I went 7-1 with my first round predictions, with the only blemish being with my beloved Canucks. I started this post earlier, but had to come back to it with the Leafs providing the biggest game 7 3rd period collapse in NHL playoff history. Ok enough Leafs harassment…on with the picks.
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (7) Ottawa
Prediction: Pens in 7
The annoying storyline that will dominate the start of this series will be the Cooke and Karlsson storyline. That story will die quickly and instead the focus will be the hot Craig Anderson vs. the offensive powerhouse Pens. I think in the end the Pens are just too deep for the young Sens to handle. The Sens will give the Pens everything they can handle though and I see this one going the distance.
(4) Boston vs. (6) New York Rangers
Prediction: Rangers in 6
Both of these teams must be a little weary coming off emotional 7 game series’ in the first round. I picked the Rangers to make the cup final in my pre-season picks so I guess I have to keep riding with them. These two teams match up well in regards to size, goaltending, defence, grit, coaching, etc…but the reason I like the Rangers most in this series is they seem to be the healthier squad coming into the series. Boston’s D were dropping like flies in the latter part of the Leafs series and will struggle if the likes of Seidenberg, Ference and Redden remain out for long.
(1) Chicago vs. (7) Detroit
Prediction: Hawks in 6
These 2 teams played each other close all season long, with many of the games needing OT. The Hawks in my opinion are just too deep up front and in the back for the Wings to handle. The Wings young D will struggle against the high powered Chicago offense. I also have a bunch of Hawks in the playoff pool so I need them to win.
(5) Los Angeles vs. (6) San Jose
Prediction: Kings in 7
This one is a toss up in my opinion. I give the edge to the Kings because they are the champs and they know what it takes to win…while the Sharks have Joe Thornton…However, the Kings better be careful not to take careless penalties like the Canucks did because the Sharks PP is lethal.