by PuckStopsHere on 05/01/14 at 01:51 AM ET
The first round of the playoffs concluded today and my first round predictions did well. I picked seven of the eight first round series correctly. My mistake was picking Colorado over Minnesota. When a series goes to overtime in a seventh game, all you can really conclude is that the two teams were well-matched and either could have won the series.
As for a 7-1 record in the first round, I did very well. It requires a combination of luck and hockey knowledge to do that well. Ironically commenter redxblack quickly criticized my picks because apparently I did not pick enough upsets. When he made his own picks he went 2-6. So I guess he lived by his idea of picking upsets but he didn't make himself look like much of a hockey expert. I have coins that can do better.
Onward to my second round predictions.
Chicago Blackhawks defeat Minnesota Wild. The defending Stanley Cup champions had a scare when they lost their first two games to St Louis but they seem to have found their groove. I think Minnesota is the weakest team that made it through the first round and Chicago should be able to dispatch them.
Los Angeles Kings defeat Anaheim Ducks. Los Angeles definitely survived a scare when they fell behind 3-0 against San Jose. I think the Sharks are a better team than Anaheim and if the Kings could beat the Sharks, they should be able to beat Anaheim. My biggest worry for the Ducks is goaltending. They attempted to use rookie Frederik Andersen in the first round and he didn't do well. Will Jonas Hiller be able to do better? Los Angeles doesn't have that problem as Jonathan Quick is a proven playoff goalie.
Boston Bruins defeat Montreal Canadiens. I think Boston looks the team to beat in the East. They may be the NHL's first elite team in seven years. Let's see how they respond to some tougher playoff challenges to see how elite they are. Montreal looked good in their first round sweep, but they don't have the talent Boston has.
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat New York Rangers. The worry with Pittsburgh is that Marc-Andre Fleury has not proven himself to be a reliable playoff goalie. At any moment he may self-destruct. Henrik Lundqvist should be a reliable goalie for the Rangers, but he didn't have a great first round. Pittsburgh's advantage comes from front-line talent. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world. He may not have clearly shown that in the first round, but even with a lacklustre first round he scored at point per game rate. You are a superstar if people criticize you for under-performing while you score a point per game. Pittsburgh has depth beyond Crosby. Evgeni Malkin is also a better player than anyone the Rangers can offer. Pittsburgh is too deep offensively for the Rangers.
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