NHL Playoff Predictions – Round Two


NHL Playoffs Round Two

By Allyus Fritz

Round 1 Recap

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at round one. The first round started off just like I thought it would; then things got nutty.  The Red Wings started scoring goals, the Penguins started giving up goals, and the Canucks were out before some people had even realized the playoffs had started. The Sharks vs. Canucks was the one series that I seriously botched. The Sharks were 3-0 against the Canucks in the regular season. I completely overlooked that.

Overall I picked 5 out of 8 series correctly. Two of my losses were series that went seven games. One such series was the Capitals and Rangers. I expected a lot more out of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. And how does Braden Holtby give up five goals to the Rangers at home in a Game 7? The Capitals deserve to be out after performances like that.

The Ducks let me down too. In the words of Tony Kornheiser, “I picked the Ducks to win the West… any chance I can get a redo?” I didn’t think they would win the West, but I sure as heck thought they wouldn’t choke against the Red Wings. But hey, this is why we love the NHL.

Here’s how I did:

Eastern Conference            My Prediction                 Actual Result

Islanders vs. Penguins:            Penguins in 5                       Penguins in 6

Senators vs. Canadiens:           Senators in 7                        Senators in 5

Rangers vs. Capitals:                Capitals in 7                         Rangers in 7

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins:            Bruins in 6                            Bruins in 7

Western Conference          My Prediction                 Actual Result

Wild vs. Blackhawks:                Blackhawks in 4                  Blackhawks in 5

Red Wings vs. Ducks:                Ducks in 6                           Red Wings in 7

Sharks vs. Canucks:                   Canucks in 7                       Sharks in 4

Kings vs. Blues:                           Kings in 6                           Kings in 6

Round 2 Predictions

Eastern Conference

7 Ottawa Senators vs. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins

The mighty Penguins seem to have a weakness: goaltending. We will see if Marc-Andre Fleury makes another appearance in these playoffs. Tomas Vokoun hasn’t been fantastic since he took over in Game 5 against the Islanders, but not giving up four goals a game is a start. Vokoun will have difficulty outdueling Senators netminder Craig Anderson. It’s a good thing Vokoun has Sidney Crosby on his side, who was fantastic against the Islanders. Crosby will continue to be the best player in the NHL. The Senators just came off an emotional series win against the Canadiens, but the Penguins are too good for me to go against them. Prediction: Penguins in 6

6 New York Rangers vs. 4 Boston Bruins

Both of these two original six squads are seeking a return to the Eastern Conference Finals. This is the time of the year where a hot goaltender can take over. If Henrik Lundqvist shuts down the Bruins, then the Rangers will win this series. It took a miracle for the Bruins to beat the Maple Leafs in Game 7. New York upsets Boston in one of the most exciting series of the season. Prediction: Rangers in 7

Western Conference

7 Detroit Red Wings vs. 1 Chicago Blackhawks

Just when you think the Red Wings are too old, they decide to dismantle an extremely good Ducks team in Game 7. The real question for the Red Wings is if they have anything left after such a long series. The Blackhawks swept the season series 4-0. Can Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk skate with Jonathan Toews and the other Hawks’ young guns for an entire series? My guess is no. Prediction: Blackhawks in 6

6 San Jose Sharks vs. 5 Los Angeles Kings

The Blues took a lot out of the Kings, and maybe even more than the Kings expected them to. The physical play of L.A. was eventually too much for the Blues to handle. Now the Kings get the Sharks, who just got done making the Canucks look like a minor league team. The Sharks haven’t played since May 7th, which in a way could be an advantage for both teams. San Jose will be well rested and but they may have lost their edge as well. The real battle here will be between the goaltenders. Antti Niemi will have to outduel Jonathan Quick if the Sharks have any chance. I’m taking the Kings because Penner, Kopitar, and Brown are all playing the best hockey they have all year. L.A. has won 10 straight games at Staples Center. Prediction: Kings in 7

Potential Conference Final Match-ups:

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks