutely fantastic hockey, and I wouldn’t call any team an underdog (it has been a long time since you could say that). Without further ado…



(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Calgary Flames

Zetterberg still isn’t healthy, and he is the key cog for the Wings attack.  Datsyuk will step it up in his absence, shedding his reputation as a playoff choker.  Jarome Iginla was huge for the Flames in 2004, but can the Flames still play the punishing, physical style with players like Huselius and Tanguay?  The key question mark is Zetterberg.  Without him, the Wings will be in tough to generate enough scoring chances to beat Kiprusoff.
Edge: Calgary
Dion Phaneuf has been going through a bit of a sophomore struggle this season, and Regehr is not nearly as effective in the new NHL.  Newly acquired Brad Stuart has adjusted well to Calgary, displaying a punishing physical style that has endeared him to Calgary fans.  On the other side, the Wings are led by one of the greatest ever in Nick Lidstrom.  Matt Schneider and Dany Markov add depth behind him.  Detroit is one of the stingiest teams in the league, as they play a very smart positional game in the defensive end.
Edge: Detroit

Miikka Kiprusoff is back in all-world form just in time for the playoffs.  He is playoff tested, and can steal a game or two for the Flames in this series.  Dominik Hasek is also playoff proven, but he is getting up there in age and consistency has been a bit of an issue this season.
Edge: Calgary

This isn’t even close in my mind.  Mike Babcock is one of the smartest, most tactical coaches in the game right now, and Jim Playfair has had trouble getting the most out of the talented Flames lineup.
Edge: Detroit in a big way

Both teams have solid role players with players like Yelle and Conroy on Calgary, and Draper and Maltby on Detroit.  Kyle Calder has added a physical dimension to the Wings since being acquired as well.  Both teams are experienced and deep.  
Edge: Even

It all comes down to Zetterberg in this series.  If he can return and play a key role for the Wings up front, they take it.  If not, I don’t know if Datsyuk and Bertuzzi are enough to beat Kiprusoff and the physical Flames defense.
Detroit  in SEVEN.

(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Minnesota Wild

Marian Gaborik is at the moment the most dangerous player in the NHL.  Behind him, the Wild have a ton of depth with the likes of Demitra, Rolston, and Bouchard.  Anaheim also has a superstar forward in Teemu Selanne, and similar depth.  The Ducks are much more physical up front, but the Wild can out-skate any team in the West.
Edge: Even

The Wild allowed the least goals against in the entire league this season, but the playoffs are a different game.  No team can even come close to matching lines against Niedermayer and/or Pronger.  The Wild have a solid defensive group, but Anaheim has two of top three in the