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Dave Strader's Playoff Blog

Monday, 04.09.2007 / 11:35 AM / News
Florida Panthers
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Dave Strader\'s Playoff Blog
Hello once again Panther fans!

Let me begin my first playoff blog by thanking all of you fans who have been so supportive of our efforts on FSN Florida. While this season didn’t produce the playoff position that we had all hoped for, I think the signs shown by the team and the organization in the second half of this season point to an exciting and news filled summer.

For sixteen teams, the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup begins this week and I’ll be on the road covering several series. I’ve been very fortunate to work for NBC and Versus in addition to my duties covering the Florida Panthers. In round one of the playoffs, I will be covering games for both networks….here’s a little preview of what lies ahead for me this week.

I begin my playoff work on Versus with games one and two of the Vancouver Canucks-Dallas Stars series on Wednesday and Friday. Of course, Wednesday night will be the first career playoff game for Roberto Luongo. What’s ironic about this assignment is that my partner will be another former Panthers goaltender…John Vanbiesbrouck! Beezer has been doing some TV work for HD Net and Versus during the season, but this is the first time we’ve worked together. John will add some great insight to the pressures that goalies face in the playoffs and no current NHL goalie knows more about that than the guy Luongo will face at the other end of the ice, Marty Turco. Turco has turned in some of the best regular season performances in recent NHL history, but he has failed to play up to that level in post-season action. In four playoff years, Turco has lost three of four playoff series with an overall record of 8 wins and 14 losses. His goals against average is also about a half a goal higher in the playoffs than it is during the regular season.

This has all the makings of a low scoring, grind-it-out type of series. I’m giving the edge to the Canucks because this one could go to a game seven at GM Place.

After Friday’s game in Vancouver, I’m catching a red-eye back to the east coast for a Saturday afternoon match up on NBC…the Thrashers hosting the Rangers in game two of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Atlanta is appearing in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and GM Don Waddell made some of the boldest moves at the trade deadline (Keith Tkachuk, Alexei Zhitnik, Pascal Dupuis and Eric Belanger). The Rangers were boosted by the acquisition of Sean Avery and the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist down the stretch. This is one series where I can see the lower seeded team coming out on top. I’m going with the Rangers in six games

I’ll have a day to recover in Atlanta before heading back to the west coast and picking up games three and four of the San Jose-Nashville series next Monday and Wednesday on Versus. This match up of the four and five seeds should be a dandy. Like the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series in the East, a Stanley Cup contender will be eliminated in the very first round. I picked San Jose to go to the Stanley Cup Final during our last FSN telecast in Carolina, so I’m going with the Sharks in this one….in six hard fought games. Joe Thornton against Peter Forsberg…Jonathan Cheechoo up against Paul Kariya…and both teams with solid goaltending tandems! This is a series you don’t want to miss.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back with an update this weekend.

Dave Strader




1 TBL 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 48 32 13 3 128 108 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 49 25 14 10 144 125 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31


N. Bjugstad 47 16 13 -2 29
A. Ekblad 47 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 44 9 17 0 26
J. Jokinen 46 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 45 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 36 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 36 5 10 -6 15
B. Campbell 47 3 12 0 15
D. Kulikov 42 1 13 -4 14
R. Luongo 18 12 8 .920 2.41
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96 is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.