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Last night round one ended with two game sevens and the late game took double overtime to declare the winner. If round one showed us anything, it’s that today’s NHL is becoming harder and harder to predict. I managed to go 4 for 8 in round one but only was able to call a perfect series only once. I called the upset of the Capitals over the Bruins but let’s be honest part of that prediction was wishful thinking.
There have been many surprises in the first round and the Flyers Penguins match up gave us some of the most entertaining hockey that we have seen in a long time. Can anything match that series? I doubt it. The second round appears to be made up of teams who play a solid defensive system and have good goaltending to go with it. My thoughts are that we may be in for a lot of one goal games and potentially a record breaking amount of overtimes as well. But what do I know? Maybe round two will be just as unpredictable as round one and they will shock everyone with a high goal count. Either way here are my predictions for round two.
RANGERS VS CAPITALS
Raise your hand if you believed it would take the Rangers seven games to beat the Senators. Hard to believe but that is exactly what happened. Now the Rangers get set to take on the seventh seeded Capitals, a team who upset the defending cup champions in the Boston Bruins. Man it makes me happy to say that. Can the Caps do it again? Maybe, but I’m betting that Holtby’s magical run will come to end at some point during this series. The Bruins also did not crash the net as much as they should have and I predict the Rangers will and that could be enough to get to him. King Henrik will also be a factor as this will be his first time playing in the second round and you know he wants to make it count. Again, this could go either way but let’s not forget that the Rangers where first in the East for a reason.
Prediction: Rangers in seven
FLYERS VS DEVILS
One thing I can say with a sense of certainty about this series is that the Flyers are not going to lose by a score of 10-3 against the Devils. Sure the Devils have some guys that can score but they simply don’t play that style of hockey and I doubt that they will let themselves be goaded into doing so. New Jersey barely squeaked past the Panthers and it’s hard to imagine them getting past the Flyers. Here is a team who took a surprising 3-0 series lead against the Penguins and then lost two in a row going into game six. Everybody believed that the Pens would win that game six and maybe even win game seven but when we all thought we had it figured out, the Flyers proved everybody wrong with their best game of the series. Odds are the Flyers will only get stronger as this series moves along and as of right now they are the team to beat in the East.
Prediction: Flyers in six
BLUES VS KINGS
To the dismay of many Canadians the Kings upset the Canucks in only five games and they may be the cause of Luongo playing his last game in Vancouver. The Blues also won their series in five games ousting a Sharks team that continues to choke in the playoffs no matter where they are seeded. This will be a tight series as both teams are well balanced and have solid goaltending. The difference in my opinion is in the skill level of the Kings. When you look at the line-up the Kings have more game breakers and Quick is the superior goaltender. My thoughts are the Kings will upset the Blues like they did the Canucks it will just take longer than five games.
Prediction: Kings in seven
COYOTES VS PREDATORS
Here is another tight series to predict. Two more defensive minded teams will solid goaltending. Rinne or Smith? To me, hands down Rinne and that may be all the Predators need. In round one Rinne made every save look easy against the Red Wings and there is no reason to believe that the Coyotes will be able to do any better. Phoenix will still be a threat however, as they are very stingy in giving up goals and have a couple of gritty forwards that can catch you off guard but that simply won’t be enough. The Predators really stacked up their roster heading into the playoffs and so far it’s been paying off. The interesting thing with the Preds is that they really have four lines that can score and on top of that their defensemen can put it in as well. This should ultimately tilt the ice in the Preds favour and they should easily advance.
Prediction: Preds in six