April 10, 2007 - Mike Modano's record-breaking season is about to get better as he leads Dallas back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Buffalo is bounced in the first round by the Islanders, the Sharks are swept by Nashville (so much for cover boy Joe Thornton), and Ottawa breaks free from its choker label thanks to Dany Heatley (seemed like just yesterday when EA was kicking him off their cover).
Those are just some of the storylines of the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs…if you believe the simulation I ran with NHL 2K7 on the Xbox 360.
Upsets ruled the brackets as Dallas (6) and Nashville (4) battled each other for control of the West while Ottawa (4) and Atlanta (3) dominated the East. Mike Modano led all scorers throughout the playoffs with 14 goals, including 6 game-winning goals, while Dany Heatley lit things up for Ottawa, scoring 11 goals, delivering 15 assists, and consistently acting like the best player on the ice throughout the playoffs.
The Stanley Cup Finals featured Ottawa and Dallas battling it out in a classic seven-game series that saw Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson take control of the puck for the Senators and Marty Turco make save after save for the Stars.
Ottawa ultimately wins game seven and the Stanley Cup (thanks mostly to Heatley), making owner Eugene Melnyk's letter to fans following last season's heartache (that promised a future Stanley Cup), a document that goes down in history as something that not only helped keep the fan base sane (how many losses can a team take before fans pick a new team?), but a catalyst for his players as they go out and finally play like everyone expected all along.
Only thing sweeter for Ottawa fans is if their team could've beat Toronto on their way to the Cup.
Oh well, at least that'll make their virtual run for the repeat that much better.