NHL Playoffs: Round Two Predictions

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IApril 24, 2008

The first round was close, but I emerged as the opening round champion.  Of course I am only boasting because I expect my luck will sometime run out, likely sooner than later.  IN saying that, here are my second round picks.


Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions

Eastern Conference Playoffs:  Round Two

(1) Montreal Vs (6) Philadelphia

Now suffice it to say, without my team in the big dance I simply wanted to show up to be entertained, and boy was I!  The first round of the NHL playoffs were a thing of beauty.  A couple of Game sevens, the defending champs out, and one of the best goalies of all time has a meltdown of monumental proportions, leading to his teams dismissal in five games.

Of course watching the playoffs I began to be wrapped up in the Washington cinderella story.  Which, came to a screeching halt last night when Joffrey Lupul potted an overtime game winner to eliminate Ovie and the Caps from the playoffs.

We can somewhat relate can't we?  After all, if you aren't from Philly, or aren't a Flyers fan, you pretty much despise the Orange and Black.  We are much alike, seeing as Toronto fans share a similar situation.

Montreal is a high powered team, led in the regular season by their dominate powerplay which has to get back on track if they want to stay alive in this thing. 

Although they couldn't pull it off, whether they just ran out of steam or whatever the circumstance may be, the Bruins showed a blueprint to defeat the Habs.  Hit them, grind it out, and you got a shot.

The Flyers are faster than the Bruins, arguably tougher, and alot more skilled, meaning Les Habitants could have their hands full.   The Habs need a consistent effort from Price, Kovalev, and Koivu to get through this one.  Philadelphia meanwhile has to bank on Briere and Biron, who should relish the opportunity to play in Quebec.  It's time for an "upset" (I don't like using that term, because everyone is simply so close anymore.)

Prediction: Philadelphia in 6

(2) Pittsburgh Vs (5) New York

Sigh, the Rangers truly are one of my other teams I have a soft spot for.  They are an original six team, they have a talented team who loves to score, and hit, and of course, they have classy, nice looking Jerseys.

Why am I sighing you ask?  Because I don't think they can get past Sid the Kid and the high flying Penguins.  Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Penguin, not in the least actually, it's just a tough draw where a real good team will be sent packing.

I think Lundqvist is a better goalie than Fleury, and I am a subscriber to the theory that states a championship team starts from the net on out.  Lundqvist has the pedigree.  Fleury, finished second in two World Juniors, while King Henrik, he led Sweden to the ultimate prize, the Olympic gold.

However, Two things are working in the Pens favour right now.  Number one is the long layoff.  Gary Roberts, a true playoff force, has had time to rest up, and charge the batteries.  While Crosby, who can't be 100%, no matter what he says, is able to kick back and rest the ankle. 

Also, I think just like they did with the Devils, the Rangers defense will have a hard time with the stretch pass, and the breakout of the speedy Penguins players, who I dare say have more skill overall than the Devils.

Either way in this series, the Atlantic Division will be represented, and for my money, we will see an all Atlantic final, that already has bad blood installed.  I'm talking Flyers and Pens battling it out in the conference finals for the right to represent the East in the Cup.

Prediction: Penguins In 7

Western Conference

(1) Detroit Vs (6) Colorado

A rivalry renewed.  Some of the cast members have moved on, but most of the ensemble is still here and ready to go.

The Wings had some difficulty in the opening round against the Predators, but when it mattered the most, they sorted things out, and ousted the Preds in six.

The Avalanche also took out their opponent, the ever underachieving Minnesota Wild, in six games, so neither team has a rest advantage over the other.

As far as the goaltending match goes, flip a coin, and go from there.  Chris Osgood played great once he got into the post season, but there are some who believe that goalies in Detroit are sheltered by the stingy defense and the borderline trapping style they employ. 

Jose Theodore was much busier, and looked absolutely stellar in the six game series against the Wild, including in the clinching game, where he sealed it up, and took it home for the Avs.

Like the first round, this is one of those series' that I could see going either way, depending on who gets those little things to go right, the things that often decide a playoff series.

Prediction: Detroit In 7

(2) San Jose Vs (5) Dallas

Two teams, who are coming off vastly different first round series'

The Sharks went the distance, a gruelling seven game series against the Flames.  It was a series that was as physical as it was exciting.

The Sharks meanwhile, got up early on the defending champions 2-0, then 3-1, before eventually sending them to the So Cal beach scene earlier than they expected, knocking out the Ducks in six.

The Stars are a physical team, with a good amount of scoring.  Yes that's right, I said the Stars have scoring.  Not that they score in buckets or anything, but they get timely scoring, and it is a consistent team effort, night after night.  Couple that with world class goaltending in Marty Turco, and you have a shot to win every game.

San Jose can play a physical game as well, but as we seen in their first round matchup, when the game gets real physical, and the time and space is taken away from some of their more talented players, they panic.  A key example of this was game six against Calgary.  The Sharks were hit often, fell behind early, and because of this, didn't feel comfortable all night.  You could see it clearly as Joe Thornton tried to force pass after pass that simply wasn't there.  Evgeni Nabokov, a Vezina Trophy candidate, will match Marty Turco save for save.

This is a series that will be won on the boards, in front of the net.  It's not necessarily the teams best players who will define the series, as much as it will be the teams lesser lights,  players like Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas, Joe Pavelski, and Jeremy Roenick.

Prediction:  Stars In 7


    Stanley Cup Final Schedule for Knights-Caps Set

    NHL logo

    Stanley Cup Final Schedule for Knights-Caps Set

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Caps Beat Lightning to Advance to Stanley Cup Final

    NHL logo

    Caps Beat Lightning to Advance to Stanley Cup Final

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Dallas Stars: Texas Riding Balanced Attack In Calder Cup Playoff Run

    Dallas Stars logo
    Dallas Stars

    Dallas Stars: Texas Riding Balanced Attack In Calder Cup Playoff Run

    Blackout Dallas
    via Blackout Dallas

    Capitals Won't Let Game 7 History Shake Confidence

    NHL logo

    Capitals Won't Let Game 7 History Shake Confidence

    via Nytimes