The first round ended with a spectacular bang last night (or, if you’re a Leafs fan, a resounding thud) when the Bruins stormed back from a 4-1 deficit in the third to beat Toronto 4-3 in OT. The second round gets going right away tonight and here are the match-ups:
PIT vs OTT
BOS vs NYR
CHI vs DET
LAK vs SJS
My big miss in the first round was picking the Islanders to upset the Penguins. They outshot them in aggregate and had the puck more at ES, but Pittsburgh got the bounces in the last couple of games. The Pens still look much more fragile to me than they have been previously, although the move to Vokoun away from the exceedingly medicore MA Fleury should help.
Ottawa upsetting Montreal didn’t overly surprise me, although I think they got lucky to get it done so quickly. Anderson continues to put up great numbers and is probably the basis of their success – at least until Karlsson finds his footing again. He wasn’t nearly as dominant in round 1 as he had been previously.
I’ll take PIT in 7 over OTT, but nervously. Crosby and Malkin are superb, but Pittsburgh’s depth and blueline looks more and more suspect to me.
As for Boston, they were less impressive in the first round than I figured, but should have enough to take out the Rangers. NY barely got by the Captials and Washington, even with Ovechkin, is nowhere near the quality of the Boston Bruins.
Boston in 6.
In the West, Chicago is probably the team to beat since they can control play and put the puck the in the net. Detroit had to grip the handlebars pretty tight to get by Anaheim (although datsyuk and Zetterberg are still great), and the Ducks aren’t anywhere near the same class of team as the Hawks.
Chicago in 6.
Finally, the Kings face the surging Sharks in what should be a great series. LA probably didn’t deserve to get past the Blues who controlled play admirably, but the Sharks aren’t quite that level of possession team. That said, they are scary on the PP and have improved since the start of the year thanks to additions of Torres and Gomez.
Tough to pick, but I’ll go with Sharks in 7.
Share your thoughts/picks in the comments.