After going five-of-eight in the first round, I hope to do better in the second round.
My dark horse Washington Capitals went to overtime in game 7 before they were finally eliminated.
The funny thing with the second round is that the teams ranked No. 1, 2, 5 and 6 made it in both conferences. Here is the way I see the series going in this conference semi-finals.
#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers: Montreal managed to make it by the Bruins in seven games, just as the Flyers made it by the Capitals in seven games.
Both teams showed great offensive power but also suspect defenses and goaltending. If Carey Price can step up his game, then Montreal will do a good job.
Martin Biron has not yet proven he can carry the load, so this series will be his big stepping stone. I think that Price will outduel Biron, and Montreal's offense will outscore the Flyers. Take the Canadiens in six games.
#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 New York Rangers: The Penguins had little trouble with the Senators in the first round as they had the brooms out. The Rangers only took five games to dispatch of the Devils.
Both teams have the offenses to score a lot of goals, and both teams defenses have been capable of shutting down the other teams. This series could sees a lot of goals, and in the end, the Rangers' goaltending will makes the difference. Take the Rangers in seven games.
#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #6 Colorado Avalanche: Detroit finally showed it could win a first-round series. It took them six games against a determined Predators team . It also took Chris Osgood replacing a shaky Dominik Hasek who allowed 10 goals in the four games he played. Osgood only allowed four in nine more minutes of playing time.
The Avalanche took care of the Wild in 6 games with decent goaltending and some timely offense. The Red Wings will prove to be too powerful for the Avs, though, in the second round. The Wings offense will be the deciding factor. Take the Red Wings in 6 games.
#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #5 Dallas Stars: San Jose was favoured by many (including me) to take the Stanley Cup this year, but they had to struggle to beat the Flames in 7 games.
When this team gets going, they are a hard team to beat. However, on many nights, they are just an average team.
The Stars took the defending champion Ducks out in 6 games and were one of the best offensive teams in the first round. This series is again going to be a long series for both teams and it should prove to be an interesting series.
It is going to be fairly even and physical series. With home ice advantage, take the Sharks in seven games.
Let the games begin!