Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second Round Predictions

After going 7 for 8 on my first round predictions for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, here are my predictions for the second round:

Eastern Conference
(1) Montreal vs. (6) Philadelphia
Montreal in Six
While the national media continues to show the Flyers a lack of respect, I will concede that the Canadiens are a dangerous hockey team that is going to give the Flyers fits. They have three quality scoring lines that are fast and will make the Flyers slow defenders look like they are skating in mud. The Flyers will try to slow the Canadiens down the same way they slowed Alexander Ovechkin down, by hitting them repeatedly. The problem with that, though, is that the Canadiens have scoring depth and they don't have one line you can key in on. Philly has three lines that can do some damage offensively as well, but in the end I think they will fall just short. Look for a more in-depth look at this series tomorrow.

(2) Pittsburgh vs. (5) New York Rangers
Pittsburgh in Seven
The Rangers have a big advantage in goal with Henrik Lundqvist and he will be the key to the series. The Penguins can score early and often and the Rangers defense likely won't be able to do anything to contain Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, so it will be up to Lundqvist to bail the Rangers out. If he can stand on his head, he will single-handedly send the Penguins home. The Penguins will also have trouble keeping the Rangers off the board, so expect a number of high scoring games. It's hard to get a good read on the Penguins because of the way they obliterated a broken-down Senators team, but I think they will have just enough to outlast the Rangers.

Western Conference
(1) Detroit vs. (6) Colorado
Detroit in Six
This won't be the bloodbath series like they used to have, but this is still an intriguing match-up between two veteran-laden teams. As much as I should know better than to pick the Red Wings, a team who repeatedly comes up short in the playoffs, I think the Avalanche are just too old and slow to keep up with the Wings balanced attack. Jose Theodore has been the hottest goaltender, but the Red Wings will find a way to march on.

(2) San Jose vs. (6) Dallas
San Jose in Six
Dallas was the one team I didn't expect to get out of the first round. The Stars showed remarkable toughness in sending the Ducks packing, and they will certainly give the Sharks trouble. The Sharks had serious problems with the Flames, a team that is considerably weaker than the Stars. But, San Jose was my pick to win the Stanley Cup, so I am going to stick with them. The first round series with Calgary will serve as a wake-up call and, led by Joe Thornton who is playing some great hockey right now, they will come out with more intensity and more urgency and take care of the Stars. Besides, Marty Turco seems due to choke away some playoff games.

So those are my predictions. We will see if my good luck continues with these picks. For the Flyers sake I hope it doesn't!


Ari Baum-Cohen said...

Sure you went 7/8 - that's commendable - but you also went 0/8 in predicting the length of the series'

EnriqueFed said...

Ha, true, I guess I shouldn't be too proud of myself!