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Round 2

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Hockey-wise, it won’t be easy to improve on a round that included a once-in-a-multiple-lifetimes collapse. But I’ll try to keep the atypical prescience of my 6-2 first round record going, and I’ll be joined once again by the great Brad Plumer.

CHICAGO (1) vs. DETROIT (7): As Charles Pierce put it, the Red Wings are the Spurs of the NHL, only in some way more impressive because they continue to win without their equivalent to Duncan. Still, the Red Wings winning this series would be the only outcome in this round that would surprise me. Their only edge on Chicago is in goal, and Crawford has been solid enough. I said before the playoffs that I thought only the LA/St. Louis winner could beat Chicago in the conference, and I’ll stick with that. BLACKHAWKS IN 5. PLUMER: Hawks in 6.

LOS ANGELES (5) vs. SAN JOSE (6) A very interesting series, obviously; San Jose looked very impressive against Vancouver. The Kings are much better positioned to handle San Jose’s depth up the middle, though, and since LA is both tighter defensively and outscored the Sharks, assuming that Niemi outperforming Quick this year was a small sample size fluke I think they’re the better team here. KINGS IN 7. PLUMER: Kings in 5.

PITTSBURGH (1) vs. OTTAWA (7) Brad (SPOILER ALERT!) will be picking the Senators, and he may well be right. The Sens are an excellent team and I was stupid to pick against them in the last round (since they were of similar quality in the underlying stats to Montreal despite playing most of the year without their best player.) If the comically overrated Fleury was still starting for Pittsburgh I’d probably pick Ottawa too, but I suspect his second consecutive complete metldown in the first round will prove a blessing to the Penguins, who with a Generic NHL goaltender in Vokun to replace Fleury will probably get enough saves to get by Ottawa. PENGUINS IN 6. PLUMER: Sens in 6


BOSTON (4) vs. N.Y. Rangers (6)
A particularly hard series to pick, between two somewhat inconsistent teams with similar overall numbers. I’ll pick the Rangers only because they seem a little healthier going in, but I would expect multiple overtimes in this one. RANGERS IN 7. PLUMER: Rangers in 7 (provided Lucic hasn’t broken all their knees by Game 2.)

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