NHL Playoffs: Preview and Predictions for the 2nd Round

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The first round of the NHL playoffs is in the books and the sports world is still buzzing about the Boston Bruins miraculous, legendary 5-4 comeback overtime win  in game 7 over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.  They’ve moved on as have seven other teams and they’re not all the top seeds.  Both seven seeds made it.  Both six seeds made it.  Of course each conference top seed made it.  Result of the lockout shortened season?  Not too sure about that.  Hockey always seems to find an upset or two, just look at last year with the eight seed Los Angeles Kings who won the Stanley Cup.  Let’s take a look at both the eastern and western conference finals.

NHL Eastern Conference ​Semi-Finals:

​anderson#7 Ottawa Senators vs. #1 Pittsburgh Penguins:

The best goalie in this series is the Senators ​Craig Anderson​. The Ottawa Senators disposed of the injury-plagued Montreal Canadiens pretty easily, but it was Anderson who was the key to their dominance by making big saves in every game.  He is going to have his hands full against the Pittsburgh Penguins; they are the best offensive team in the NHL Playoffs. Despite their own goalie futility, the Penguins have an offense that is second to none.  They can put the puck in the net almost at ease it seems at times.  So, how will Anderson stop ​Sidney Crosby​, ​Evgeni Malkin​ and company?  It’s not going to be easy.  Ottawa can make this a series, but even with the Penguins shortcomings at goalie, they will find a way to win the series.

 Prediction: ​Pittsburgh Penguins in 6

​​#6 New York Rangers vs #4 Boston Bruins:leafs

What the Boston Bruins did Monday night in game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs (coming back to win 5-4) was truly something special.  That sort of performance will either catapult the Bruins and give them clear momentum in the series against the Rangers, or the euphoria of Monday’s victory will drain this team and lead to a quick exit from the NHL Playoffs.

The Rangers are riding on the back of ​goalie ​Henrik Lundqvist​ .  Back-to-back shutouts in games 6 and 7 against the Washington Capitals got the Rangers into this round.  Their offense really hasn’t been anything special, except for game seven’s outburst of five goals. If the Rangers win this series, it will be because of Lundqvist.  In fact, Lundqvist is the only reason why this series will even be close at all.  Boston is a better defensive team and has more offensive capability.  They will use the momentum from their win against the Maple Leafs and find a way to win this series.

Prediction: Boston ​Bruins in 6

​NHL Western Conference Semi-Finals:

​blackhawks#7 Detroit Red Wings vs. #1 Chicago Blackhawks:

The Red Wings had to begin their postseason mentality during the final week of the regular season.  They had to win their final three games just to make the NHL Playoffs.  So they were ready for the Anaheim Ducks and came up with the upset.  But this is a very tall task against the Blackhawks.

Chicago has the most depth out of any of the remaining playoff teams. They were the best team during the regular season. They had what,  a 24 game point streak correct? Chicago swept all four meetings with Detroit during the regular season, and in their last playoff series as Western Conference rivals before Detroit moves to the Eastern Conference, the Blackhawks get the last laugh.  Pretty easily too.

Prediction: Chicago ​Blackhawks in 6

​#6 San Jose Sharks vs. #5 Los Angeles Kings:kings

The Sharks swept the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings lost the first two games of their series against the St. Louis Blues before rattling off four in a row, so both teams come in on hot streaks.  The Sharks have never been a great playoff team, but this year may be different.  The long layoff may hurt them in this game though.

Los Angeles has struggled to score goals and the Sharks are more than capable of exploding for a few goals.  Kings goalie ​Jonathan Quick​ is going to have to be on top of his game.  This series is a toss-up.  Both teams are very evenly matched.  This will be the best of the four series and unfortunately because it is late, only the west coast and avid hockey fans will see it.

Prediction: ​L.A. Kings in 7

Enjoy the second round of the NHL playoffs.  If they’re as good as the first round, we are in for a real treat.

YDCFF.com would like to thank Nathan Stacken for contributing this post.

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  • Defense 28

    not that it has anything to do with the boys being a long suffering season tix holder of the Rangers I predict a Ranger Blackhawk cup final but ultimately I think Patrick Kane and co. take the cup in 6 games.

    • MichaelValentino

      Defense 28 I wouldn’t mind a Rangers-Blackhawks (or Bruins-Blackhawks) finals – I’m old school, what can I say?  However, I think it will come down to Pittsburgh or Boston from the East. The Hawks have the best combination of defense-goal tending-penalty killing-offense (at least, full strength offense – their special teams with the man advantage leave something to be desired). Including the regular season, the Hawks now stand at 41-8-5 through 54 games. They only played two brutal periods in the entire regular season. It will take a lot – and probably six or seven games – to be Pittsburgh in the finals and probably five or six to beat the Bruins or Rangers, but I think we’re going to be celebrating in Chicago in June. (I’m sure hoping it works out that way, at least.)

      • Defense 28

        MichaelValentino Defense 28 big duncan keith fan good luck with your hawks.