The Ducks next game is the most important one of the year. Not of the regular season–of the year. If they fail to beat San Jose, they will be relegated to playing either Calgary or Dallas in the first round. The Ducks have been pretty terrible against both of those teams.
They have absolutely dominated Nashville–and that was when they had Vokoun. If they can win their next two games (which admittedly includes one against the Flames), they will secure the fifth spot, and realistically, a trip to the second round. (They would be tied with San Jose for points and wins, but would have a 5-2-1 record against them, winning the tie breaker.)
Miracle runs to the Cup don’t happen in the first round. Lame upsets do. Miracle runs start in the second round. Just ask the Ducks.
All that’s left to decide out east is the pecking order, realistically. I would say Atlanta could make it if they had a head-to-head against Tampa, but they don’t.
So, here are my picks (ie, who I would vote for, not who I think will get it) for the various awards:
Hart – Winner: Joe Thornton. Finalists: Jagr, Niedermayer.
Vezina – Winner: Mikka Kiprusoff. Finalists: Brodeur, Gerber.
Selke – Winner: Daniel Alfredsson. Finalists: Pahlsson, Morrow.
Norris – Winner: Niedermayer. Finalists: Lidstrom, Zubov.
Adams – Winner: Laviolette. Finalists: Ruff, Lamoriello.
Calder – Winner: Phaneuf. Finalists: Ovechkin, Crosby.
Masterson – Winner: Selanne