Round 2: Results and Predictions
Three game 7's, an 8 over 1 victory, and the cup favorites knocked out... round one was everything we hoped for and then some. While we have about a 20 hour break between rounds here, I thought I would make some more predictions for round two as well as take a look at some correct predictions and some predictions I was WAY off on in the first round.
My HOPES for round one were way more accurate than my THINKS for round one. I guess that's what I get for thinking like an analyst. My record for predictions when acting like I knew what I was talking about was 3 for 8, while the fan side of me went 7 for 8. I think next round I'll go with my gut, not my over-analytic brain. My only miss was Ottawa over New York, which was about as close as it gets.
As for my other predictions, I spot on in my prediction of San Jose and Vancouver getting the early boot, but my prediction of the Red Wings going deep was about as far off as I could get with their being eliminated first.
On to the fun stuff:
It's awesome to see the west shake out like it did. No matter what happens, we'll have a west representative that has never won a cup. The east ALMOST came out in a similar fashion but with game seven wins by New York and New Jersey, Florida and Ottawa missed their chances.
I also love to see the "defense first" style emerging in the west. I'm a firm believer in this type of system and I love seeing it rewarded for the four teams left out west. It might be a bit more tedious to watch but it's hockey the way it should be played, from the back-end out.
#2 Blues vs. #8 Kings
The Blues and Kings both handled their opponents quickly in the first round, one an upset and one not. They've had some time to sit around and evaluate their second round tactics, however, they're not going to want to change much. Both teams thrived in all categories. The Kings found their scoring and their defense won games. The same could be said for the Blues, although their scoring hasn't lack as much as the Kings throughout the year. The Kings, in my opinion have the greater depth at forward, however the Blues are close and have found consistence in their balance of youth and veteran goal scorers.
Prediction: Kings in 7
There's going to be very few goals in this series as the depth on both teams in scoring won't be able to keep a consistent beat on the defense and goaltending on either side. If the Kings big guys can find a way to break through or keep their consistency from the first round, we'll have yet another upset.
Question Mark of the series: Once again. Philly west. Jeff Carter better find his stride and Mike Richards needs to show he can be that game changer he can be from game 1 against the Canucks.
#3 Coyotes vs. #4 Predators
The Coyotes played an amazing game 7 and seem to have just about the perfect amount of time off before round two. However, the way the Predators quickly handled the Red Wings makes them scary for any opponent. If the Predators have an answer for the scoring depth of the Red Wings, I don't hold out much hope for the Coyotes unless their grittiness can find them dirty goals on a regular basis. The Predators have just one thing to worry about for this series, vezina candidate snub Mike Smith. He's not human.
Prediction: Predators in 6
Mike Smith will steal a game or two and the home crowd in Phoenix will energize the Coyotes enough to win at least one at home but the Predators look like the heavy favorite to me.
Question Mark of the Series: Mike Smith. Phoenix's defense is good, but the Nashville forwards will wear them down. Mike Smith will have to be the star.
#1 New York Rangers vs. #7 Washington Capitals
The Capitals resiliency was prevalent in their series versus the Bruins. They really proved they belonged in the post season. On the other side, the Rangers showed their weaknesses in the series against the Senators. A series that most agreed would end early, went 7 games and showed that the Rangers can be beaten. The Rangers are still the favorites, but an upset is not out of reach.
Prediction: Rangers in 6
Question Mark of the series: Brayden Holtby. If Holtby can be as spectacular in this series as he was against the Bruins, the Capitals will have a great chance at an upset.
#5 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils
Martin Brodeur vs. Ilya Bryzgalov. If this series comes down to goaltending it could go any possible way. Bryzgalov could show March form and shut it down or be the strainer he was in the first round. Brodeur could be amazing like he was the last few games against Florida or show his age like he did most of the season. This series favors the Flyers, especially if they get Grossman or Mezsaros back quickly. Defense favors Philly. Offense favors Philly. Goaltending favors whichever way the coin lands (with the Devils being slightly more favored). Flyers are poised for an Eastern Conference championship but you can never really count the Devils out.
Prediction: Flyers in 5
Question Mark of the Series: Bryzgalov. Once again, his shakiness or otherwise will more than likely decide the outcome of every game in this series.
On a separate note, check out these awesome illustrations by Scott Pattullo. One for each matchup of the playoffs so far.