With the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning last night, I figured my second round predictions should be posted sooner or later. In round one, hockey fans saw some great hockey played and some fabulous story lines unfold. Hopefully round two will bring the same, if not better for all who enjoy this wonderful time of year. Round one, also saw me predicting 5 of 8 series correctly, something that I find disappointing. Seeing as my last article predicted the entire lay out of the playoffs, I will only stick to round two this time around.
Montreal Canadiens (1) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (6)
This is the first time these two teams have met in the playoffs since 1989. Even though I was only 9 then, I remember it being a fantastically aggressive series. Hextall was as nuts as he'd ever been and there was plenty of rough stuff. The Habs went 4-0 against the Flyers in the seasons series this year and at times, I felt the games to be quite intense. Let's hope this series rekindles the excitement of 1987. The Bell Centre and the city (minus the riots) are are rocking and as spirited as ever. The home ice advantage will play a HUGE roll in this as the Flyers faithful are pretty rabid themselves. I say Habs in 6.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. New York Rangers (5)
With Washington out of the playoffs, the next best thing for the league and the game in the United States would be this match up. New York obviously has one of the largest media markets in the world. With the face of the league (Sidney Crosby) getting this exposure in a highly anticipated action packed series, the game can only grow from here. There are so many story lines in this series that can be highlighted. The battle of the Staal brothers, the player of dominated the league in the 90's (Jagr) vs. the present face of the league (Crosby), and a young goalie who is out to prove himself vs. a perennial Vezina candidate can all be highlighted as stories within the series. I know I'll probably watch every bit of this series I can. Picking a winner in this series is tough, and I can see it going either way in 7 games. I flipped a coin to produce a winner and the queen's head told me it would be the Penguins in 7.
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. Colorado Avalnche (6)
From what I've been reading, many people are picking the Avs to upset the Wings. No way do I see this happening. Hands down, I say Wings in 5. They're just too strong and the Avs don't have what it takes. My feelings are even more adamant after game 1 where Forsberg did not play, Wolski is injured and Theodore left with an illness. Even though I don't see them putting up much of a fight, I have to tip my hat to Theodore who has played great this season. Glad to see you back Theo.
San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Dallas Stars (5)
In my last article I feel like I dumped all over the Stars. I felt bad about it because for some odd reason, I've always had a soft spot for them. Plus I'm a huge Brad Richards fan. I said they had no way of advancing I'm glad they made me eat my words. The Stars can easily upset the Sharks, but I still feel this year is destined to be the Sharks year. I say Sharks in 7, in what will be a battle of goalers.
Here's round two in a nutshell. Oddly enough, all the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th seeds advanced in both conferences. As superstitious as I am, I think this will carry some sort of meaning.
Here's hoping to some fantastic hockey.