No rest for the wicked, eh? A scant 24 hours after two very intriguing Game 7 implosions, we’re back at it with two first round series starting up tonight! Back to offer their thoughts are Glen, Troy and a Coin who all did surprisingly well last round!
In third place is a man who correctly predicted the Penguins, Senators, Bruins, Blackhawks, and Kings advancing, and earns an extra point for correctly calling the Hawks winning in 5, for a total of 6 points is Troy!
Troy Says: That first round was crazy! It was heartbreaking to see my Canadiens lose to an incredibly scrappy and determined Ottawa team….especially since their first goal in game 4 was EXTREMELY obviously kicked in and it completely boggles my mind as to how in the world that was actually allowed to count…..but I digress. It was a mix of fun and sad to watch the Canucks implode once again. Watching the magic that follows the Red Wings continues to amaze. They had an incredible stretch just to make the playoffs and then they defeated a loaded Anaheim team.
Back in the East watching Marc-Andre Fleury pretend to play for the Penguins while obviously being paid off by the Islanders was interesting to say the least. If the Islanders had gotten absolutely any goaltending from Nabokov they could easily be in the second round right now.
In the Boston/Toronto series my heart truly breaks for the Leafs. That was an epic and unmatched collapse. It’s all part of the learning process though. Next year will be different for the Leafs. Same with Montreal and the Islanders. They are young teams trying to get their feet wet and as they say you have to learn to lose before you can learn to win.
In second place is a man who perfectly predicted all four series in the East and called both the Blackhawks and Red Wings advancing. In addition he called the Rangers 7 game win, giving him 7 total points is Glen!
Glen Says: What an unbelievable First Round we saw! For the first time in recent memory, the Eastern Conference was more compelling and entertaining than the West.
We had the Penguins look very beatable, only to resolve things with a goalie switch. Then the Senators and Canadiens had an all-out blood war that featured some of the best quotes of the post-season. The Capitals and Leafs both gave their teams reasons to hope only to completely fall apart in different yet spectacular ways in Game 7.
The second round as a whole looks incredibly promising as we get two Original Six showdowns, a geographic battle, and of course Matt Cooke in Ottawa. Even if most of the series end quickly like they did last year, this still should be a ton of fun.
Last year in the West, everyone was amazed that perennial contenders in Chicago, Detroit, Vancouver, and San Jose all fell in the first round and everyone called it a changing of the guard. Well guess what? A year later and three of those four teams are back in the second round and they are joined by the Stanley Cup Champion – who coincidentally join the ’08 Red Wings and ’09 Penguins as the only champs since 2002 to win a series the next year – needless to say, what’s old is new again out West, and it’s pretty damn exciting!
And somehow or another the Coin was able to predict the Pens, Sens, Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks, and Sharks to advance and even more astonishing – it called the Sens and Hawks in 5 and the Rangers in 7. Yeah they coin has 9 total points…kill us all.
#1 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs #7 DETROIT RED WINGS
One more time for the last time
Troy: If you aren’t following @Eklund on Twitter…you should be. He made a point about the Red Wings that is absolutely bang on. They are by far the best coached team in the playoffs. Combine that with the fact that Chicago was not on their game in the first round and this could be a very entertaining series. I think the Wings will be a good test for the Blackhawks and I think it will be the push they need to start firing on all cylinders again. The unknown here is Howard. These teams are close enough that Howard could absolutely steal a game or two so Chicago will be able to take absolutely no short cuts. Even though Chicago wasn’t completely in their game in the first round they still took out Minny in 5 games and their captain, Jonathan Toews did not play anywhere near his capabilities. Toews won’t let that happen two series in a row.
Blackhawks in 6
Glen Says: If anyone is going to beat the Hawks this year, it won’t be the Red Wings. The Wings were lucky enough to matchup against the weakest non-Southeast Division leader in recent memory. As Troy said, the Wings are very well coached, but Babcock simply doesn’t have the horses for this race. The Hawks are just too deep and the Red Wings don’t have Lidstrom anymore. There is a reason that Ryan Sutter played a million minutes in the last round, they wanted him out there against both Kane and Toews. The Red Wings just don’t have a minute muncher anymore to do that. Thankfully there is the Original Six Factor here, because this series will be a ugly.
Blackhawks in 5.
Coin Says: Blackhawks in 5
Expect to Hear: ”How do you feel like playing a few more games?” – Ken Holland talking to his cell phone as he makes a mysterious call to Sweden.
#5 LOS ANGELES KINGS vs #6 SAN JOSE SHARKS
Gamers vs. Chokers
Troy Says: This is a series that pits two teams each having won four straight games. The Kings had a very tough start to their series but then rattled off four wins in a row against a damn good St. Louis team. San Jose however swept a disorganized and pitiful Vancouver team that completely lost themselves. That being said I think this is LA’s series to lose.
Kings in 5
Glen Says: I want to like the Sharks, really I do. I started blogging about sport in 2007, and sending e-mails to Troy for many years before that, and I picked Teal and Black to win or at least make the finals nearly every time. However, after too many disappointments, I just can’t do it. Last round I said that the winner of LA-St. Louis would make the finals, so I better stick with it. Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Anti Niemi will do their best to make a series of it, but the Kings have the experience. Oddly, this is the first time the Kings have had home ice in a playoff series since the first round of the 1992 playoffs. They were undefeated at home against the Blues…
Kings in 6
Coin Says: Kings in 6
Expect to Hear: “We’re part of the Battle of California too” – All 12 Ducks Fans
#1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. #7 OTTAWA SENATORS
CSI Ottawa: Staring Eugene Caruso
Troy Says: This is easily the series I am most looking forward to in the second round. I think Ottawa is going to be a really tough opponent for the Pens. Pittsburgh’s goaltending in the first round was horrible. They had to use Vokoun because Fleury couldn’t stop a beach ball. Now look at the other end of the rink and you’ll see Anderson. He played incredibly well against Montreal and was a huge reason why they took out my Habs in 5. Pittsburgh beat the Islanders in 6. But they did it in spite of their goaltending. Ottawa will not be that easy to overcome. Daniel Alfredsson has given his team everything and he’s proven that he still has a lot left in the tank. As Karl Eriksson gets his game back this team is only going to get better. This Ottawa team seems to have a cinderella feel to them and I think the Pens are vulnerable.
Senators in 6
Glen Says: Let’s see, one team rolled over their opponents in 5 games which included two 6-1 curb-stompings. The other had a goaltending controversy despite winning two shutouts, and survived two other overtime scares to win an incredibly close series in 6 games.
If I wrote that as a “future preview” two weeks ago you’d be expect the first sentence to be about the Pens route and the second one to be about the Sens route. Yet somehow or another, things changed and the Senators come in looking like world beaters and the Penguins come in a little shaky.
Honestly, I think that the Islanders poked the dragon here. The Penguins looked very focused in Games 6 and 7 after being tied 2-2 and going with the goalie switch. Expect Tomas Vokun to start this series but be given a short leash. The team just seems to play better in front of him. Now Evgeni Nabokov was pretty bad in the first round, I mean, not Marc-Andre Fleury bad, but pretty terrible. Expect the Penguins to have a much harder time scoring on Craig Anderson. However, Malkin, Iginla and Crosby are 2,4,5 in playoff scoring and people haven’t noticed them, so expect all three to step it up as things keep going.
This series will be fun and the games should be very close, but the Sens just can’t hang with this team that seems to be starting to click on all cylinders.
Penguins in 5 very close games
Coin Says: Senators in 5
Expect to Hear: ”It wasn’t Matt Cooke! It was Colonel Mustard in the Observatory with the Skate Blade” – Eugen Melnyk after finding the results of his forensic investigation
#4 BOSTON BRUINS vs #6 NEW YORK RANGERS
Troy Says: Another Original Six matchup! I love it! This one should be very tight. Callahan has been everything for the Rangers and with Lundqvist between the pipes they are going to be extremely tough. Boston is coming off one of the biggest Game 7 comebacks in playoff history (first team to comeback from 3 goals down in the 3rd period of a game 7) so they are certainly going to be emotionally charged. The Rangers are obviously a much different team than the Leafs and they boast much more playoff experience so they will not be a pushover. i honestly don’t have a feel for which team has the advantage in this series. In a series like this is tends to come down to goaltending and New York has the advantage there.
Rangers in 6.
Glen Says: Which team should be more excited about their Game 7 win?
The Rangers looked bad in the first two games of the series but once they got going, they never looked back. Henrik Lundqvist, the best goalie in the world is coming into this series on back-to-back shutouts and they got the win despite Rick Nash and Brad Richards not showing up much on the score sheet. If those two guys can start to play to their level, and if Chris Kreider can recapture some of the playoff magic he had last year, these guys could really make some noise.
The Bruins on the other hand are a curious story. In Games 1,3, and the last few minutes of Game 7 they looked like world beaters, but the rest of the series they looked pretty average. People are, quite rightly, praising the Leafs for hanging with the Bruins, but shouldn’t they also be asking the Bruins why they played down to the Leafs level for so long? How can a team this good be down 4-1 against a team like the Leafs? The Bruins need to figure this out or they will be in trouble. Lucky for them their Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin like finally clicked in the dying minutes of Game 7, hopefully they can keep delivering when their backs aren’t against the wall.
I took the Bruins to make the Conference final at the start of the playoffs, so I better stick with it but I think that this series will be a lot closer than I initially predicted.
Bruins in 7
Coin Says: Rangers in 4
Blackhawks over Kings in 7
Senators over Rangers in 5
Blackhawks over Senators in 6 (If it goes 7, Anderson gets the Conn Smythe no question)
Kings over Blackhawks in 7
Penguins over Bruins in 6
Penguins over Kings in 6
Kings over Blackhawks in 5
Rangers over Senators in 7
Rangers over Kings in 5
Judging by the way things went in the first round we better put our money on the Rangers here…