I caught the second half of the Canucks-Sharks game today, and was pleased to watch the local team clinch the division title. I was less pleased to hear that Kevin Bieksa left the rink in a cast–no details on that yet.
This means that the Canucks will play the Dallas Stars in the first round of the playoffs. There are no soft teams in the Western Conference, and this looks like a very even match-up. Here’s a bunch of head-to-head stats.
The teams have nearly identical points on the season, and goals for and against. The Stars have the better powerplay, but the Canucks have a superior penalty kill. The goaltending match-up is pretty interesting. Luongo has been among the three best goalies during the regular season, but has never played a playoff game. The Stars’ Marty Turco has more experience, but has been downright miserable in the last couple of post-seasons. The Stars’ scoring is more evenly spread out than the Canucks, so that’s a small Dallas advantage.
I take back my earlier remarks about the Canucks not looking all that promising. They have a lot going for them–inertia, gritty play, great penalty-killing and wicked goaltending. Their one weakness is scoring depth. If one of the Sedins goes down, they’re in serious trouble.
As for the playoffs, I’ll post some predictions before the second season gets underway.