Well, that was certainly an entertaining first round, huh? Unless you’re a Leafs fan… or a Caps fan, but at least the Caps didn’t even try in Game Seven, so Caps fans shouldn’t be too broken up about it.
As we move to Round Two of the NHL Playoffs, I must say that I did pretty well with the Round One predictions. I went 7-1, and correctly picking the Red Wings, Rangers, and Bruins in seven games. The only blemish on the mark was the Blues. I’m not sure what the Blues need to do to improve, but a good start would be not playing the Kings in the playoffs.
On to Round Two we go…
Series: Chicago wins 4-3
The Blackhawks won the season series 4-0 and outscored the Wings 14-5.
Rivalry matchups like these are usually pretty hard to predict, but this one should be just a bit easier.
The Red Wings will certainly give Chicago a tough time, probably too tough a time for Chicago’s liking, but they don’t quite have the firepower to overcome the depth of the Blackhawks.
Speaking of the Devils win probability score: Chicago 70.8
Probability prediction: Blackhawks in four.
My Prediction: Blackhawks in seven.
Series: Kings win 4-3
The teams split the season series 2-2, with the Kings outscoring the Sharks 13-10.
The Kings beat a team that I thought had a good chance of making it to the Final, so that has to count for something, I guess.
The Sharks beat the Canucks pretty handily, but I feel the Canucks just weren’t as good as many thought they were.
This is definitely a very hard series to predict: It could be very high scoring, which gives the edge to San Jose, or it could be low scoring, and played tightly and physically, which is what the Kings would prefer.
I think it falls somewhere in between, with San Jose opening up some games, and the Kings adjusting to play their game in others.
Speaking of the Devils win probability score: San Jose 27.3
Probability prediction: Sharks in six.
My Prediction: Sharks in seven.
And the East…
Series: Pittsburgh wins 4-1
The Penguins swept the season series 3-0 and more than doubled the Sens goal total 9-4.
The Senators took advantage of a struggling Canadiens team and literally beat them up in the first round.
The Penguins struggled at times against a young, quick Islanders team, and the Senators could provide the same type of problem.
This series may come down to home ice, and the Penguins have that.
Speaking of the Devils win probability score: Penguins 33.8
Probability prediction: Pittsburgh in six.
My Prediction: Penguins in seven.
Series: Boston wins 4-1
The Rangers won two games against the Bruins in the regular season, one in OT and the other in the shootout. The Bruins won a game in regulation. The teams each scored nine goals in the season series.
The Bruins are fresh off one of the greatest Game 7 comebacks ever, while the Rangers cruised through their Game 7 against the Caps.
The Rangers continue to struggle to score goals, with their five goals yesterday bringing their goals/game average up to 2.29, and their 7.1% power play percentage is just awful.
Unless the Rangers can find their scoring touch, this series may be one-sided.
Speaking of the Devils win probability score: Bruins 19.4
Probability prediction: Boston in six.
My Prediction: Bruins in six.