On Thursday the beginning of Round 2 of the Stanley cup playoffs is starting. Some pretty interesting matchups. Ofcourse all eyes are going to be on the Pit/Wsh series. Its the Crosby vs Ovechkin show. I should probably include Malkin, but I’m not going to. Why? It doesn’t seem to matter how much he does he does not get the respect and attention Crosby does. Kinda odd, but oh well.
Anyways here’s my predictions for the first round:
Detroit(2) vs Anaheim(8)
Alright, now this is going to be my upset for this round. Everyone is counting Anaheim out, so I’m going to take the underdog. Anaheims top line looked incredible against the sharks. Ryan, Perry, and Getzlaf do so many things right at both ends of the ice. In the offensive zone, they are going to have to tire out that Detroit defence that has’t looked as promising this year. They need to cycle it and keep the puck down low, and crash the net hard when they get opportunities. Osgood is by far the worst goalie left in these playoffs (he won his cups infront of an always amazing detroit team). As for Detroit, they just need to keep doing what they do. Try to keep puck possession and get screens infront of Hiller. Hiller is the real deal, and they are going to have to get some quality chances to score, he’s not letting any softies by. And with that I think if Anaheim gets they’re big line rolling, and gets a couple bounces their way, there is no reason why they can’t win this series.
Ducks in 7
Vancouver(3) vs Chicago(4)
A hot St. Louis team came into Vancouver thinking they had a chance. Luongo and the Canucks shut that thought down pretty quick. The hottest team the second half of the year was dominated by a bigger, better squad. The Nucks are all you can ask for in a team, they have speed, skill,grit,size and they all play with emotion. Did I mention Luongo? Vancouver needs to get their physical game right where it was in the first series. They need to be hammering guys like Toews, Kane, Sharp, and yes, Havlat! Havlat is probably the biggest threat to the Nucks. Shut him down and they will be fine. That hard hitting defence of Vancouver needs to be all over these guys. If the Hawks want this series, they are going to need more of the production they have been getting from their defence. Barker has been incredible on the PP. He needs to keep it up. Campbell is going to have to produce. The Chicago forwards are going to be in tough against the big Vancouver defence, and if Chicago doesn’t get some points from their D, they aren’t going to have a shot at this series. Chicago will steal a couple with their PP, but Van is going to take the series.
Nucks in 6
Boston(1) vs Carolina(6)
Carolina just wrapped up a nice series with the Devils. Probably my favorite series. The Canes pulled through, like I thought they would. As for the 2nd round, I think their little run has come to an end. Really the only thing keeping the Canes alive is the Staal/ Whitney line, and lets not forget Cam Ward. But you need more than 3 players to make it far in the playoffs. The Bruins just have too much firepore along with a great defence, and again, lets not forget Tim Thomas (Vezina candidate). Chara and friends will need to shut down that first line of Carolina, and they will be fine. Expect Lucic to have a big physical impact like always. With that Bruin offence, I see this series ending quickly. Bruins will be almost perfect!
Bruins in 5
Washington(2) vs Pittsburgh(4)
This is the series everyone was waiting for. Well here it is. Just about the 2 best powerplays (on paper) in the league. Washington had a lot of trouble with NYR in the first round, and I’m really not sure why? Theodore definetly blew a game, but other than that, they just had trouble beating Lundqvist. Even though Ovechkin finished with 7 points, he was not spectacular by any means. 2 of his goals were meaningless, as the scores were already 4-1 and 3-0. He did not come in the clutch. Ovechkin needs more discipline. He needs to get pucks deep instead of trying to bolt through the whole team himself(Yes that one goal against NYR was amazing but cmon). He will need to be much better if they want a chance at beating Pit. As for the rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov, he is going to get tested much more against the highly skilled Pittsburgh offence. He will need to be on his game. The Penguins will need to keep getting contributions from the big 2. Aside from that, the team needs to play a good defensive game. With highly skilled guys like Ovy, Semin and Backstrom.. the Pit D are going to have their hands full. The forwards are going to have to be coming back hard to prevent odd man rushes. This is going to be the most exciting series because of the rivalries Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Semin had during the regular season. Definitly expect big ovy to be taking some runs at Crosby. This is going to go back and forth all series. Ovechkin will need to bring that high level on energy he has, but try not to get too hyped up. Sometimes he makes bad decisions when he’s on his tear. Look for Crosby to be the same composed, and highly competitive individual. On another note, it’s going to be interesting to see who outperforms who in the Gonchar/Green offensive-d man rivalry. I’m going to say with his experience, Gonchar, and with that, I think the Penguins will take it in 6.
Pens in 6
Alright well this should be an entertaining second round, so grab your beers and make your bets.
After the first round there is not that much that can be said. How big of an upset was Anaheim beating San Jose? We all knew it could happen, we were just hoping for the Sharks to pull through this time. Atleast I was (My pools are in trouble). Washington had a scare, but most of us figured they would get through the first round. Philly looked like they were going to turn the series around, but Crosby and Malkin weren’t going to let that happen. Without Reghyr, Chicago’s speedy forwards didn’t have to worry about being punished. As for Detroit, Vancouver, and Boston… well lets just say the series went the way everyone thought they would. The only real catcher was the Carolina-New Jersey series. How amazing was that? One goal games back and forth (excluding game six).
The Sharks struck out bigtime again. How long is GM Doug Wilson going to let this happen? ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE. Who’s to go? Is it Thorton or Marleau.. or is one player just not the answer. The sharks have a solid foundation. There’s no need to restructure. I think it’s time Nabakov is given the boot. He’s been riding win after win playing infront of an amazing Sharks team. While him and Toskala were playing together the Sharks finished with 107 points. Any goalie playing infront of that team could get the credit that nabakov has. I think its time for the sharks to either trade for a true winner between the pipes, or draft a solid keeper. This way they will have a good shot at the cup in a couple of years. But now that theyre out of the playoffs, a minus on the scoreboard won’t look so bad.
As Pierre McGuire would say .. Staal, Whitney, and especially Cam Ward were MONSTERS in this series. Carolina looked like the old stanley cup champs in game 7. As me and my buddies were watching (just after exams so we were loaded) … we knew that the game wasn’t just over yet. In the last 5 minutes Carolina just kept pushing and pushing. Finally Jussi Jokinen (who is not just a shootout specialist anymore) came through in the clutch scoring a goal on a beautiful pass from Pitkanen to tie it up. A minute later Staal put the icing on the series with a pretty weak goal. But you can’t blame Brodeur.. He was phenomenal. I remember counting the shots from games 4-5-6.. it was 127!! Thats averaging over 42 shots per game.. which is just nuts. Brodeur was pooped. If you looked and Lundqvist in the NYR he was tired and didn’t even have close to that many shots. Carolina was just to strong and Paul Maurice had a good strategy in place.. GET PUCKS TO THE NET. Well it worked.
Anyways its 340 in the morning and ive had a couple too many sodas… So have a good night ladies n gents