by PuckStopsHere on 04/29/09 at 01:50 AM ET
The first round of the NHL playoffs is over and my predictions came in 5-3 which isn’t too bad. It is time to look at the second round match-ups.
Boston Bruins defeat Carolina Hurricanes Boston has been the team to beat in the East Conference all season. They breezed by Montreal, while Carolina had an epic seven game struggle with New Jersey. The Bruins are the more talented, better rested team and thus the better bet.
Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Washington Capitals This series will have the three biggest young scoring stars in the NHL in Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby playing in it. Two are Penguins and one is a Capital. I think the Penguins also have an edge in goal - as well as Simeon Varlamov played in the first round he is an unproven commodity. Pittsburgh has played very well since Sergei Gonchar returned to their line-up and I think that they should be able to win this series.
Detroit Red Wings defeat Anaheim Ducks This could be the toughest series of the second round. It is the last two Stanley Cup champions playing against each other. The Ducks may have struggled part of this season and barely made the playoffs, but they are an extremely hot team that is playing very well. They still have most of their core from the 2007 Stanley Cup. This series should push Detroit to the limit, but the Wings are the better team. Should Anaheim pull off another upset, it will not make San Jose’s loss look nearly as catastrophic as the Ducks would have eliminated the top two teams in the west.
Vancouver Canucks defeat Chicago Blackhawks The hardest thing to defeat in the playoffs is a top goaltender. Roberto Luongo is the best remaining goalie in the playoffs and he played like it in the first round. That should be the edge for Vancouver as the Sedins match up with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is a hard one to call.
The second round gets underway Thursday.
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