Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coach Willie's second round NHL playoff predictions

Well my record in the first round was a respectable 6-2 but could easily been 4-4 if the two games last night had gone differently. I missed on the Detroit-Columbus series - thought Steve Mason would be more of a factor, he wasn't. I also missed on the San Jose-Anaheim series - I make the same mistake ever year picking the Sharks.

Boston vs Carolina

The Bruins are on a roll and even a hot Carolina team won't stop them. Though the Bruins will find Carolina a little tougher to handle than Montreal. Cam Ward is playing some good hockey and Eric Staal has been inspired. Boston swept the 4-game regular season series.

Bruins in 6.

Washington vs Pittsburgh

Oh baby. Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Can it get any better than that? If Theodore was in net, I would pick Pittsburgh—better yet, the Capitals wouldn't be in the semifinals. But Simeon Varlamov is a solid goaltender, and I believe that Washington plays better defensively with him in net. I know that the Penguins have Crosby/Malkin. Washington, however, is also great offensively and are on a roll. Washington swept the 4-game regular season series.

Capitals in 7.

Detroit vs Anaheim

In the first round I picked Columbus to upset Detroit. That was wrong. But I know that an upset is waiting for Detroit. This is it. Only it's not really much of an upset because Anaheim is a better team than their eighth place finish connotes. The NHL playoffs are so grueling it is next to impossible to repeat - even for the Red Wings. The last back-to-back winners were the Red Wings but that was 11 years ago. Detroit swept the 4-game regular season series.

Ducks in 7.

Vancouver vs Chicago

Vancouver has a balanced attack for the first time and Luongo is rested and healthy. Canucks will be tough to beat. But Chicago proved that they are not going to be physically pushed around. This will be a very good series. The two teams split their season series.

Canucks in 6.