Playoff Fever: Round 2
First, let's recap my predictions for round 1:
Predicted: Bruins in 4
Actual: Bruins in 4
Comment: Played out as expected, a mismatch. It won't be anywhere near this easy for the Bruins in round 2.
Prediction: Rangers in 7
Actual: Capitals in 7
Comment: Well it was decided on the last 5 minutes, so I was mostly right on this one. It's hard to believe the winner of this entertaining but poorly played series is going any further in the playoffs. I hope Lundqvist is off his game during the Olympics...
Prediction: Devils in 7
Actual: Hurricanes in 7
Comment: Wow, what a series - far and away the best of round 1 - it would have been even if game 7 had been a clunker, and it was anything but. The 2 minutes of sustained pressure the Canes put in before scoring the tying goal should be stored somewhere as the footage you pull out when you want to show pure determination in action. Brodeur was great, Ward was incredible - the number of great saves he made when the Canes were down by one in the third period - I just shake my head. Both teams played extremely well. A final note, if Whitney could master shooting it through the 5 hole off his own skate, that would be unstoppable.
Prediction: Penguins in 6
Actual: Penguins in 6
Comment:It's funny how lackadaisical the Pens look sometimes, but they're still effective.
Predicted: Sharks in 6
Actual: Ducks in 6
Comment: OK, this is the one series I got wrong that wasn't decided with less than 5 minutes left in game 7. Still, I knew the Ducks would be tough, and luckily I almost entirely avoided taking any Sharks on my playoff pool teams!
Predicted: Wings in 5
Actual: Wings in 4
Comment: I thought that Columbus might pull one out at home and they almost did, but this was no contest, the most lopsided first round series I've seen in a while.
Predicted: Canucks in 6
Actual: Canucks in 4
Comment: Could easily have gone 6, but I'm glad it didn't. Interesting to see how good the Blues are next year.
Predicted: Blackhawks in 5
Actual: Blackhawks in 6
Comment: Took 6 instead of 5, but played out pretty much as expected. As a Canucks fan, we can only hope Calgary keeps Keenan around for a few more years.
Bruins-Hurricanes - A team that gave hardly anything to win their first round series and a team that had to give their all. Maybe I'm overreacting to just watching the end of the Canes-Devils series, but I don't think the Bruins are going to be able to match the Canes.
Pick: Carolina in 6
Pittsburgh-Washington - Talk about star power in this matchup! The difference might be the stars, but I think its more likely that its going to be Pittsburgh's superior ability to defend that makes the crucial difference.
Pick: Pittsburgh in 6
Detroit-Anaheim: Two years ago the Ducks won the cup and the one series they almost lost (and arguably were lucky not to) was the one against the Wings which they won in 6 close games. Two years later, the Ducks aren't as good as they were then. Getzlaf is improved and Ryan is good, but Niedermayer and Selanne are two years older and MacDonald and Pahlsson are gone.
The Wings are probably better than they were then, and are just as good as they were when they won the cup last year, but the big question is, of course, goaltending. Should be a fascinating series.
Pick: Wings in 6
Vancouver-Chicago: Should be a pretty evenly matched series. Key for the Canucks will be whether they can keep the young Hawks to the perimeter. In round 1 Luongo was never beaten from more than about 10 feet out. The other key will be secondary scoring as, especially in Chicago, the Sedins are likely to face a pretty good shutdown unit. Having a healthy Sundin and a strong second line with Demitra and Kesler will be important.
Pick: Canucks in 7