Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 Stanley Cup: Round 2

Well, I don't think I did very well with my Round 1 predictions.  I went 4-4 which is the worst I can ever remember going.  It just goes to show how much parity there is in the NHL these days.  On to round 2:

East:
Rangers vs Capitals:  My knock against the Caps for as long as anyone has listened to me is on their defense.  They've gotten great goaltending from Holtby, which allowed them to upset the defending champion Bruins.  But the guy in the other net has been great all year.  Henrik Lundquist just got himself nominated for this year's Vezina.  I see the Rangers in 6.


Flyers vs Devils:  Philadelphia gets another team they hate, though there is less animosity than against the Penguins.  Of all the playoff series in the first round, the Devils/Panthers series was the slowest, least passionate of them all.  If the Devils can't bring any kind of urgency to their game, the Flyers will make short work of them.  Yes, Martin Brodeur has nearly every goalie record on the face of the planet, but the Flyers' shooters made Marc-Andre Fleury (second in the league with 42 wins) look like a cardboard cutout.  Devils have no shot.  Flyers in 5.


West:
St. Louis vs Los Angeles:  This should be a great one to watch.  St. Louis starter Brian Elliott and Los Angeles's Joathan Quick were the top two goalies in the league (as far as GAA goes) by far.  They also gave up the fewest number of goals (St. Louis - 165, LA - 179, Rangers -187) by a large margin.  They also allowed the fewest goals in the first round of the playoffs with only eight against apiece in five games.  This one could go either way and probably end up a 2-1 score of triple overtime in Game 7 to decide the winner. It's a coin toss, but I'll go with #2 seed St. Louis in 7.

Phoenix vs Nashville:  The new blood series of the playoffs.  Neither team has much of a playoff history, but they both made noise by knocking off Chicago and Detroit, respectively.  Nashville is scary good with Pekka Rinne, the NHL's winningest goalie in the regular season, defensive studs Shea Webber and Ryan Sutter, and made a great "deadline" deal bringing back sniper Alexander Radulov. The Coyotes are beat up and have lost the biggest advantage they had in the first round: a far superior goalie. Predators in 6.

Let's see if I do any better this round.

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