Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Predictions

6 for 8 in the first round, and my West cup team has choked on the dust (thanks San Jose). So now it's time to turn around and predict how the second round will go.

BOS over MTL in 6:

The previews for the Eastern conference series are going to be quite boring since I predicted these pre-playoffs, but my thoughts on them still stands. Montreal isn't built to play against Boston, and the B's have that extra ability in them to push around a lighter, smaller team like the Habs. But with the dynamic of a MTL-BOS series, it means that this one could go for awhile. It wouldn't surprise me to see Montreal give Boston a big scare, but the Bruins are going to come away winners in the end.

NYR over PIT in 6:

Was the Marc-Andre Fleury Game 6 near debacle what he needed to clear his head? Penguins fans certainly hope so. There are 2 very interesting forces at play in this series, and they're both not good for the respective teams. The Pens we know have a goaltender that can melt down at any time, and the Rangers have a mental block to putting their foot on the throat of the opponent when they need to, except in Game 7. I don't think this series goes that far, and the Rangers have the horses to outlast the Penguins, that is if Rick Nash can start scoring. Marty St. Louis has chipped in, so has Brad Richards, and the auxiliary pieces have done their job, but if Rick Nash can get going the Rangers will be tough to stop. In a series that could come down to goaltending (since Sidney's been a bit invisible, and I know Malkin finally has found something), the Rangers have the better man between the pipes.

CHI over MIN in 5:

Minnesota needed that series win far more than Colorado did for a plethora of reasons, but good luck facing the team that basically steamrolled them in 5 last year. The Blackhawks are the defending champs for a reason, and now that they've fought back from their adversity against St. Louis, they will be obviously hard to beat back. Minnesota's goaltending situation is also very sketchy, and that's not because of Ilya Bryzgalov's views on the universe. This series feels like a quickie, and probably will end up as one.

 LA over ANA in 5:

This is another series that will probably end Quick (pun 100% intended). LA reverse swept San Jose, and Anaheim struggled to put away the plucky Dallas Stars. Aside from the obvious "good for hockey" this series is (the only series I've wanted to see more in the playoffs than this one is a selfish Florida-Tampa one), the Kings are completely superior to the Ducks in every facet, and that doesn't include Bruce Boudreau's playoff allergy that he did finally overcome. The Kings are better, riding a hot goaltender, and have all the momentum in the world. It will take a Chicago or Boston to put them to rest this season.

Not really all that surprising, but the picks are my picks.