There’s still lots of hockey left, with Round 2 starting today. Here are my
biased and unscientific well thought-out predictions for the second round:
Western Conference– In the first round, there were no sweeps, and no “real” upsets either–proving how good the top teams in the West really are. The two second round series should prove to be long, drawn-out slugfests.
Series: San Jose Sharks (1) vs. Detroit Red Wings (5)
My Prediction: Sharks in 7 games.
Comments:Despite past, ahem, setbacks, the Sharks made it to the second round. Both of these teams are good. The Sharks were 1st overall in the West, and Detroit would have finished higher than 5th if their team was healthy earlier on in the season. Expect high-scoring, yet close games.
Series: Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (3)
My Prediction: Blackhawks in 6 games.
Comments: All right! A rematch of last year’s second round bout between these teams. The Hawks and Canucks are establishing a nice “love-to-hate-’em” playoff rivalry, akin to that of the Red Wings and Avalanche circa 1996.
The Canucks have the better goalie in Roberto Luongo, and they got the Sedin twins. However, Chicago’s core group of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith finally seem to be clicking. At least one of them contributed in each of the 4 goals scored against Nashville in their Round 1 clincher.
Eastern Conference – A lot of low-seeded teams made it to the Second Round. Oh, and the Penguins. My dream of a Blackhawks/Penguins Stanley Cup Final may come true after all.
Series: Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8)
My Prediction:Penguins in 5 games.
Comments: How long can Montreal rely on Jaroslav Halak to win them games that they should really lose? Despite his first round heroics, the Penguins have a lot of offensive firepower and home ice advantage–not that either of those meant anything for the Washington Capitals. Still, Pittsburgh didwin the Stanley Cup last year, so do we really need to list reasons why they should–or will–win this series?
Series:Boston Bruins (6) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (7)
My Prediction: Bruins in 7 games.
Comments:Who would have thought that finishing 6th would merit you home-ice advantage in the second round? Having the extra game might be the factor that wins it for Boston.
Then again, what hockey fan wouldn’t pee their pants over a Pittsburgh/Philadelphia conference finals? So, maybe I’ll predict the Bruins as the winner, but secretly hope that the Flyers win instead.