Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nhl Matchups

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nhl Matchups

Article excerpt

WESTERN CONFERENCE Semifinals Canucks (18-18-12) vs. Blackhawks (24-19-5)

Season Series: Chicago 4-0 (2-0 in Chicago, 2-0 in Vancouver)

Upside: Pavel Bure rebounded from an indifferent regular season with a big series against the Bluesr. Bure led the Canucks with 12 pointsg.

Downside: The Canucks' already undermanned defense took a beating against the Blues, with Jeff Brown (thigh), Yevgeny Namestnikov (ankle) and Mark Wotton (eye) suffering injuries.

Inside: Injured Chicago star Jeremy Roenick met privately with Chris Chelios and Dirk Graham to put to rest rumors that he wanted to come back this season only to try to get a new contract.

Prediction: Roenick killed the Canucks this season with nine points in three games, and there's a chance he might be back in this series. If Roenick plays, Chicago wins. If not, they lose. Either way, it's going seven. Sharks (19-25-4) vs. Red Wings (33-11-4)

Season Series: Detroit 4-0 (2-0 in Detroit, 2-0 in San Jose)

Upside: How about those Sharks? Just like last season, they qualified for the playoffs on the last day then upset their first-round opponent, this time the Calgary Flames in seven games.

Downside: The Sharks upset Detroit in seven games in the first-round last season, but Detroit hasn't let them forget it. The Red Wings s outscored them 19-4 this season with two shutouts.

Inside: Oh, how Craig Janney and Kevin Miller would like to help the Sharks survive another round.

Prediction: San Jose might have done it last year, but the Red Wings won't let it happen again. Paul Coffey, Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, goalie Mike Vernon and coach Scotty Bowman will see to it that the Wings win in five. EASTERN CONFERENCE Semifinals Devils (22-18-8) vs. Penguins (29-16-3)

Season Series: Pittsburgh 1-0-2 (1-0 in Pittsburgh, 0-0-2 in New Jersey)

Upside: With brick wall Martin Brodeur in goal, New Jersey made quick work of the Boston Bruins in the first round, costing Boston coach Brian Sutter his job. …

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