Stanley Cup Playoff Round 2 Predictions
First, let us take a moment to reflect on the greatness of my predictions from Round 1. Well, of my Eastern Conference predictions anyway.
Penguins in six.- Check
Senators in five.-Check
Bruins in seven-Check
Rangers in six- Che….stupid Rangers. My own damn team screws me from running the board.
As for my Western Conference picks from Round 1, well, let’s just move on to Round 2
The Senators did exactly what I thought they would against the Canadiens…beat the living crap out of them. The Senators are a big, nasty and abrasive team. The Penguins have more skilled players than anyone else in the league but they are also North-South players who come fast and hard.
In other words, this is going to be a mean, hard fought series that comes down to a battle of attrition.
I give the Penguins a big edge up front and a slight edge on defense (Bruce Orpik is back and still a mean son of a bitch). The Senators have a slight edge in goal as long as the Penguins play Vokun and a huge one if the Penguins decide to go the circus route and play Fleury.
Prediction: I want to say Senators but I have to look at the talent and go Penguins in 7.
I didn’t have either team making it this far, in fact, pre-season I didn’t have the Sharks making the playoffs.
The Sharks are an enigma to me and I don’t think I’m alone, so I’ll focus on the Kings. After losing the first two games to the Blues, the Kings took 4 straight to advance. It’s all very reminiscent of last year’s run by the Kings. I think they found their grove and will make relatively short work of the Sharks.
Prediction: I want to say Kings in 4 but that seems rude so I’ll go Kings in 5.
Original Six match-up? Yep
Two of the greatest logos in sports? Oh yeah
Last time they will meet in the playoff unless it’s for the Cup because of realignment? Sure, let’s throw that cherry on top of this
So clearly this is going to be a great series, right? Um, probably not.
The Blackhawks are the class of the Western Conference and the Wings are in a strange spot of rebuilding on the fly. They needed a big push to even make the playoffs and did an amazing job to get by a much better Ducks team in the first round.
It’s hard to think of the Wings as a Cinderella team but they kind of are. Alas, the clock is about to strike midnight and the Blackhawks aren’t Prince Charming.
The Hawks just have way too much of everything (except goaltending but it’s not like the Red Wings have a lot more). The thing is they don’t need Crawford or Emery to be Henrik Lundqvist, they just can’t suddenly turn into Marc-Andre Fleury.
Prediction: Like Fox Mulder I Want to Believe! I just don’t think the Wings have any more magic left in them. I’ll be generous and say Hawks in 6.
And last but certainly not least…..
I correctly predicted the Bruins over the Leafs in 7 but I said if it went that long it meant that Boston wasn’t quite right. This is a team that should be better than it is. Granted, in the playoffs it’s not about style but results. Still, if you nee 7 games, 2 last minute goals and an OT winner to move on, you’re not exactly dominating.
The Rangers on the other hand went 7 games against the Capitals but they lost games 2 and 5 in Overtime before shutting out the Capitals in Games 6 and 7. Clearly the Rangers are a team that is finding it’s game while the Bruins are still looking for it.
The Rangers got their swagger back with the trade deadline pick-up of Ryan Clowe. He’s been in and out of the lineup and if he can’t go, he’ll be missed against the big, aggressive Bruins. Still, the team has gotten its “jam” as Torts calls it back. Early in the Caps series they were losing the battles along the boards but they cleaned that up in their back to back shutouts. I worry about the streaky nature of the Rangers on faceoffs but they’got better as the series went on in that area too.
But as everyone predicted, the Rangers big trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets really paid big dividends…Derek Brassard had NINE points (2 goals/7 assists) in games 3 through 7 against the Caps (after being held pointless in the first two games of the series), Derek Dorsett has been a big part of that jam the Blue Shirts were lacking (and he’s chipped in offensively), plus John Miller has been a more than serviceable number 5 defenseman.
Oh, perhaps you were thinking of that other trade between the Rangers and Blue Jackets? About that….
I can’t imagine that both Brad Richards AND Rick Nash will remain invisible for another whole series, so the Rangers offense should be…better (as low a hurdle as that is). Defensively, the Rangers are far superior to the Bruins as a whole unit. And in goal, the Rangers have the hottest player (in more ways than one, amiright ladies?) in the league.
Prediction: Close games but I’ve got the Rangers taking it 5. Yeah, that scares me but there it is.