No time to sit around... the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins tonight with the Nashville Predators visiting the Vancouver Canucks. So here's my predictions. 3-5 in the opening round. Not great, so let's see if I can finish in the money for the 2nd round:
Vancouver Canucks vs. Nashville Predators
Here's the deal. The Canucks should win. But the season series was tied 2 games apiece and we know Nashville plays hard and does well with seemingly very little. They also have a top goaltender in Pekka Rinne. Advantage in nets to Nashville, but I have to pick the 'Nucks, Canada's last great white hope to bring the Cup home.
Habs Fan in LeafLand: Canucks in 6
Detroit Red Wings vs. San Jose Sharks
Wow, this is a toughie. The Red Wings are the old guard. The Sharks have always underachieved in the postseason. But "No Show" Joe Thornton showed up in the 1st round, so could this be San Jose's year? At least to get past the Wings??? The Wings are older and battered but they've gotten a lot of rest over the past week.
Habs Fan in LeafLand: Wings in 7
Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Two exciting teams with some of the league's top scorers. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green (if he's ready) against Stamkos, St. Louis, Lecavallier and Gagne. I think Tampa has the edge in goaltending if anything for experience and compete-level in Roloson. But I think Washington has figured out what they need to do to win tight playoff games and the addition of Jason Arnott at the trade deadline may be the deciding factor.
Habs Fan in LeafLand: Capitals in 6
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins
The Bruins must be riding high. They persevered against the Habs and beat their old rivals in an emotional and extremely tight 7-game series. Now they have the chance to take care of the team that was the source of their epic meltdown in last year's playoffs so they're probably drooling at the bit.
I'm not sure how Philly can win this series with their shaky goaltending. But like we saw last year, one of those goalies could possibly go on a run. Boucher is good, but not great. Leighton helped them get to the finals last year, but Bobrovski is the guy who gave them success this past season. Who knows what Coach Laviolette is going to do, but if I were him I'd go back with Bobrovski.
Boston definitely has the edge in nets with Thomas. But the Bruins are goons, and we saw it last night in their game against Montreal with the two hits on Halpern. This is going to be a dirty, rough and tumble series, and probably the most entertaining series to watch because the Flyers don't take shit.
The Flyers have crazy scoring depth and they could pick apart the Bruins defense which is average at best, especially if Chara doesn't play at his highest level. The Bruins powerplay is power-less. Nevertheless -- it kills me to say this -- but I think the Bruins will get their revenge this year. But I want to be wrong with this one ;)
Habs Fan in LeafLand: Bruins in 7
On y va!!