The Cannon's Second Round Predictions!

Since there's nothing more fun than second guessing, we thought we'd put up some playoff predictions for the second round.

Matt's Predictions:

OK, so I was wrong about Montreal getting past Boston, or Phoenix giving Detroit trouble, but I -did- get Washington and Philly right. And I picked Vancouver and San Jose, for that matter, too.

So, aside from the reasons I already gave for picking a few teams to root for, here's what I've got for this round.

EAST:

Washington vs. Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay has a real shot to win this series, and his name is Dwayne Roloson - especially after the way he helped them shut down everything the Pens threw at them. Despite that, though, I can't help but think the Capitals are really looking like a team who have realized how to win - and I don't think that Guy Boucher's PK can shut down Alexander Ovechkin this entire series. 

Caps in 6.

Philadelphia vs. Boston

If you're in the NHL, outside of Pittsburgh getting past Tampa for another potential Pens / Caps series, this had to have been one of your dream scenarios...for the finals.

Still, the ratings will be great and I expect a pretty intense, physical series - but with Pronger getting healthy, Boston is really going to have to take it up another notch to get past the Flyers, and I suspect that they really gassed out against the Canadiens until I'm shown otherwise.

Flyers in 5.

WEST

Vancouver vs. Nashville

We know exactly how good Nashville can be, even when you think they're beat, and that excitement of finally breaking into the second round has to have been a lift for them, but it sure doesn't look like it carried over into game #1. I think that if anyone can pull them back off the mat and wake them up, it's Barry Trotz, but they have to steal game #2, or this isn't going to be a long series at all.

Canucks in 5.

Detroit vs. San Jose

Detroit is still the most dangerous team in the West, and they had a nice long rest after smacking the Coyotes right out of Jobing arena with Mike Babcock's Strong Pimp Hand. But despite that, I think San Jose, like Washington, finally seems to really have the talent and the drive to really make an impact...and they found ways to break Jimmy Howard all season. It's not going to be pretty, but I think they've got what it takes.

Sharks in 7.


 

Dan's Predictions:

I didn't get to make any first round picks here, but for what it's worth I had Nashville winning and have learned over the years that it's foolish to bet against Detroit in the first round. I thought Buffalo and Tampa Bay would be game but ultimately lose (so, I was right but only half right, I think), and though I really, really hoped Montreal and Los Angeles would win, deep down I didn't think they would. Hollow victories, there.

Someone asked me the other night who I liked in the second round, and I stammered a bit. I could see any of the four teams moving on to the Finals from the East. The West? I think it's a two-team race. Let's give it a go.

EAST:

Washington vs. Tampa Bay

With the benefit of having already seen a game in this series, some interesting things to note: Roloson seems hooked up to the Rejuvination Machine; Washington seems capable of falling back into their run-and-gun bad habits at a moment's notice, and there must be something to the whole Guy-Boucher-Master-Motivator thing. The Lightning also have one advantage: St. Louis and Lecavalier have done this all before. The Caps? Well, they're talented. Great regular season team. They still have to show they can do it in the playoffs. Exhibit A: Ovechkin being a total no-show in Game 1. The Caps *should* be able to win this series if they straighten up and fly right, but Tampa's going to make them earn it. 

Caps in 7.

Philadelphia vs. Boston

Philly and Boston... on paper these two should have breezed their way here. But, both were tested thoroughly in the first round. For me, the wild card in this series is Tim Thomas. We saw Ryan Miller almost single-handedly carry Buffalo past Philly in round 1, and Thomas certainly is capable of taking a series over if he's hot. Much like Matt, I expect these two teams to pummel the snot out of each other, and if Philly can get some consistent goaltending I like their forwards better.

Flyers in 6.

WEST

Vancouver vs. Nashville

This is the ultimate "Talent vs. Moxie" matchup. Nashville is, well, Nashville. They always seem to do more with less, and their backend is strong enough to keep them in any game and, therefore, any series. Vancouver, by all rights, should have been cashed for Game 1, but came out and stifled the Preds. The much-maligned Roberto Luongo was light-years better than he looked in the Hawks series, but to me, that's where the big difference lies. Chicago has all of those skilled forwards that can flummox a goaltender, and at times they made Luongo look scared and completely ordinary. Nashville just doesn't have that kind of skill. Vancouver is so good from top to bottom that, if they can make the Preds have to play catch-up all series, I just can't see Nasvhille being up to that task.

Canucks in 5.

Detroit vs. San Jose

This is the matchup, to me. Vancouver might have won the President's Trophy, but these two teams duking it out will, in my eyes, show us who the best team in the West is. San Jose looks to have exorcised some demons from playoffs-past last year, but Detroit is the one demon that always comes back like Jason Vorhees. Last year's 4-1 series win doesn't mean anything. That said, with the additional information of having seen Game 1 play out, there's something about this Sharks team. Ever since the 4-goal comeback win against LA, something looks different about them. They out-shot Detroit by 21 in game 1, and if Antti Niemi can keep Detroit off the board and the Sharks can stay out of the box--and slow down the Wings' PP when they do go to the box--like they did in Game 1, you have to like their chances. 

But, then again, Detroit IS JASON VORHEES. They just keep coming. I must admit to being conflicted on this one. My heart says Sharks in 6, but my head says...

Wings in 7.

 


 

Mike's Predictions:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first round, it was as exciting an opening round of the playoffs as I'd seen in years. I thought Buffalo was a candidate to upset the Flyers, and while they came close, it was not to be. I also thought that Pittsburgh would have no trouble with Tampa- whoops.

EAST:

Washington vs. Tampa Bay

Given that Tampa won last night, it would be easy for me to jump on their bandwagon. That said, I think this series will go seven games, as long as Roloson continues to play at his current level. If he does, the Bolts can upset the Caps. 

Bolts in 7.

Philadelphia vs. Boston

For some reason I don't believe in the Flyers. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I don't think they will beat the Bruins. Call it gut instinct. Even though they went to the Cup final last season, I just don't see them doing it again. The Bruins struggled against the Habs early, but have clearly hit their stride- and they have the superior goaltending.

Bruins in 5.

WEST

Vancouver vs. Nashville

Unlike most Columbus fans, I have no ill will for the Preds. We don't have a rivalry with them, (getting smoked by them 98% of the times we play each other isn't a rivalry) and I like their way of operating. I have a ton of respect for David Poile and Barry Trotz and I love to see teams who have never won anything do well. That said, they don't have the offense to hang with the Canucks.

Canucks in 5.

Detroit vs. San Jose

Yawn. I have to be honest, this series does nothing for me. My only hope is that the Sharks win, simply because I hate the Red Wings. Also, the Sharks are due. This will be a hard-fought series, and I see it going seven games.

Sharks in 7.



 

Lou's Predictions:

After missing the first round predictions due to being sequestered with all sorts of New York Ranger paraphernalia and then having it do absolutely no good, I emerge from my brief mourning to offer some second round insights:

EAST:

Tampa Bay vs. Washington

Last night's win for the Bolts notwithstanding, I have been a Tampa Bay believer all season. A lethal offense and Rollie the goalie make it hard not to like the Lightning. Their weakness is their D, but we as Jackets fans can certainly appreciate that fact. The Caps are still one of the most dangerous teams in the NHL. I think that although Coach Boudreau's new defensive minded approach rallied the team in the second half of the regular season, it puts too much pressure on the offense to create scoring opportunities.

TAMPA BAY in 6

Boston vs. Philadelphia

Quite possibly, the marquee matchup of the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. I wasn't expecting Game One to be the severe butt kicking that it turned out to be. As an Atlantic Division addict, the goaltending in Philly mystified me all season long. Brian Boucher with a successful, but somewhat shaky past, and "Bob" the Russian rookie. If the Flyers were my team, I'd have been concerned from oh, about November 1st. But they put together a good run and have gotten this far. Similarly, I haven't been a Bruins' believer either. And there they are! Finally, the aura of the matchup, especially considering how things worked out last season. For fans in the northeast, this is a series that is pretty close to being on par to Yankees-Red Sox.

PHILADELPHIA in 7

WEST:

Nashville vs. Vancouver

In one of my game previews from earlier in the season, I mentioned that I didn't like Barry Trotz. I still don't. His team however has played some good, if not great, hockey down the stretch and through the first round. They can't be taken lightly anymore. The 'Nucks are another team that have consistently proven me wrong all season. I didn't think they could (insert your own selected feat), yet they did. ALWAYS! While I'm still not convinced, I have to go with them.

VANCOUVER in 5

Detroit vs. San Jose

This will be another fun series to watch. I was at the Falcons office today (more on that on Monday) and the conversation was on Benn Ferreiro's OT winner in Game One. It's funny how during the regular season while the guy plays for the Worcester Sharks, he's a hated enemy. One overtime winner, and everybody here was thrilled for him. Kinda nutty, eh? The Sharks are going to need a lot more than that if they want to make it to the conference finals. On the other hand, the Wings are not the same team as they were 3, 4, 5 years ago. This one's going to go the distance.

SAN JOSE in 7

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