Round 2 Predictions

Round 2 begins just one day after Round 1 ended. I got six of the eight series right in Round 1, let’s see how Round 2 goes. I will throw up the Wings/Sharks series predictions first because they start tonight:

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)

Dany Heatley #15 of the San Jose Sharks shoots against Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at the HP Pavilion on February 2, 2010 in San Jose, California.

The Wings start their second straight playoff series on the road for the first time since before colour television, but it’s against the perennial chokers from San Jose. I really am finding it difficult to feel like the Wings have an amazing shot at reaching their FOURTH straight West Final. Anything that I have read that says San Jose will win, has said that they think Thornton and Marleau will finally break through; but my thinking is, how can someone think that? I mean yeah SJ won a round, but I think people’s memories are a bit too short and all anyone can think of is last year’s round 1 loss to Anaheim. But the Sharks lost in Round 2 three straight seasons from 2006 to 2008, one of them being against a very similar Wings’ team. Now, if their Big Three do actually wake up, THEN I think it will be a damn competitive series that could go seven games. But until I see proof of that, I can’t pick San Jose. And I haven’t even brought up Nabokov’s terrible record against the Wings in his career, 8-17-0-2, 3.53 gaa and a .888%. Those aren’t flattering numbers.

Now if the Sharks come out tonight and whip the Wings, maybe my opinion will change, but for now I say it will be four straight!

Prediction: Wings in 6

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Vancouver Canucks (3)

I think that this will be the best series to watch, and I have no idea who will win. Come to think of it, I will probably decide as I write this. The rivalry that has grown between these two over the past year is pretty remarkable; from last year’s thrilling six-gamer, to Luongo’s comment to Kane while shaking hands at the Olympics, to Kesler vs Ladd; this should be awesome!! The Hawks have already stated that Dustin Byfuglien will be moving up to forward for this series, so Luongo will get a full dose of his butt. If Vancouver’s powerplay is anywhere close to as bad as they were in Round 1, the series will likely be over quick. But if they can get that together, and Roberto Luongo can realize that this is THE series that will define him, I think they will win. Seriously, this may not be the Cup, but this is the team that has haunted him for a year of his career; if he can exercise those demons and take the Canucks to Round 3 for the first time since 1994, he will have finally proven that he has mental toughness.

At the other end, Antti Niemi benefited from Nashville weak offense. When they broke through, they filled the net. The Canucks won’t be nearly as easy to hold back, as the Sedins finally seem ready to take the next step.

Prediction: Canucks in 6

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)

After rambling on last night about how there is no way Jaro Halak can put together three straight amazing performances, here I sit about to say a very similar thing. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a different team than the Washington Capitals. They definitely don’t have as much offensive depth in their forwards, as I find a lot of the secondary scoring is a by product of Sid or Malkin, but they definitely have a lot more determination. They also play a completely different style of hockey. Not only that (listen up here Caps), they can ADAPT to a defense in front of them. Yes, Halak had a great series against Washington, and they had timely scoring mixed with a defense that just seemed to keep every on the perimeter, but doing it for another four games is near impossible. With that said, it is near impossible for Crosby to carry the Pens any more than he did in Round 1, so something has to give.

Prediction: Penguins in 5

Boston Bruins (6) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)

Dan Carcillo #3 of the Philadelphia Flyers fights against Shawn Thornton #22 of the Boston Bruins during the first period of the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 1, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.

One of Boston or Philly, both who would have been out of the playoffs in the West, will make it to the Conference Finals. How much does that suck for a hard working team like St. Louis or Anaheim, or even some of the losers in Round 1, Nashville, Phoenix or LA?

Have I said that I picked the Flyers to win the Cup in the preseason? While that story would be nice, no Gagne, Carter and now Laperierre leaves a very big hole in their lineup. Claude Giroux would have to exceed his performance in Round 1, and they would also need to start dressing James van Riemsdyk. Wait, he played in Round 1? Now Boston doesn’t have anything near a scary offense, but Brian Boucher played his best hockey in a long, long time against New Jersey, the chances of that happening for another long series are slim.

Instead of discrediting the Flyers and saying why they won’t win, I have to give some credit to the Bruins. The core of this team is really showing that it knows how to play in the playoffs. In 2008, they took the top seeded Montreal Canadiens to seven games before losing out. While they were top seed last year, they literally lost to destiny itself as the “Cardiac Canes” beat them in seven. This year, they beat the unbeatable wall, supposedly non-Hart worthy Ryan Miller in six games without their best offensive player. Now with Savard back and Tuukka Rask behind them, I think the Bruins get to Round 3 for the first time since 1992.

Prediction:  Boston in 6


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