The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs have started and the Blackhawks (my team) and the Wild (my wife’s team) lost in the first round, so I don’t have a dog in this fight! Here are a few things I’m watching out for:
Senators vs Rangers
This series is going to be PHYSICAL! Both of these teams are made to hit and hit often. The Senators have a good defensive mentality, but the Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist. This series will also feature a matchup of two members of Team Sweden; Erik Karlsson and the aforementioned Henrik Lundqvist. Both have been playing excellent hockey and will be the ones to watch.
I feel that the Rangers have a bit more punch offensively and I like them to win the series in 7 games.
Capitals vs. Penguins
This series has a few great matchups going on. First, Sid versus Ovi. Since these two were drafted, they have been compared against each other. Sid is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, while Ovi has played in 84 playoff games without making it to the Eastern Conference Championship. These two go back and forth with awards, but many consider Crosby the better player due to his Stanley Cups.
Also, I find the matchup between Holtby and Fluery very interesting. Holtby has shown to be the better playoff goalie, but Fleury looked really good the first couple of games against Columbus.
These two teams had two of the best regular season records and each team had two wins against the other.
So, who wins here? I think the Penguins in 6 games.
Blues vs. Predators
As I write this, this series has already begun and the Predators won game 1, 4-3. Watching the Predators beat my beloved Blackhawks, a couple of things stood out about this team. First is their team speed. They looked like they were just flying around to the point where the Hawks just couldn’t keep up. Also, they beat Chicago to the puck most of the time. They outscored the Hawks 13-3 in four games.
I think this will be a grinding series to watch, but I have the Predators in 7 games.
Ducks vs. Oilers
This series has also already begun and the Ducks won game 1, 5-3. I have to admit, that the Oilers are the team I am rooting for here. Connor McDavid is electrifying to watch and I’d like to see the rebuild they have been going through culminate at some point. But I don’t think they are quite there yet.
I see the Ducks winning in 5 games.
So that will do it for my second round predictions. Stanley Cup playoffs are great to watch and a good time to get someone new involved. I think that all of these series are fairly evenly matched and I’d like to be pleasantly surprised with the Oilers advancing. However; I think the Penguins are going to win the Cup. They are just scary good and I think they have the depth to win it all. I don’t think any of the teams left have the depth at center that the Pens do.