1. Montreal Canadiens vs. 6. Philadelphia Flyers
Montreal in 5 games. Montreal has an explosive offense, a solid blue-line, and great goal tending from rookie Carey Price. Philadelphia's offense shows up when it wants to, but they lack a solid defensive corps and their goal tending is shaky at best. Montreal's high-powered offense will exploit these two problems and should take the series.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5. New York Rangers
Pittsburgh in 7 games. Offensively Pittsburgh has the edge, how can you not when you boast talent like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marian Hossa, and Petr Sykora. Sean Avery will do his best to knock these players off their game, but the Penguins have Jarkko Ruutu, Gary Roberts, Maxime Talbot, and Ryan Malone to keep him in check. Hal Gill will try to do what he does best and shut down Jaromir Jagr. Both teams are about even on defense, but Henrik Lundqvist has been one of the most solid goalies in the league for three years. Marc-Andre Fleury will need to once again be outstanding if the Penguins want to advance.
1. Detroit Red Wings vs. 6. Colorado Avalanche
Detroit in 6 games. A rivalry renewed, that is the theme going into this Second Round Western Conference Playoff Series. As good as Jose Theodore has looked this season, and in the playoffs, I don't think Colorado has an answer for Detroit. They have superstars in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. They get secondary scoring from Johan Franzen, Daniel Cleary, Jiri Hudler, and Tomas Holmstrom. They have a star-studded blue-line including Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski. Colorado could make a great series out of this, if Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Paul Stastny can pick up their offense.
2. San Jose Sharks vs. 5. Dallas Stars
San Jose in 7 games. San Jose had a tough task in beating the Calgary Flames in seven games in the first round. Jeremy Roenick came through huge in game seven registering 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists). The Sharks will need their offense to pick it up against the Dallas Stars. Marty Turco played great in the opening round against the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim is the defending Stanley Cup Champion, so Dallas didn't have an easy first round either. However, at times, the Anaheim Ducks just seemed disinterested. They didn't have the same passion or fight they had last year. Dallas capitalized on stupid Anaheim penalties and took the series in six games. San Jose has one of the best blue-lines in the entire NHL and their goal tending has been amazing all season from Evgeni Nabokov. If San Jose can consistently put points on the board they will move on to the next round.
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