Before I move on to my Round 2 predictions for the West, lets take a look back at my first round results.
Prediction: Red Wings in 5; Outcome: Red Wings in 6
Prediction: Sharks in 7; Outcome: Sharks in 7
Prediction: Avs in 6; Outcome: Avs in 6
Prediction: Ducks in 6; Outcome: Stars in 6
After going a "cool" three-for-four in Round 1 of the Western Conference, I plan on going two-for-two in Round 2. As Steve Rapp from Sportsnet says, here are my "smart money" picks.
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. Colorado Avalanche (6)
These two teams will renew their rivalry Thursday night and I can't wait. Sure it hasn't been as mean and nasty as it was 6-8 years ago, but both teams still have players left from those days. The Wings have Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Chris Chelios, and more. The Avalanche have Joe Sakic, Peter the Great, and Adam Foote. The animosity should still be there in my opinion.
So back to this year...the Red Wings showed their depth in Round 1 and continue to shoot the puck, which is never a bad idea in the playoffs. Osgood looks good, and I expect he'll start the series and in-fact finish it. They swept the season series outscoring them 11-2 in the four matchups, but keep in mind that none of the three aforementioned Avalanche were in the lineup for any of those games. And we all know that the playoffs is a different animal than the regular season...just ask the Montreal Canadiens.
The Colorado Avalanche played and defeated the Minnesota Wild in the first round. Well the Detroit Red Wings are the polar opposite as the Wild in terms of how they play. The Avalanche showed they can win the tight 3-2 games, but the question now is if they can keep up with the speed of the Wings. But just in case games are tight, they always have "Burnaby Joe" in the clutch.
Overall, I like the Red Wings in 6.
San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Dallas Stars (5)
I am really enjoying the matchups this postseason, as we have another division matchup on our hands. The two teams split the season series if that means anything to you guys.
The Sharks beat out my beloved Flames in seven games, which I think is a boost for them. The pressure is off them a little bit (but not much), and they can keep rolling along whereas the Stars had a short layoff due to ousting the Ducks in six. The Sharks can play both a grinding and physical game, and also a speed and special teams game. The Stars are more of the latter description. The big guns started contributing near the end of the Flames series, so the Sharks look scary. San Jose also has more depth than the Stars which we all know pays dividends in the postseason.
The Stars shocked me by taking out the Ducks. Who knew the Ducks would take so many penalties? The Sharks however do not, so the Stars have to score some more even-strength goals. As I mentioned above, they are more of a speed team, so a longer series will slow them down. You have to congratulate them on making it past the first round, but that's as far as I see them going.
Overall, I like the Sharks in 7.