Well that was a fun first round, wasn't it? Amazing that tomorrow the second round begins. Time for predictions on the second round series, with some blurbs for the series attached to each.
Pittsburgh over Ottawa in 6
-- I know the Senators were really good against Montreal, and that the Penguins were on the verge of going down 3-2 to the Islanders if they didn't switch goaltenders. I have a feeling that series was more first round jitters and pressure getting to the Penguins than being indicative of the Penguins in truth. The Senators will give the Penguins trouble, especially if Jason Spezza comes back, but Pittsburgh will have learned from their first round mistakes. This series will be close, with Craig Anderson likely stealing a game or two. The release of some pressure will send the Penguins through.
Boston over NY Rangers in 7
-- Talk about two completely different ways to win a Game 7. The Bruins used a historic 3rd period comeback and OT win, while the Rangers just whitewashed the Capitals on their home ice. When these two teams meet up, it will likely be a slugfest with plenty of low scoring games and lots of hitting. The Rangers will likely hold serve on home ice, and it's just a matter of whether Boston can at TD Garden. I think they can. The X-Factor is the Rangers power play, which if it can ever find some consistency, will be the difference between New York advancing, or going home.
Chicago over Detroit in 5
-- This is a nice parting gift to hockey fans who will miss Chicago-Detroit playoff games. The Wings narrowly escaped Anaheim, while the 'Hawks didn't have much trouble with Minnesota. The Wings are not the same team as they have been in the past, and the Blackhawks are a different animal than the Ducks, and the matchup doesn't favor them. The scary part for Chicago is that Kane and Toews have yet to hit their stride. When they do, watch out. Detroit might cause in-game problems, but not on the series board where it matters the most.
Los Angeles over San Jose in 6
-- The Sharks are playing with house money in this series since the pressure is on the defending champs to defend. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski are the focal points for the Sharks now, taking place for the old guard who can now skate without so much burden. The Kings out muscled the Blues, and should be able to do the same thing against the Sharks. Niemi can and will steal a game, but the Kings will have just enough to oust the Sharks.