After an exciting first round of playoff hockey tonight marks the start of round 2 but just like round 1 before it gets underway I give you my predictions.
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators
After the first round you would think that the teams rolls were reversed. The Senators expected to lose a tough fought series to the Montreal Canadiens rolled rather easily on the strength of their goaltender Craig Anderson and a surprising offensive attack that was lacking for the Senators all season long. The Penguins on the other hand expected to roll through the Islanders were forced into a tough battle eventually finding their game once coach Dan Bylsma switched to goaltender Thomas Vokoun.
It appears that Bylsma is going to at least begin the series with Vokoun in net which is bad news for the Senators as Vokoun has badly outplayed Marc-Andre Fleury so far in these playoffs. I still give the goaltending advantage to the Senators and Craig Anderson. Defense is what wins the Senators games and in this series that will never be more true. The Pittsburgh Penguins come into this series with way more elite offensive talent than the Senators which will ultimately shine through. As we saw in the series with the Canadiens elite players can have success against Anderson as P.K. Subban was able to pick the corners a couple different times on Anderson which I expect to be no different for the Penguins. The Senators have to play a lot better if they have any hopes of beating the Penguins.
Penguins in 6
(4) Boston Bruins vs. (6) New York Rangers
Both teams come into this series breathing a huge sigh of relief. The Bruins blew a 3-1 series lead and needed a comeback from 4-1 down in the third period against the Leafs to make the second round while the Rangers had to overcome an 0-2 hole.
This should be a great series with low scoring games as Tuukka Rask faces Hendrick Lundqvist. The Bruins come into this series extremely banged up on the back end after a punishing series with the Leafs. Those injuries could prove costly for the Bruins who are missing 3 of their top 6 defensemen and have only 2 days rest before starting.
Home ice might prove the difference for the Bruins in this series who are going to need to get some of their injured defensemen back if they hope to win this series.
Because I picked them before the playoffs start I’ll stick with them even though I’m leaning towards the Rangers with all the injuries on D.
Bruins in 7
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings
Started awfully slow against the Wild but got things going as the series wore on. Goalie Corey Crawford wasn’t great by any means but showed great bounce back ability not letting those weak goals affect him. He’s going have to be better if the Hawks want to play in the next round but not a lot better the Hawks are still going to score some goals in this series.
Showed some great resiliency winning 3 of their 4 games against the Ducks in overtime despite blowing late leads in most of those games. Goalie Jimmy Howard was fairly solid but will have to be way better for the Wings to have any chance. Pavel Datsyuk and Hendrik Zetterburg wil have to be even better as well for the Wings.
The Hawks are well rested and can score plenty of goals. The Wings are beat up after a long series with the Ducks and aren’t a terribly young team. Can’t see them keeping up offensively with the Hawks either.
Blackhawks in 5
(5) Los Angeles Kings vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
Started slow in their series with the Blues dropping the first 2 games before rebounding and looking like the team that won it all last year. Quick was dominant and the Kings were physical.
Quick, easy series where they rolled through the Canucks. Powerplay was fantastic.
The Kings are going to impose their physical will on the Sharks who don’t like to play an extremely physical style of hockey and Jonathan Quick will be fantastic.
Kings in 5