Just a few hours ago I posted the Official Puck Propaganda Power Rankings predictions for the second round and now it’s time for me to give my own completely unbiased view of what will happen. I did surprisingly well with my opening round predictions, correctly choosing seven of the winners, but only getting a few of the games played guesses right. The lone series I picked wrong I did get the number of games correct and in my prediction I did mention the fact that I should have went with what my gut was telling me, but oh well, you win some you lose some.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators
The Senators have as good a chance as any team of upsetting the mighty Penguins, especially if they get more amazing goaltending from Craig Anderson and continued excellence from Erik Karlsson. They have the key ingredients the Islanders were missing to pull it off, that being strong goaltending and solid defense, but they may not have enough offense to get it done. In the end, I think the Penguins have enough firepower to get the 3+ goals per game they need to win this, but it’ll be close. Even closer if Tomas Vokoun fails and they have to go back to opening round pariah Marc-Andre Fleury.
Penguins in 6.
Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers
I foolishly picked against the Rangers last time and I won’t make that same mistake again. Obviously the Bruins can never be counted out, just look at that comeback in Game 7 for all the evidence you need, but the fact is the Bruins played like ass for much of the opening round series against the Leafs and they can’t do that against the Rangers if they hope to win. Boston may be strong, but right now the Rangers are stronger. Stronger defense and goaltending takes this one in a close, low scoring affair, though there may be more offense than I expect if Tyler Seguin and Rick Nash wake up.
Rangers in 7.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings
I don’t see this series being very close at all, on the ice at least. The Blackhawks will dominate the play most of the time, but the Red Wings always seem to find a way to win games, so count on Jimmy Howard stealing at least one and the combination of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg willing them to another one. That’ll be as close as they get though. Chicago is simply too stacked from top to bottom on both offense and defense, with their only weakness possibly being in goal, but that hasn’t stopped them before. Don’t worry, they’ll face their first real challenge soon enough.
Blackhawks in 6.
Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks
The Kings are gonna feel like this series is a walk in the park compared to their last one. St. Louis gave Los Angeles everything they could handle in the physicality department, while San Jose doesn’t stand a chance of matching up against this, being one of the least physical teams in the playoffs. That being said, the Sharks do have better goaltending than the Blues (Vezina candidate Antti Niemi) and they have a much better offense (Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture are both average 2 points per game thus far in the playoffs), so if they can somehow avoid being steamrolled into submission they may be able to make a series out of it. Pretty unlikely though if you ask me.
Kings in 5.