Open Thread – Second Round Thoughts



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:







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.

  • Scary Gary

    That LA vs San Jose series is going to be good, if Niemi can keep shutting the door the sharks could win. I still think in the end LA outguns them and wins in 7.

    How about Brad Richards getting 11 minutes of ice time and one point in seven games for NY; man I’m glad we didn’t win the BR sweepstakes!

    Is Chara hurt?

    In the absence of the flaming C I’ve been cheering for the sens this year, I hope they knock off pitts.

    • TheRealPoc

      I watched this series very closely and I was actually at Game 5 in Boston on Friday. I don’t think he’s seriously hurt, but I do think he was legitimately exhausted. Playing the matchup game as religiously as Julien did in that series will grind on you…and at 35 years old, he’s not exactly a spring chicken anymore.

      • piscera.infada

        Agreed. I noticed that too.
        Therefore I think the Rangers present a legitimate problem. They have three strong lines that forecheck hard and can grind down low. The Leafs are pretty garbage in that regard.

  • piscera.infada

    I agree with most of these picks, although I disagree on Boston/New York.

    I think that will be the best series of them all, but the Rangers will win in 6. They have a team that hang with the Bruins physically, and they match up pretty well defensively and with high-end scorers (where I think they have a slight edge). Lundqvist is the reason I give NY the win in 6 versus 7.

    Perhaps I’m just optimistic as I cheer for the Blueshirts when I’m not cheering for the Flames.

    On another note, I think Bergeron v. Callahan is going to be amazing to watch.

  • piscera.infada

    PIT in 6. Would be faster if not for goaltending.

    LAK in 4. They are on a roll again and could have won the first two if not for two bad goals.

    CHI in 6. They are too good but Detroit will make it interesting.

    NY in 7. I think NY matches up against Boston. Don’t have a great feeling about this one though.

  • seve927

    I pretty much agree with your assessments completely. I’d just be too nervous with the Penguins. I think Anderson will be closer to maintaining his .950 SV% than Vokoun will be to his .958. If Karlsson gets going again, and Spezza comes back, I think the Sens are quite a bit better.

    Oh, and on second thought I’ll take the Lundquist over the Bruins.

  • mattyc

    Eastern Conference Semifinals

    (1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators

    Pens in 6. Pens have too many good forwards who are all back from injury now. If Vokoun plays (as he should – he’s the better of the Pens goalies) I think the Penguins can crack Anderson. I think Anderson is a big reason why the Sens are still playing hockey (and the Habs had 3 top 6 fwds and Price injured), but I think the Pens can crack them.

    (4) Boston Bruins vs. (6) New York Rangers

    Rangers in 7. This should be an amazing series. Frankly I’m a little surprised the Bruins got worked to 7 games (and OT!) against Toronto. Since I’m picking the Rangers to make the finals, I guess I need to pick them here, but I’m torn.

    Western Conference Semifinals

    (1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings

    Hawks in 6. They’re too good. Dastyuk and Zetterberg will make it interesting though.

    (5) Los Angeles Kings vs. (6) San Jose Sharks

    Kings in 7. I think the Sharks are really good, but I just don’t know if they can beat the Kings. Kings were the best outshooting team this year and have solid goaltending to boot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sharks win, but I think the Kings will take it.

  • piscera.infada

    LA, when playing to their potential is scary good. So much talent and depth at every position. Then you add the size and grit factor. No one can touch them as long as they show up to play and that’s what Darryl’s for. IMO, they were almost toying with the Blues.

    • I know you prefaced this with “IMO” but I totally saw the opposite. Quick was amaze balls. I realize he did give them that one OT goal but he was in the zone 98% of the time. Just hope it wears off. Can’t stand the Kings.

  • schevvy

    PIT in 5- with Vokoun taking over and Crosby being back to full health, they should have it. Also, Iggy is T3 in playoff scoring, which is awesome.

    NYR in 6- This is a tough one, but Boston was incredibly lucky to get past TO, and Rangers are an upgrade on the Leafs.

    CHI in 5- Hawks are too good. Detroit will win one at home, but that’s it. Too much depth and skill on Chicago for Detroit to handle.

    LA in 7- This will be a great series. It’s a pick-em in my opinion, but I’ll go LA since they have home ice.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I’m sure people here have read this already but Pittsburgh seems to champion the advanced stats (perhaps, as article states something other than possession stats).

    I’m sure they used same analysis to go after Iggy. I wonder if they played well or poorly in the first round through the metrics they analyze?

    I thought about this before. Pitt seems to be asking more interesting questions. I could be wrong.

    Edit | Reply #8 Jeff Lebowski March 15 2012, 04:27PM +1 1 props
    I think the technology has to improve so that truly interesting questions can be asked.

    If for example, the ice surface was put in a grid so that you could determine (with some kind of gps or motion tracking): -where the shot came from -what was in between the puck and the goalies (screens)

    This would qualify the goaltending stats. Right now they suck because not all goalies face the same kind of shots. How many goals are scored of deflections? A deflection is a shot on net, same as if it came from centre ice in the current stat perspective.

    When Kipper’s facing an odd man rush, what’s his saver percentage when there is no passes and just a shot? What happens when there is 1+ passes and he has to be athletic to make the save? How does that compare to other goalies? Also important, what is performance like in context of game situation? Key saves at crucial moments? Does some dude put up big numbers that are kind of meaningless goals ie 6th goal in 7-2 blow out or do some guys score when the team needs it most (tied? late in game? after the other team has scored? after his team has been massively outplayed and outshot? etc)

    That’s how the Mike Smith, Ilya Bryzgalov, Brian Elliots get qualified. Not by GAA and SV%

    How many more goals are scored off the rush compared to dump and chase? How much better is a team’s +/- if they dump and chase more than a puck possession team? Maybe who we think are puck possession teams actually dump and chase more to score goals.

    The science needs to innovate so that more intersting data is collected. It SEEMS that old stats are just being formulated in novel ways rather than calculating new stats.

    This has been done in baseball most effectively because there are many discrete events (fixed aspects of the game) rather than the fluidity of hockey.

    It’s definitely the way of the future but once they are able to quantify and qualify all the info with better technology it will give more focused info. IMO.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Teams have always and will always use stats to a degree and you are right, the stats used are unique to each team depending on the style they wish to employ and/or the style of play of their opponent that they wish to shut down or exploit. The stats discussed on here are most likely on a team’s radar but unless their style is measurable with those particular stats they are not used to much of a degree. I could see Corsi being important to LA and Jersey and their styles lead to strong scores. About a month ago I had a chat with a college coach and an NHL assistant about this. The college coach whose team won a championship in 2012 didn’t know what Corsi was. The NHL guy said hockey isn’t baseball. There would be just too much to get caught up in that you would lose sight of preparing your team properly. He is more concerned with measuring puck battles, retrieval, etc in an area they call Compete as well as quick puck movement as it is the style they wish to play. I know this will infuriate the stats guys and they will blast me but as someone involved in coach and athlete development, I get to chat with many people. I will say that certain stats and standards are observed especially in the identification process. Another time will be if something is jumping off the chart and is brought to the attention of the staff.
      I am not against advanced stats and I use some but as you say above, it is not always what we discuss on here that is important to the people in the game.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    OTT in 7, Anderson frustrates the Pens’ snipers

    BOS in 6, Seguin and Marchand start to get some bounces

    LA in 6, Kopitar is starting to heat up

    CHI in 5, Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, etc. 3rd line gives them alot of depth, this team is too good not to beat DET

  • RKD

    Last night proved Anderson is beatable. The Pens have way too many weapons and Ottawa while playing a trap can’t hold them off forever.

    I’m taking Pittsburgh and Boston in the East and for the West I’m going to go with LA and Chicago. I would love for those two teams to meet, it would be an epic battle.

  • RKD

    I’m not concerned with any series other than BB vs. NYR. The NYR barely made the playoffs, were average against the Caps ..7 games.. and now you experts think they’re going to get past the B’s. lol. Tukka will match Lundqvist save for save. NYR have more to watch now than just an Ovechkin..Bruins in 5 games.