Thursday, April 24, 2008

Round Two Playoff Predictions

Well, I went 4-4 in the first round of the NHL playoffs, which puts me on a level with the Globe's David Shoalts and slightly behind Maggie the Monkey and the Globe's NHL scout, who were both 5-3. Hey, a little better and I could have a job in this league! Let's see if I can channel Allan Maki or Eric Duhatschek instead, who were 8-0 and 7-1 respectively. Here's my thoughts on Round Two.


Montreal versus Philadelphia: Habs in six

The Canadiens slept through much of the first round and let Boston take them to seven, but they turned it on when it counted, winning the decisive seventh game 5-0. Rookie goalie Carey Price appears to be back in world-beating form, and you don't want to bet against Montreal with a hot rookie goalie (see Dryden, Ken; Roy, Patrick). Montreal also has reasonable depth on both offence and defence.

Pittsburgh versus New York: Penguins in six

The Rangers did better than I expected in the first round, knocking off always-dangerous New Jersey. They're in good form, and "Swedish King" Henrik Lundqvist looks to be at the top of his game, but I think Pittsburgh's tremendous offensive firepower will prove too much for them.


Detroit versus Colorado: Avalanche in seven

This will be the series to watch: the greatest rivalry of the 1990s is back for Round Two, with many of the same names and faces (Foote, Forsberg, Sakic, Osgood, Lidstrom, Draper and McCarty, to name just a few). Jose "Hair Loss" Theodore's back in Hart Trophy form for the Avalanche, which gives them an edge over Detroit and their aging netminder Chris "Still in the league?" Osgood, who actually looks like a spring chicken next to Dominik "Washed Up" Hasek. Both sides are full of wily veterans, but Colorado's balanced offense should push them over the top.

San Jose versus Dallas: Dallas in seven

This should be billed as the "Battle of the Choke Artists": both teams have been hovering around the edges of contention for a while, but haven't been able to make that last jump. For Dallas, goaltender Marty Turco's proven that last year's strong performance against the Canucks wasn't a fluke with his spectacular play against the Ducks. For the Sharks, I'm not sure if Patrick "Not Clutch" Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov can overcome their normal playoff deficiencies. This could be close, but Dallas knocked off the defending cup champions last round, who I (along with many others) had picked to repeat. Thus, I have to go with them here.

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