Stanley Cup Round 2

Well I was 7 out of 8 for the first round. If you went with my predictions for the pool, you’d be doing ok. I missed badly on my NY Islanders vs Buffalo series. I miscounted the games on some as well, but that’s ok…I was pretty much guessing for the most part. I was very happy to watch Detroit whup Calgary though…

Well now that we’re one game into round 2, I’m going to lay it all on the line again. There are some really difficult picks this go round because alot of the matchups are real solid. But there can only be one winner in any playoff series, so we will see how it goes.

1: Vancouver Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks look amazing this season. They were definitely the best team in the west last round and possibly overall (although buffalo fans would disagree…). Is it irony that the year they drop the “Mighty” is the year that they are?  They have strong offense, with the Selanne line leading the way. They have a massive power play. They’re big and mean and Giguere is no slouch in net. Vancouver, by all accounts, is the underdog here. But…after all that, Vancouver’s defense can be stifling, and even if they miss the Luongo factor comes into play. Salo should be back and hopefully Bieksa’s not off for too long, but even if he is, Willy Mitchell is on his game. If Matt Cooke gets back as well (although from the deafening silence about him, I suspect he won’t), that game breaking big hit may come about. Obviously I’m gonna pick my team here. If they can shutdown the big line, stay out of the box and get some production from the three superstar Swedes I say Vancouver in 6. Maybe that’s alot of if’s though…

2: Detroit Red Wings vs San Jose Sharks: Game one was real solid on both sides, although San Jose won in the end from the two goals they scored halfway into the first. The Sharks have some big, nasty, chippy players, and may get under Detroit’s skin here. I don’t know who I’d pick as a better goalie between Nabokov and Hasek, but they both have the potential to come up with the big save at the right time. They both could let in a flubber or two as well. Hasek hasn’t really been the Dominator for a while now, but he’s still pretty solid and could come up with a playoff run. Or not. Sharks in 5.

3: New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres: And so that all New York series continues. Buffalo looks real awesome this year (again) and the only reason they didn’t go all the way last year was injuries. After shellacking the Islanders, their sights are set on the other NYC team and they have the nuts to do it. They are deep and strong and offensively good and defensively good. For the Rangers, Henrik Lunqvist does have the potential to be a factor as the playoffs dark horse. I’ve never thought of Ryan Miller as an Elite goaltender, but his firstgame save percentage was .941. That’s pretty incredible. Throughout the season his sv % and GAA weren’t in Luongo/Brodeur/Kiprussof leagues, but he did win 40 games… I don’t see how Buffalo can’t win this series. Regardless of who wins this one, if New Jersey wins over Ottawa the whole eastern playoffs would have been played in one geographic area. Sabres in 5.

4: Ottawa Senators vs. New Jersey Devils: Ottawa has some good offense, good defense and one of the top 5 goalies in the NHL. New Jersey has some good offense, ok defense and one of the top 2 goalies in the NHL. After peppering goals past Martin Brodeur in period one it seemed that Ray Emery just didn’t want to make him look bad and let in 3 or 4 of his own. I suspect as they settle down, there will be some spectacular goaltending in this series. Can Heatley, Alfredsson and Spezza and co’s scoring advantage outweigh Marty Brodeur’s goaltending advantage? I’ve gotta say yes and pick Ottawa to win a long hard series. Can they beat Buffalo next round tho? Ottawa in 6 or 7.

So there we go. Round two. Game on woooooot!

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