Round 1 is done, round 2 is starting up, and so far, it’s been one heck of a fun playoffs to watch. The sharks made it through to the 2nd round. The Leafs almost took out the Bruins. Washington is done. All four of the second round series look to be great ones and tough to call. No slackers here.Â
But before I predict the second round, some housekeeping. How did my predictions in the first round turn out?
In the east I picked: Pens over Islanders, Montreal over Ottawa. Rangers over Capitals and Toronto over Boston.
Reality: Pens (but New York scared the hell out of them. well done!); Ottawa, Rangers and Boston. Â two out of four. I was right in predicting Toronto/Boston to be a coin flip, though. That was a hell of a series. Both the Islanders and the Leafs can feel proud at how well they did and hopefully build on this, although the Toronto loss could be crushing. Hope not. The Capitals look tired, and as a franchise, this current mix of players is fading. their window has closed. Montreal could have won that series, but congrats to the Sens for not letting them.Â
In the east I picked: Chicago over Minnesota, Anaheim over Detroit, LA over St. Louis. Â and San Jose over Vancouver.Â
In reality: Chicago was never really challenged, but that’s been true all season. Detroit squeaked past Anaheim. LA beat St. Louis, but again, that team, impressed me and can build on this season. and San Jose swept Vancouver (really? REALLY? didn’t see that coming). I’m not sure how San Jose swept the Canucks. Vancouver’s a team with a Â lot going for it — and significant problems, of which I think the goaltending problem is the least of them. Not sure how to fix that team right now. Detroit? As I always say, never bet against detroit — they seem to find a way, but that team isn’t what it was, and it’s fading towards a rebuild. Still, dangerous and they showed it.Â
The best hockey is out west by a long shot. And it’s been a lot of fun.Â
So, 2-2 in the east, 3-1 in the west. 5-3 overall. Not bad. I still have time to drop myself below .500 for the playoffs, and if tradition holds, I will.
2nd round picks:
Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa: should be an interesting series, but I see nothing about Ottawa that makes me think they can stop the pens. Pens in 5.
Rangers vs. Bruins: Should be tough, should be physical, should be exhausting. Should be Boston. In 5. Sorry, Ranger fans. But I don’t think I’d bet money on it. or bet on whoever survives out of this round to win the next.
Chicago vs. Detroit: another fun series, but reality should hit the wings here. Hawks in 5.Â
San Jose vs. LA: For me, the series to watch in the 2nd round, and not because it’s got the sharks. should be the most interesting series in the second round. Closely matched, well played, hard, physical. Â Either team could win it. I’m going to go for the Sharks in 6. But I wouldn’t be surprised to be wrong.Â
So, summary: Penguins and Bruins in the east, Chicago and San Jose in the west. My original picks for Chicago and Penguins for the final (pens winning) stand, and I see no reason to think that’s wrong. Yet.
On to round 2!Â