Here they are – my playoff predictions for the first round. Some of these were difficult for me to pick, but here are my thoughts.
Capitals vs. Rangers
Capitals in 5 – I don’t think this will be at all challenging for the Capitals given the way the Rangers have been playing lately. I think the Rangers will win a game, hopefully at home for their fans. I may not like the team, but I think all fans deserve a win at home in the playoffs.
Flyers vs. Sabres
Flyers in 6 – The Sabres have been playing amazingly well lately and have the best record in the last ten games out of all the teams in the NHL, but I still think the Flyers will prevail in the end. They’re a strong team and I think they may be the team that’ll make it out of the east.
Bruins vs. Canadiens
Bruins in 5 – With Tim Thomas (who should get the Vezina again) in goal, I don’t see how the Bruins can go wrong here. The Canadiens only won half of their last ten games and certainly don’t seem to be in playoff form at the moment.
Penguins vs. Lightning
Penguins in 6 – The Pens ended their season with the second best set of 10 games in the NHL and in spite of not having team captain Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin healthy, they have been finding ways to win. There’s still hope that Crosby might be able to return at some point during the playoffs, though clearly the Penguins will be careful not to rush him back too quickly. If Sid returns, who knows how well the Penguins will be able to do with him back in the lineup.
Canucks vs. Blackhawks
Canucks in 5 – The Blackhawks almost didn’t make it into the playoffs. They were 5-4-1 in their last ten games and only made it into the playoffs, since the Stars lost their last game of the season, too. I could see the Canucks sweeping the Blackhawks, but I think the Blackhawks will be able to win one game. The Canucks aren’t perfect and if the Hawks play well they’re an amazing team.
Sharks vs. Kings
Kings in 6 – I’ve heard some people say they think this will be the year the Sharks do well in the playoffs. It’s bound to happen one of these days and perhaps Nabokov was the reason they weren’t able to do well in the past. That might be true, but I don’t think so. These Sharks are definitely different than the Sharks on the last few years, but the Kings split their series with the Sharks including a win in the last month of the season. Of course, if the Kings who played the last two games of the season against the Ducks show up, I have to change this prediction to Sharks in 5. Anze Kopitar is definitely out until next season and though Justin Williams has been skating, he’s still an unknown. If he ends up getting back in time, he could help the Kings survive the first round.
Red Wings vs. Coyotes
Coyotes in 6 – The Red Wings have the worst record of the 8 teams who made it into the playoffs in their last ten games of the season (4-4-2) and have had some goaltending issues. The Red Wings look tired and I think the fact that they have quite a few older players and their goaltending isn’t as good as it has been the last few playoff runs. It took the Red Wings seven games to beat the Coyotes in the first round last year and I think the Coyotes will be even more motivated this year and will upset the Red Wings.
Ducks vs. Predators
Ducks in 6 – When Hiller got injured, a lot of people (including me) thought that would be the end of the Ducks’ playoff hopes. Hiller had been keeping the Ducks in the mix and very few thought they could manage without him. Anaheim proved us all wrong. Corey Perry (#1 goal scorer in the NHL this season with 50 goals) and Lubomir Visnovsky (the top scoring defenseman with 68 points) really stepped up. The Ducks have two of the top ten scorers in the NHL this season (and Getzlaf is tied for 11th) – if you resort by points per game, all three of their top scorers are in the top 10. I think that is what will get them past the Predators (whose top scorers are tied for 91st in the NHL). Pekka Rinne (the #2 goaltender in save percentage) has carried the Predators through the season, but I think he’s met his match in the Ducks’ offense. I don’t think it’ll be a super easy series, though I could see the Ducks winning in 5 games, too.
Enjoy the playoffs!
Tags: Anze Kopitar, Blackhawks, Bruins, Canadiens, Canucks, Capitals, Corey Perry, Coyotes, Ducks, Evgeni Malkin, Evgeni Nabokov, Flyers, Hockey, Jonas Hiller, Justin Williams, Kings, Lightning, Lubomir Visnovsky, NHL, Pekka Rinne, Penguins, playoffs, Predators, Rangers, Red Wings, Ryan Getzlaf, Sabres, Sharks, Sidney Crosby, Teemu Selanne, Tim Thomas
It didn’t seem likely at the beginning of the season, as the Ducks started out 0-3, but tonight’s win over the LA Kings in Anaheim ensured that the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks would all be in the playoffs in 2011. It’s the first time since the Ducks joined the NHL (in 1993) that all three teams will be in the playoffs at the same time. Who would have predicted that in spite of Canada having double the teams of California that California would be represented by more teams than Canada? (Only Vancouver, #1 in the NHL, and Montreal will be representing Canada in the NHL playoffs in 2011).
Ducks’ coach Randy Carlyle said that “it is amazing that you’ve got to play 81 games to find out you finally made the playoffs.” Carlyle also talked about how great it is for California hockey (not just SoCal) that all three teams from the state are in the playoffs this year.
Though Teemu Selanne (40) is the oldest player on the Ducks and one of the oldest players in the NHL, he’s consistently been one of the best and scored the Ducks’ only two goals tonight against the Kings. Selanne is the only one of the 10 oldest players currently playing in the NHL in the top ten of NHL scoring (#9 before tonight’s two goals). Coincidentally, Ryan Smyth, the Kings’ oldest player (35) scored the only Kings goal in Anaheim tonight.
Because of tonight’s loss, the Kings fell to 6th place in the western conference. The conference is so tight that the Kings can still end up in 4th place if they win tomorrow and Nashville and Phoenix lose their final games in regulation. In fact, the Ducks could still potentially end up in 4th place, since they beat the Predators and Coyotes in the first tie breaker. With the playoff standings still up in the air, tomorrow night’s game in LA where the Kings and Ducks face off again is sure to be an intense end of the season before the SoCal teams start the playoffs next week.
Tags: California, Canadiens, Canucks, Coyotes, Ducks, Hockey, Kings, NHL, oldest players, playoffs, Predators, Randy Carlyle, Ryan Smyth, Sharks, Stars, Teemu Selanne
The Los Angeles Kings are currently 2nd place in the Western Conference (to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks) and tied for third in the NHL. Their number one goalie (Jonathan Quick) has been looking like one and is ranked 4th in save percentage and 3rd in goals against average in the league. Their 4-1-0 start matches their best 5-game start in team history.
Somehow, The Kings’ power play is closer to the bottom than the top of the NHL, though. Their power play is just barely above the Montreal Canadiens for next to last in the NHL. Team scoring is only 19th place out of the 30 NHL teams, so the overall scoring could use a bit of improvement.
Why are the Kings at the bottom of the league in the power play and in the bottom half of the league for goals per game? Last year, the Kings’ power play was 7th in the league. This year they’re clinging to 29th out of 30 teams.
The Kings’ second line has been doing most of their scoring (and Terry Murray has even said at times that the second line has looked like his top line), though perhaps Anze Kopitar’s first goal of the season last night against the Carolina Hurricanes will help his line turn around their low scoring start of the season. Imagine how good this LA team will be if they can get their power play and top line scoring in gear.
I’ve heard a few theories on what’s wrong with the Kings’ power play, but the main theory concentrates on one player and I think pinpointing one player when there are two power play units and both of those power play units are performing horribly doesn’t cover the problem with the power play performance. I’d say it has more to do with a coaching issue, since a single player could only affect their own power play unit. I’m not saying that the Kings’ power play units have the players I’d select if I were creating power play units from the Kings’ roster, but the Kings have been working on their power play a lot in practice and it doesn’t seem to be helping. The Hurricanes have a pretty bad penalty kill, but even that (and their backup goalie in net) wasn’t enough to help the Kings score on the power play. As long as the Kings keep winning, it’s hard to be concerned about the power play, but if they could fix their power play problem winning games should become easier for the Kings and take some of the pressure off of their defense and goalies.
The Kings play so well together without the power play that it’s odd to see how much they struggle as soon as you give them the man advantage. It’s almost like it would be better if the team could decline the penalty like you can in football. If the Kings start scoring on the power play, they’ll be an even more formidable team. Look out western conference teams…
Tags: Anze Kopitar, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Hockey, Hurricanes, Jonathan Quick, Kings, NHL, power play, Stanley Cup, Terry Murray
I was 100% right for the winners of the last round, but was drastically off for the number of games it would take each team. I thought the Blackhawks (who swept the Sharks) would need 6 games to eliminate the Sharks. I thought the Flyers/Habs series would go to 7 after the road the Flyers and Canadiens had taken to get to that point, but the Flyers (who shut out the Canadiens in 3/5 of their games) figured out how to effectively shut down the Habs and eliminated them in 5 games.
In spite of the fact that the Flyers were ranked 7th in the east and tied in points to the Canadiens as the team with the lowest points to make it to the playoffs and the Blackhawks were only third in the NHL (2nd in the west), I think this year’s Finals will be very interesting. It was hard for me to pick a team to win this one. Though I’m picking the Blackhawks, a lot of this series might depend on which team ends up having the hottest goalie and Michael Leighton of the Flyers, ranked 1st in playoff goaltending save percentage among goalies that have played more than one game and having the most shutouts of the playoffs (3, all in the last round against the Canadiens) is definitely the hottest goalie coming into the Finals. I think the Blackhawks’ scoring will make enough of a difference to neutralize the Flyers’ momentum coming into the Finals.
My prediction is… Blackhawks in 6. The Flyers may have the hottest goalie, but Antti Niemi is still doing very well in goal. The Blackhawks also have the number one scorer in the playoffs (by points and by points per game) and two in the top 10 in points per game. The Flyers’ top scorer is 11th in points per game. The Flyers have the top penalty takers remaining in the competition and with a 22.6% success rate, the Blackhawks have the best power play left (ranked 5th out of the 16 teams in the playoffs). The Flyers (87%) and Blackhawks (86.6%) both have great penalty kills (ranked 2nd & 3rd overall in the playoffs) and defenses, so the Finals this year should be very intense.
The Flyers haven’t been to the Finals since they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 (the first year of Detroit’s last back-to-back Stanley Cup wins). The Blackhawks lost to the Penguins in 1992 (in their second year of their only back-to-back Stanley Cup wins).
No matter which team wins this year’s Finals, it will be a team that hasn’t won the Cup in quite a while. It will also definitely go to a team who lost the last five times they were in the Finals. Philadelphia last won the Stanley Cup in 1975 – they won back-to-back Cups in 74 & 75. Chicago, who last won the Cup in 1961 is actually the team in the NHL with the longest period without winning the Cup. It’s been almost 40 years and I think it’s time. The Blackhawks and Flyers have each been in the Finals five times since their last wins 49 & 35 years ago.
Both teams have a lot of drive and both have good stories about not having won the Stanley Cup in a long time. Versus and NBC must be thrilled. This year’s Finals includes two teams that have been around for a long time. The Blackhawks are one of the original six teams of the NHL and the Flyers are part of the next six. Both teams have fans all over the country, so this year’s Finals should do well in the United States.
Tags: Antti Niemi, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Flyers, Hockey, Michael Leighton, NBC, NHL, original six, penalties, penalty kill, Penguins, power play, Red Wings, Sharks, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals, Versus
The Sharks may have had home ice advantage in their first conference finals since 2004, but that didn’t matter to the determined Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks took the early lead and even went so far as to lead game four 2-0, but the Blackhawks came back to take the only lead that mattered – the one that ended the game. Chicago is the only team that swept a series in the 2010 playoffs and for a third year in a row Marian Hossa will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Is the third time the charm for him? Will he finally be on the happy side of the handshake when the Finals finish, or will he be on the losing end of the Finals for a third year in a row?
San Jose really can’t seem to succeed in the post season. They did better this year than they had in a while, but they can’t ever seem to live up to their regular season drive. The Sharks make the regular season look easy and win the west (and sometimes even the Presidents’ Trophy), but they can’t seem to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Since their start in 1991, they’ve gotten to the conference finals twice (including this year). However, they can’t seem to make it past that point. This year, they didn’t even win a game of the conference finals, leaving them with a record of 8-2 in the conference finals and sending them home before the Finals again.
The Blackhawks will most likely face the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Montreal Canadiens want to change that. They’ve come back from a 3-1 deficit in a series twice already in the 2010 playoffs, so they may surprise everyone again. Either way, the Blackhawks were the first to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals and are certainly happy to get back to the Finals for the first time since 1992 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins as they won their second Cup in a row. This year, they’ve got a young team excited to be in the Finals for the first time.
Tags: Blackhawks, Canadiens, Flyers, Hockey, Marian Hossa, NHL, Penguins, playoffs, Sharks, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals, sweep
The Canadiens have been down 3-1 in a series heading to their opponent’s arena twice already this post-season. One of the teams they were down 3-1 to had even shut them out at home (the Penguins did it in game 3 last round). The question is how long can their luck hold out? I’m sure the Habs will come on strong Monday night in Philadelphia, but I can’t see them coming back from being down 3-1 a third time. Not against this Flyers team. The Canadiens have only scored a goal in one out of their three games against the Flyers. They won that game 5-1 and definitely had a commanding lead, but they need to score enough to win every game for the rest of the series if they’re going to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. They’ve been outscored 14-5 by the Flyers in the series and I think the Flyers are going to end the Canadiens’ streak of series comebacks after being down 3 games to 1.
Until 8:22 in the third period of game three of this series, it seemed like no team would be able to score away from home. The Flyers shut out the Canadiens in their first two games and the Habs were leading 4-0 until Philadelphia scored over eight minutes into the third period. Clearly, the Flyers were not happy with losing game 3 and determined to come away with a different result today. They want to advance to the finals in front of their home crowd and will surely be able to find the necessary energy to face the Canadiens. Will they be the first team to stop the Canadiens from advancing in spite of being down 3-1 in a series? From what I’ve seen, I’d definitely bet on the Flyers ending the Canadiens’ comeback streak. I’m sure all hockey fans will be watching Versus to see what happens Monday night!
Tags: Canadiens, Flyers, Hockey, NHL, playoffs, Versus
I only got 50% of the teams moving on to the conference finals correct and I was wasn’t exactly right on either of them. I predicted that the Flyers would beat the Bruins in 6 (not 7) and that the Blackhawks would need 7 (not 6) games to eliminate the Canucks. I thought the Penguins would beat the Canadiens, not be the second team to be eliminated in 7 games by the very determined Montreal team. I’m sure it’s got to be hard for a team that just won the Cup to be as motivated as a team that hasn’t won it since 1993, but that series is still one of the most surprising of the playoffs for me so far. I also thought the Red Wings would beat the Sharks. Instead, the Sharks became the first team to advance, beating the Red Wings in just 5 games. The Sharks have broken through the glass ceiling that’s been in place since the NHL lockout. The last time the Sharks made it to the conference finals was in 2004. The Sharks have never gotten past the Conference Finals into the Stanley Cup Finals. Will this be the year they make it there? I don’t think so, but time will tell. They’re bound to make it eventually.
Normally, the conference finals are a pretty perfect round for hockey lovers. There’s a hockey game every day, but that still leaves time for other things in your life and all the games are nationally televised. I understand having the first two hockey games in the conference finals on the same day. Sunday is a weekend day and the day that NBC has a playoff game. So, there is a game on NBC and a game on Versus. However, having two games for the second day of games in this round is really silly when playoff games could last a lot longer than a typical hockey game, since there is no shootout. Though the games are set three hours apart (7pm and 10pm Eastern), there could be overlap. If there is, fans outside of Chicago and San Jose may not be able to get the full second game of the day. Some television providers may have alternate channels for Versus set up so you can get all of both games, but in order to find out if that will happen and what channel to watch, one must be watching the games live. Those of us who live on the west coast and work 8-5 jobs can’t do that to start and may not be able to get home in time to catch up to live fast enough without missing the beginning of the game. (Besides, some of us prefer not to watch commercials and don’t watch games live until later in the playoffs.) It would be nice if Versus would announce their backup plans for all providers early so those of us who really care and can’t or won’t turn in to the games live have the opportunity to record the extra channel just in case it’s necessary. Thankfully, they didn’t schedule any games at the same time (or a half hour apart) and as of game 3 of this round, things get straightened out and there is a game per day. I’m sure that the schedules of the arenas had something to do with the way this round starts, but it’s still a shame that they couldn’t work things out. Here’s hoping that the eastern conference game 2 doesn’t go into overtime for too long…
Here are my Conference Final predictions.
Flyers vs. Canadiens
Flyers in 7 – This was a very difficult choice for me. Both the Flyers and the Canadiens have the momentum coming into this round. The Flyers won 4 games in a row to do something no hockey team had done in years and beat the Bruins after being down 3-0 in the series to start. The Canadiens won their last three games in a row to come back from being down 3-1 to the Penguins. Clearly, both teams are determined to win and have taken out teams ranked higher than them twice. The Flyers and Canadiens were ranked 7th & 8th in the eastern conference. They’re the teams in the 2010 playoffs tied with the least points of any team that made the playoffs this season. They’re both ranked below Anaheim (who finished 11th in the west) overall. This series should be very exciting no matter who makes it to the Stanley Cup Finals from the East. The part of this equation that may sway things the other way is Halak. He’s been the best goaltender of the playoffs with a save percentage of .933 and is definitely the main reason Canadiens have made it this far, in spite of Cammalleri’s offensive performance. This is definitely the series I’m looking forward to watching more than I have any other series of the 2010 playoffs.
Sharks vs. Blackhawks
Blackhawks in 6 – In contrast to the teams left in the east (the lowest ranked teams in the east and NHL to make the playoffs), San Jose and Chicago are the two highest ranked teams in the western conference (though the 2nd and 3rd ranked in the NHL). I thought Chicago’s goaltending wasn’t strong enough to get them this far when the playoffs started and didn’t see San Jose getting past the first round, let alone the second. Both teams have their weaknesses, but I think the Blackhawks will beat the Sharks. It should be a great series, but the Hawks have the advantage of not being over-rested, the top scorer in the playoffs by points and points/game (Jonathan Toews), the goaltender with the better save percentage (though not by much), the better power play, and the best penalty killing left in the playoffs (the Bruins had a better pk than the Hawks).
Tags: Blackhawks, Bruins, Canadiens, Canucks, Flyers, Hockey, Jaroslav Halak, Jonathan Toews, Michael Cammalleri, NBC, NHL, Penguins, playoffs, Red Wings, Sharks, Stanley Cup Finals, Versus
The Penguins fans said goodbye to the Igloo. The Mellon Arena (which some of us will always think of as the Civic Arena) has seen its last NHL game. Though the Penguins fans were surely sad about the game tonight, they cheered at the end to support their team’s efforts and say goodbye to the arena that has been the home of the Penguins since their start in 1967. I haven’t been to all the NHL arenas yet, but the closing of the Igloo means the oldest arena in the NHL is now the Madison Square Garden (the 4th), which has been used since 1968. Though the Islanders’ Nassau Memorial Coliseum (1972) is often mentioned as the worst arena in the NHL (it’s my least favorite of those I’ve visited), it is still not the oldest. The Islanders are the only pre-90s NHL team still playing in their original home as of the start of the 2010-11 season. Clearly, a lot of the newer teams have yet to move, but the Islanders have been around since they started in 1972. Though there has been talk of a new arena for the Islanders for ages, I hear the situation is a lot more complicated than fans would like and that it’s not possible for them to get a new arena any time soon.
The Penguins were knocked out of the playoffs tonight by the Canadiens, who have taken the 2010 playoffs by storm first by knocking out the number one Washington Capitals. Now, they’ve knocked out the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Cup hasn’t been won by a Canadian team since the Habs last won the Cup (when they beat the LA Kings in 1993). Perhaps it’s destiny. This year’s Penguins had a lot in common with the 1993 Penguins. Everyone seemed to think the 1993 Penguins would win the Cup for the third year in a row. Instead, they were knocked out in the second round of the playoffs by the NY Islanders. This year, they were knocked out in the second round by the Canadiens, but the stories are very similar. Though more people expected the Penguins to win the Cup in 1993 than predicted they’d win this year, the Pens were the defending Stanley Cup Champions and all the pressure was on them. Perhaps even a bit more pressure than in 1993, since this is the last year the Penguins will play in their original home and this time around the Penguins hadn’t yet won back to back Stanley Cups.
I haven’t had a chance to talk to many Penguins fans about the loss yet, but I’m guessing fans will be split between wanting the Canadiens to win the Cup so their team will have at least lost to the Stanley Cup Champions and those who want to see the Habs go down, since they took out their team. Either way, this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have been more interesting than most and in spite of seeing both of my teams knocked out, I’ve been enjoying the games. Two game 7s in the first and second rounds of the playoffs. No sweeps as of the end of the second round of the playoffs… Underdogs taking down teams many thought couldn’t be beaten (at least not yet)… This year’s playoffs have everything. I hope you’ve been enjoying them as much as I have.
Tags: arenas, Canadiens, Capitals, Islanders, Madison Square Garden, Mellon Arena, Nassau Memorial Coliseum, Penguins, playoffs, Stanley Cup
Just when you didn’t think it was possible, the coverage on Versus gets even worse than it was for the first round of the playoffs. I know it’s not completely Versus’ fault that the national TV coverage of the NHL playoffs is so horrible. However, they’re the “NHL channel” as Romantically Challenged referred to it during Monday night’s episode. They are the home of the NHL playoffs, yet Versus is a channel that many in the country (even those who have cable, DirecTV, Dish, AT&T U-verse, or Verizon Fios) don’t have. Those who do are most likely paying extra for it as I am. The NHL Network is the same way, but at least it would offer those of us who are willing to pay more for our hockey (and other sports) the ability to see complete games. As a Penguins fan, I was worried that the Red Wings (clearly more of a national TV favorite than the Penguins, though the Penguins are definitely one of the teams in the current six-team league of national TV coverage Jim Fox and Bob Miller were discussing during a late season Kings away game) game would start being shown a bit after 4:30 and the rest of the Penguins game would be skipped. What Versus chose to do wasn’t any better, though it was for Penguins fans not living in Pittsburgh and Habs fans living in the US. Versus didn’t even switch games during the Penguins intermission, as I’d assumed they would do when I noticed the times and that Versus was supposedly showing both games. They showed very brief updates of the Red Wings/Sharks game and then went back to rehashing the Pens/Habs game.
When the Penguins game ended, thankfully in regulation or we would have missed even more of the Sharks/Red Wings game, Versus took a while, but switched over to the game that started a half hour later. The Red Wings lost their third game in a row in the first overtime, so fans of the Red Wings and Sharks who don’t have Center Ice or live in the San Jose or Detroit areas barely saw their teams.
In addition to their horrible coverage, Versus continued to call the game they were supposed to show the nation “bonus coverage” as they did with the Blackhawks/Predators and other games they would join in progress. Showing small portions of a game they’re supposed to be covering is not “bonus coverage” by my definition. Bonus coverage has always meant extra coverage. Outtakes, behind the scenes coverage, a music video… these are all bonus items one could find on a Blu-ray disc or DVD. If a Blu-ray disc said it had bonus coverage and instead took out 2/3 of the movie you had bought and added nothing extra, you’d demand your money back. Why do we have to put up with Versus? Some of us have no choice. Bettman got us into this mess and doesn’t seem at all interested in getting us out of it. He likes having a network with only one channel that many in the country don’t get as the main NHL channel for the United States. Where most sports prefer the channel that comes standard for anyone who has more than just the converter box to watch the TV that comes over the airwaves, Bettman is happy with a channel most people have to pay to get in addition to their regular cable, satellite, or fiber optic TV bill. Maybe one of these days, he’ll realize that hockey fans would like to see all the games in the playoffs – especially when it gets to the second round and give us an option other than Versus. I’m still very unclear why it’s not possible for the NHL Network to air one game and Versus to air the other. If the channel is not capable of airing both games in one night, they should allow another network to offer it to the fans.
Tags: Bob Miller, bonus coverage, Canadiens, DirecTV, Dish, Fios, Gary Bettman, Hockey, Jim Fox, NHL, NHL Network, Penguins, playoffs, Red Wings, Sharks, U-verse
First, the results from the first round of the 2010 playoffs… I was bound to do worse than I did last year (7/8). This year, I only got 5 out of 8, though I did get 4 of the series exactly right (winner and number of games), so I guess I could have done worse. I definitely don’t know many people who picked the Canadiens or the Flyers to win and who would have guessed that the Flyers would be the first team to advance to the next round?
I can’t remember a first round of the playoffs that was this interesting. Almost all the series went to 6 games or more. I hope that round two is as interesting and that this doesn’t mean we’ll have a boring second round.
Here are my predictions for round two…
Bruins vs. Flyers
Flyers in 6 – I know I didn’t pick the Flyers to beat the Devils, but they did it well from what I hear (I didn’t get out to the bars to see any of their full games, so I can only judge on what I read and heard from others in addition to the clips I saw). They split their regular season match-ups, but for the playoffs I have to pick Philly.
Penguins vs. Canadiens
Penguins in 5 – The Canadiens looked good against the Canadiens and coming back from being down in the series 3-1 will probably give them a good boost, but I don’t think they’re much of a match for the Penguins’ fire power. Sidney Crosby has 2.33 points per game so far. He has 4 more points than the Habs’ Michael Cammalleri, though Cammalleri played in one more game. The Pens won the regular season series and I think they’ll advance in the playoffs, too.
Sharks vs. Red Wings
Red Wings in 6 – I predicted that the Sharks would lose in the first round as they had last year against Anaheim. They managed to beat the Avalanche, but I can’t see them doing the same against the Red Wings. Though the Red Wings had to fight to get through the first round, they proved in game 7 that when it comes down to the wire they are a great playoff team. They know how to battle through and play well when it counts. The Sharks have years of experience at buckling under pressure and leaving the playoffs before the conference finals. Everyone keeps saying that one of these years the Sharks are bound to break through. I’m sure it’ll happen at some point, but I don’t think this is their year. The Red Wings won their regular season series and I think they’ll advance to the conference finals.
Blackhawks vs. Canucks
Blackhawks in 7 – This is the hardest series for me to predict. The Canucks have the top scorer in the NHL and he seems to have started to score a bit in the playoffs now. They also have the second highest scorer of the 2010 playoffs in Mikael Samuelsson. I think before the playoffs started I would have picked the Canucks to win this one, since Luongo is such a great goalie. However, Luongo has looked a bit shaky in the playoffs this year. Though the Hawks don’t have the most solid goaltending, I think they’ll get past the Canucks.
Tags: Blackhawks, Bruins, Canadiens, Canucks, Flyers, Hockey, Michael Cammalleri, Mikael Samuelsson, NHL, Penguins, playoffs, Red Wings, Roberto Luongo, Sharks, Sidney Crosby