Round 2 Predictions:
Something I find interesting going into the second round of the playoffs is that in both the East and the West the teams still remaining were seeded first, second, third and fifth.
Since none of the teams seeded sixth or lower made it through to the second round there weren’t really any upsets. Surprises, yes (Chicago winning three straight and almost knocking out the league’s best team) but upsets, no.
Vancouver (1) vs. Nashville (5)
The Predators are coming off their first series win in the team’s 12 year history while the Canucks are barely standing after almost collapsing to the Chicago Blackhawks in round one after going up 3-0 in the series.
While I predicted Vancouver would get past the first round I said from the get go that they would not get past the second round.
In my opinion Luongo is not a solid playoff goaltender and that became apparent in games four, five and six against Chicago. While he cannot be the only one to blame (there are five players in front of him, including the Sedin twins who also played some unimpressive hockey those games) a team cannot be a Cup contender with a goalie who is shaky come post season.
I’m taking Nashville in six.
San Jose (2) vs. Detroit (3)
San Jose is a team famous for choking in the playoffs. While I’d love to see the Sharks oust the Red Wings, I don’t think it will happen.
Detroit had a week of recovery after sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes in round one; while some say the extra time off could do more harm than good, it has allowed the Red Wings to get healthy.
The start of the series might see more momentum in favour of San Jose because of the long break Detroit had but as the series wears on the recovery period will work in favour of the Wings.
In terms of goaltending Antti Niemi obviously gives the Sharks a one up but Detroit has a lot of depth and veteran playoff experience.
I’m taking Detroit in five.
Washington (1) vs. Tampa (5)
With Vincent Lecavalier healthy and scoring again the Lightning pose as a dangerous threat to any team they face with their power forwards.
Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis have racked up the points all season long and now Steve Downie has emerged as a post season scorer too.
The offensive depth along with Dwayne Roloson between the pipes will be too much for Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals to handle.
I’m taking Tampa in 6
Philadelphia (2) vs. Boston (3)
Both Boston and Philly have big teams who use brute strength and size to their advantage and both teams went to game 7 against lower seeded teams which means neither team got much rest after the first round of the post season.
This series will come down to which team can out muscle the other. Both teams will be tired from all the hard hitting in round one so the end result will ultimately come down to which team has more skill on top of strength.
I’m taking Philly in five