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 Survey: Who will win the Stanley Cup?

The quest for the Stanley Cup may be decided in the West.

NHL Section

  Eastern Logo Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

No. 2 Ottawa Senators (44-23-15, 103 points) vs.
No. 7 Buffalo Sabres (37-28-17, 91 points)
1998-1999 Series: Ottawa, 1-0-4
Ottawa leading scorer: Alexei Yashin (44 goals, 50 assists, 94 points)
Ottawa goaltenders: Ron Tugnutt (22-10-8, 1.79 goals against average), Damian Rhodes (22-13-7, 2.44 GAA)
Buffalo leading scorer: Miroslav Satan (40-26-66)
Buffalo goaltender: Dominik Hasek (30-18-4, 1.87 GAA)
Data: Improving on their 34-33-15 record and eighth place finish last season, the Senators finished with the highest point total in franchise history and their first division title. But the tough, defensive Sabres, led by two-time league MVP Hasek and captain Michael Peca, are just the type of team that could give the speedy Senators trouble. Buffalo lost to the Capitals in six games in the conference finals last season.

No. 1 New Jersey Devils (47-24-11, 105 points) vs.
No. 8 Pittsburgh Penguins (38-30-14, 90 points)
1998-1999 Series: New Jersey, 4-1-0
New Jersey leading scorer: Peter Sykora (29-43-72)
New Jersey goaltender: Martin Brodeur (39-21-10, 2.29 GAA)
Pittsburgh leading scorer: Jaromir Jagr (44-83-127)
Pittsburgh goaltender: Tom Barrasso (19-16-3, 2.55 GAA)
Data: The Devils earned their third straight No. 1 seed in the conference and set an NHL record for road wins (28) along the way. After falling to No. 8 seed Ottawa last season, New Jersey will not take Pittsburgh lightly, especially because NHL leading scorer Jaromir Jagr can win a game by himself. But Pittsburgh faltered in its last 11 games, going 2-7-2. Brodeur's experienced goaltending and the balanced attack of Sykora, Bobby Holik, Jason Arnott and Brian Rolston give New Jersey the advantage.

No. 3 Carolina Hurricanes (34-30-18, 86 points) vs.
No. 6 Boston Bruins (39-30-13, 91 points)
1998-1999 Series: Tied, 2-2-1
Carolina leading scorer: Keith Primeau (30-32-62)
Carolina goaltender: Arturs Irbe (27-20-12, 2.22 GAA)
Boston leading scorer: Jason Allison (23-53-76)
Boston goaltender: Byron Dafoe (32-23-11, 1.99 GAA)
Data: Carolina gets the No. 3 seed by virtue of winning the weakest division in the league, and it is the franchise's first trip to playoffs since 1992. Two key players for Carolina, Primeau (back) and Ray Sheppard (shoulder), are day-to-day. The Bruins were the worst team in the league two years ago, but have improved with the help of some ex-Washington Capitals-Dafoe, Allison, Anson Carter and leading goal scorer Dimitri Khristich. Ray Borque will patrol the Boston blue line for the 20th straight year.

No. 4 Toronto Maple Leafs (45-30-7, 97 points) vs.
No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers (37-26-19, 93 points)
1998-1999 Series: Philadelphia, 3-1-0
Toronto leading scorer: Mats Sundin (31-52-83)
Toronto goaltender: Curtis Joseph (35-24-7, 2.56 GAA)
Philadelphia leading scorer: Eric Lindros (40-53-93)
Philadelphia goaltender: John Vanbiesbrouck (27-18-15, 2.18 GAA)
Data: The Flyers acquired Vanbiesbrouck, the goalie that they thought would put them over the top, then everything else unraveled. After surviving a 12-game winless streak in February and March, Philadelphia lost captain and leading scorer Eric Lindros to a collapsed lung. They will rely on high-scoring John LeClair and Rod Brind'Amour to keep them in the series. Toronto is strong at both ends of the ice. Curtis Joseph provides needed experience in goal, and the offense led the league in scoring. Toronto's leading goal scorer Sergei Berezin may miss the series with a fractured cheekbone.

Western Logo Western Conference Quarterfinals

No. 1 Dallas (51-19-12, 114 points) vs.
No. 8 Edmonton (33-37-12, 78 points)
1998-1999 Series: Dallas, 3-0-1
Dallas leading scorer: Mike Modano (34-47-81)
Dallas goaltender: Ed Belfour (35-15-9, 1.99 GAA)
Edmonton leading scorer: Bill Guerin (30-34-64)
Edmonton goaltender: Tommy Salo (25-28-9, 2.57 GAA)
Data: The Stars finished with the league's best record for the second straight year and will look to make up for several years of playoff disappointments, including a first-round loss to Edmonton in 1997. Dallas D Derian Hatcher will be suspended for the first give games of the series. Stars will rely on the experience of such Cup-hungry veterans as Modano, Belfour and Brett Hull. Edmonton's leading scorers Guerin and Josef Beranek are questionable for the first week with knee injuries.

No. 2 Colorado (44-28-10, 98 points) vs.
No. 7 San Jose (31-33-18, 80 points)
1998-1999 Series: Colorado, 3-1-0
Colorado leading scorer: Peter Forsberg (30-67-97)
Colorado goaltender: Patrick Roy (44-28-10, 2.29 GAA)
San Jose leading scorer: Jeff Friesen (22-35-57)
San Jose goaltender: Mike Vernon (16-22-10, 2.27 GAA)
Data: The Avalanche were 27-9-6 over the second half of the season on the way to their fifth straight division title. The 1996 Stanley Cup champions are loaded with talent, including Roy, the winningest goalie in NHL history, Forsberg, who is perhaps the most complete player in the league, veteran center Joe Sakic, late-season addition Theo Fleury and NHL rookie scoring leader Milan Hejduk. The Sharks will try to frustrate Colorado with their tight, physical style of play and hope Jeff Friesen, Owen Nolan and Mike Ricci can grind out some goals.

No. 3 Detroit (43-32-7, 93 points) vs.
No. 6 Anaheim (35-34-13, 83 points)
1998-1999 Series: Detroit, 3-1-0
Detroit leading scorer: Steve Yzerman (29-45-74)
Detroit goaltender: Chris Osgood (34-25-4, 2.42 GAA)
Anaheim leading scorer: Teemu Selanne (47-60-107)
Anaheim goaltender: Guy Hebert (31-29-9, 2.42 GAA)
Data: The two-time Stanley Cup champions reloaded for another run at the Cup with trading deadline deals that brought Chris Chelios, Ulf Samuelsson and Wendel Clark to Detroit. Detroit surged to a 9-2-1 record at the end of the season and with Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan leading the attack and Niklas Lidstrom on defense, the Wings will be formidable. Anaheim will counter with the most dynamic pair of forwards in the NHL, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, who combined for 208 points this season.

No. 4 Phoenix (39-31-12, 90 points) vs.
No. 5 St. Louis (37-32-13, 87 points)
1998-1999 Series: St. Louis, 2-1-1
Phoenix leading scorer: Jeremy Roenick (24-48-72)
Phoenix goaltender: Nikolai Khabibulin (32-23-7, 2.13 GAA)
St. Louis leading scorer: Pavol Demitra (37-52-89)
St. Louis goaltenders: Grant Fuhr (16-11-8, 2.44 GAA), Jamie McLennan (13-14-4, 2.54 GAA)
Data: The Coyotes' playoff prospects were dealt a serious blow when Roenick was lost for the season with a broken jaw suffered April 14 against Dallas. Captain Keith Tkachuk will move to center in Roenick's absence. While the Coyotes slipped after starting the season 24-11-7, St. Louis has come on strong this spring. Fuhr, who has five Stanley Cup rings, returned from injury and led the Blues to a 6-1-2 record at season's end. Norris Trophy candidate Al MacInnis led all NHL defensemen in scoring with 20 goals and 42 assists.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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