2011 NHL Playoffs: Complete Playoff Predictions for Every Second-Round Series
After last night's games, the first round of the NHL Playoffs is officially over.
The first round of the playoffs offered many things. It gave us highlight-reel goals, bone-crushing hits and unbelievable saves. The first round was not full of upsets, as all of the higher seeds won each series, except when the four seeds upset the five seeds in each conference.
Although it was the end of the road for eight teams, eight other teams are advancing to the conference semifinals.
Let's now take a look at the matchups that are set for the second round and determine the winner of each series.
Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning
After overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Tampa Bay Lightning are taking their powerful offense and their clutch goal-tending to the next round.
They will be taking on the No. 1 overall seed, the Washington Capitals. The Capitals' series was the shortest series of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, as they took out the New York Rangers in five games.
These two South Eastern Conference Rivals are very familiar with each other. They met six times in the regular season, with Washington winning four of the games.
Goal-tending is going to be key in this series because it features two goalies who played red hot in the first round.
In the first round, Washington dominated most of their games. Mostly because of goaltender Michal Neuvirth Neuvirth had a very high .946 save percentage and only allowed 1.38 goals per contest. Washington was led by Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green on offense.
Tampa Bay came back and won the series because of 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson. Roloson was a brick wall in the last three games of the series. His first round totals were a .941 save percentage and a 2.05 goals allowed per contest. Martin St. Louis registered eight points in the first round, and Simon Gagne recorded seven. Tampa did not play well at home in the first two games of their series. They must pick it up at home if they want a shot.
Washington did not generate a lot of offense against the eight seed New York Rangers. So any offense they will bring is going to have a hard time scoring off Dwayne Roloson. Tampa Bay was able to manage the mighty Penguins, and I believe they can knock off the top seed.
Predictions: Tampa Bay in six.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins
It took every game of the series for the Boston Bruins to fend off the pesky Canadiens in the first round. At the same time, Philly was able to knock off Buffalo in seven games.
These two Eastern Conference powerhouses met four times in the regular season, where Philadelphia was only able to manage one win.
Boston is bringing their top playoff performer in center Patrice Bergeron and goaltender Tim Thomas. Bergeron scored two goals and added four assists in the first round. Tim Thomas played great against Buffalo. Thomas posted a .927 save percentage and only allowed 2.16 goals per game.
The Flyers are bringing in their outstanding offense led by Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. Giroux scored only one goal but registered eight helpers in the first round. Briere led the team in goals, scoring six times.
Philadelphia's offense was too much to handle for Ryan Miller and the Sabres, and I think they will be able to solve Tim Thomas just as well. Philadelphia was not able to figure out the Bruins in the season, but they will know enough to win in round two.
Prediction: Philadelphia in five.
Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators
It took Vancouver four games to clinch, but the Canucks were able to outlast the Blackhawks. They will now host another Central Division team, the Nashville Predators.
These two teams teams met four times in the season, splitting the games at two each.
Nashville was able to knock of Anaheim in six games. They were led by the Mike Fisher on the offense. He scored three goals and added three assists in the first round. Pekka Rhine did not play as hot as he did in the regular season. In the first round, he allowed. 3.29 goals a game and posted a .876 save percentage.
Luongo is another goalie who did not play so well in the first round. Luongo allowed almost three goals a game and posted a .903 save percentage. Vancouver had a hard time winning against Chicago. They were blown out in three consecutive would-be-clinching games in a row before they were able to squeeze the win out in Game 7.
Vancouver had a hard time stopping the powerful Chicago offense, but the Nashville offense will not be as threatening.
Prediction: Vancouver in six.
San Jose Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings breezed by the Phoenix Coyotes, sweeping the team from the desert in four games. San Jose had a bit more of a challenge, winning in six games to the Kings.
San Jose won three of the four meetings with Detroit in the regular season.
In the first round, Detroit's strong offense delivered. They average 4.5 goals a game, led by Pavel Datsyuk. Against the Coyotes, Datsyuk scored two goals and added four assists. Jimmy Howard played well enough in goal, posting a .915 save percentage and allowed only 2.5 goals a game.
San Jose average 3.33 goals per game, but struggled greatly on the power play. San Jose only scored 8.7 percent of the time when they had a man advantage. Anti Niemi did not have a good first round. He allowed 3.99 goal a game and his save percentage was only .863. San Jose was led by Ryane Clowe on offense. He scored four goals and added three assists against against Los Angeles.
It was longer than four games, but Detroit will be too much to handle for San Jose on a very tight series.
Prediction: Detroit in seven.
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