Wow. I am extremely surprised. The most desired opponents for the Devils are the Canadiens and Bruins. OK, I can kind of see the reasoning behind the Habs, Marty always gets up for them, but Boston? OK, they can't score, but folks, they have last year's Vezina winner. Just because Tim Thomas isn't doing great right now, I think there at least 3 teams' goaltenders that I think the Devils should much prefer. More after the jump.
OK, here are the three teams I think would be better opponents for the Devils, and of course why:
Philadelphia - Ray Emery is out, Michael Leighton is out. Brian Boucher hasn't won a playoff game since 2000. They just lost Jeff Carter, who likely won't be back for the first round. I don't care that the Flyers have a better record over the Devils this season. A) it was a different team and B) everybody knows what you did against a team in the regular season means less than a hill of beans when it comes to the playoffs.
Atlanta - Similar reason, Johan Hedberg has won ONE playoff game since 2001. Light in the playoff experience lately as a starter. Secondly, Ilya Kovulchuck. Don't you think he'd be pretty pumped to play against Atlanta? The Thrashers are 24-23-8 against the east. Only the Rangers at 25-22-8 are nearly as bad.
Ottawa - Brian Elliott has never even PLAYED a playoff game. The Senators and Thrashers are the only playoff contending teams (realistically - discounting Florida and below), that have an over 10 goal differential to the negative, -14 for Ottawa and -16 for Atlanta. Outside of Daniel Alfredsson, they don't have a player even close to a point a game.
Let's get real here and hope for the opponents that the Devils *should* be able to handle better more than those that might be more entertaining, but be a tougher match-up.