Playoffs

THE BATTLE FOR THE CUP: SECOND ROUND PREDICTIONS

SCF2014What an end to the first round with three game sevens and the end of a beautiful, almost predictable, San Jose collapse – have the Sharks become the ultimate chokers in the playoffs, does this latest epic collapse put the crown on their heads? (Oops, too soon?).

With that said, how did we do in the first round?

We aced the Eastern Conference with the Bruins, Canadiens, Penguins and Rangers all winning, while we split the results in the Western Conference.

The Ducks and Blackhawks won, while the Wild and Kings upset our picks in Game 7 – we were within a MacKinnon goal and a 3-game collapse from a perfect first round.

And without further adieu, we’re onto the second round with the Bruins and Habs kicking things off on Thursday night.

Here are our picks for the second round:

 

 

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens

Nasty, ugly, brutal, crushing, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking – this second round matchup between North American sports’ most bitter rivals will be all that and so much more.

The playoff history is lopsided in the Habs favor, with them hold a 24-9 series record over their American rivals – but the tide has turned in recent memory, with the Bruins winning in the last two match-ups.

canadiensWe know the goalies are top notch, we know the usual suspects and we know that penalties galore are to be expected – for me, the key to winning could be in who doesn’t retaliate and who manages to keep their tempers under control.

Prediction: Montreal in 6

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Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers

Surviving scares, these two teams managed to make it into the second round but it could have easily been the Blue Jackets against the Flyers – with both teams digging deep to find a way to win.

The biggest difference between these two teams starts in net, with Henrik Lundqvist holding a clear advantage over the calamitous Marc-André Fleury – who single handily did as much as he could to give the Blue Jackets a series win.

All that aside, the Penguins have history on their side and have beaten the Rangers in ever series they’ve met. This time around, Rick Nash and rangerscompany will be looking to take advantage of sloppy defence and weak goaltending to break that goose egg.

For me, the glaring issues in net and the sloppiness will be too much with the Rangers taking advantage and running away with the series.

Prediction: Rangers in 6.

 

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

Balanced scoring and responsible play helped the Wild get past the Avalanche and to be fair, the same could help them sneak by the Blackhawks in the second round.

It may not be enough though, with the Chicago offence on fire after scoring 14 goals in the final four games of their series against the Blues, add in the fact that Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper is questionable and  Ilya Bryzgalov is not the most reliable of goalies, this series could be over before it begins.

hawksI give the Wild credit for knocking off Patrick Roy’s young, inexperience team, but for me the Chicago playoff experience and form make this an easy prediction.

Prediction: Chicago in 6

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Anaheim Ducks v LA Kings

Let’s all take a collective moment and let it out: WHAT THE HELL SAN JOSE!?

Okay, now that we’ve covered that – how about those Kings? Coming back from being down 0 – 3 in a series, the fourth team ever to do that by the way, and stealing the series from the Sharks was impressive – but can they take that momentum and turn it into a Western Final berth?

Anze Kopitar was stellar in the first round and the Kings will ask for more of the same, he’ll have to contend with the likes of Ryan Getzlaf in this round and that should be a fun battle to watch.

For me the big question for this matchup is pretty clear: Goaltending.

Jonathan Quick vs maybe a healthy Frederik Anderson, but perhaps a Jonas Hiller (Without confidence of course….) – Old Brucey will need to decide, but either way the Ducks need a 180 turn around on the goaltending scale.
Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.32.13 PMThis is easily the toughest series for me to predict, but I’m going to give the edge to the Kings – maybe it’s their amazing twitter account that wins me over?

Prediction: Kings in 7

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Henry writes about his two passions the Beautiful Game and the Brutal Game – whether you’re a die hard Soccer fan or passionate hockey fan, he’s got you covered. 

You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets about sports far too much.

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Playoff Predictions (First Round)- 09/10

So, we started this last year and well, I figured i’d bring back the predictions for this year.

Last year I’d stated “Wow, its that time again? Leafs aren’t in the playoffs, so I’ve got nothing better to do then throw out some predictions and see what happens. ”

Looks like its the same situation, so here they are for the first round:

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The East – The East is very even once you get past Pittsburgh and Washington, so alot of the first round will be going deep.

Washington (1) v Montreal (8) – Washington has learned alot from last years dissapointing loss to the Pens in the playoffs, and an offence that can score at will has shown no signs of slowing down. Montreal struggled throughout the season and to pull it off will need goaltending near perfection.
Prediction: Washington in 5

New Jersey (2) v Philly (7) – With Marty in net New Jersey has the goaltending advantage and the added offensive power of Ilya makes NJ a powerhouse to watch out for; Only question will be if Kolvy decides to turn up for the playoffs. Philly has a good, young core but won’t have enough to beat the Devils in seven.
Prediction: New Jersey in 7

Buffalo (3) v Boston (6) – This is the closest matchup in the first round for the east but I think that Ryan Miller has the edge over Tim Thomas, and has shown he cant steal games all season. Can Tyler Myers continue his hot streak? Will Boston’s offence that has lacked so much this season pick it up?
Prediction: Buffalo in 6

Pittsburgh (4) v Ottawa (5) – Don’t expect Crosby and the gang to show any signs of slowing down, with Fleury rested for the playoffs the Pens will make short work of an Ottawa club that showed inconsistency throughout the season.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5

The West

San Jose (1) vs Colorado (8) Anderson has been the story this season in Colorado, coming within 2 games of breaking Roy’s consecutive start record for the Aves, however, he isn’t playoff tested and San Jose has alot to prove, now known as a consistant choke-artist in the playoffs. San Jose will either sweep or drop the first two, and win in seven.
Prediction: San Jose in 7

Chicago (2) vs Nashvlle (7) Nashville just won’t have the firepower to compete with Chicago, and the goaltending edge goes to Niemmi who has been hot going into the playoffs.
Prediction: Chicago in 5

Vancouver (3) vs L.A. (6) Vancouver made the playoffs with the Sedin Twins leading the charge and Luongo looking terrible since the Olympic break. If the Cannucks are going to go anywhere they need Lou to step up and stop letting in easy goals. LA is a team that has shown all year they can score at will and Lou will need to be on top of his game in what will be a tough first round showdown.
Prediction:
Vancouver in 6

Phoenix (4) vs Detroit (5) I love that a year ago the Yotes were the laughing stock of the league and now finish fourth in the West, however, Detroit got reaaaaaally hot heading into this year’s playoff and has a chip on their shoulder after a tough season. This IS the closest pairing this playoffs, but edge goes to the experience of the Red Wings.
Prediction: Red Wings in 6