Kukla's Korner

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Second Round Quick Picks

After picking the winning team in six of the eight first round series it is time to make predictions for the second round set to face off tonight already as the Montreal Canadiens visit Boston to take on the Bruins at 7:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN, CBC, and RDS

First up…

Boston Bruins over Montreal Canadiens in 6

After eliminating the Lightning in four games the Canadiens have at the longest out of any of the second round teams.  Boston, predicted by many to be cup favorites, took out the Detroit Red Wings and exposed them as a young team that still needs to smooth out their game before contender status can be given back to those in the Winged Wheel.

In a heated Original Six rivalry it will see heated games and come down to special teams and goaltending. While Montreal’s Carey Price probably should have been nominated for the Vezina Trophy it is Boston’s Tuukka Rask who is the front runner for the award.

New York Rangers over Pittsburgh Penguins in 6

Both teams struggled in the regular season and the first round.  The Penguins faced the Columbus Blue Jackets and in six games Sidney Crosby tallied six assist (no goals) and Evgeni Malkin finding his playoff pace late in the series only had 3 goals and 4 assists against the wild card team; but the bigger question is in net with Marc-Andre Fleury being unpredictable from night to night.

The Rangers with an upper hand in goal with Henrik Lundqvist have seen a season from him that is not what “the King” has been known for.  Lundqvist was pulled in Game Six and Cam Talbot went in posting a 0.00 GAA and a Sv% of 1.000 in his 19:32 minutes of ice time. Now it is a little misleading as he did only face five shots in that time.  Though both teams have some kinks to work out in net as well as looking for some players to get hot with scoring the Rangers scoring is spread out across the team showing that if the Penguins try to shut down a line or player someone else is there eager to jump in and score making things difficult for the Penguins and thus giving them the edge.

Anaheim Ducks over LA Kings in 7

Round two of the Battle for California sees neighbors facing neighbors in what has to be the “worst” travel in the round – I mean that LA traffic can be a real drag right?  Not having to deal with flights the Ducks and Kings start their series last on Saturday.

Ducks eliminated the Stars but had some controversies in their game including the decision to make Teemu Selanne a healthy scratch in what has been celebrated all season long as his final NHL season. Maybe this lit a fire for not only Selanne but also the team to not fail their future Hockey Hall of Famer and to send him into retirement with one more Stanley Cup.  These motivational “do it for –“ have happened before and give the team that extra drive.  The Red Wings used it in 2008 to send Dallas Drake into retirement with his first Cup win.

The Kings went down 3-0 in the series with the San Jose Sharks before making history by rallying to win the next four to eliminate one of the favorites for the Cup.  Having rallied as such the Kings could have some fatigue but along with the increased confidence that comes from such a feat make them a threat for the Ducks.

Chicago Blackhawks over Minnesota Wild in 5

New alignment makes some rivals into division rivals and ignites that spark of hate that comes into play so much in the NHL playoffs. After getting Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane back from injury and knocking out the St. Louis Blues the Chicago Blackhawks are ready to defend the Stanley Cup.  The last Cup repeat came from the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 and 1999 but look for the Blackhawk to make a deep push and attempt to keep the Cup in the Windy city.

Minnesota forced overtime in Game Seven against the Colorado Avalanche to win their first playoff series in over a decade.  The team has seen ups and downs and has a revolving door for goaltenders.  In Game Seven Darcy Kuemper was injured and saw the return of Ilya Bryzgalov to the net.  These netminding issues could become a weakness that Chicago exploits with star forwards Kane, Toews, and Marian Hossa to name a few peppering the net.  It will come down to the Wild defense shutting down the Chicago offence to try and advance.  Minnesota will see Matt Cooke return from suspension in Game Four.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: monica+mcalister

Comments

NHLJeff's avatar

I got all of the series winners right, but I only got the number of games right for one.

Here are my round 2 predictions:

Bruins in 5
Penguins in 7
Hawks in 6
Kings in 7

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 05/01/14 at 07:17 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Me, I say Bruins in six, Rangers in five, Blackhawks in 5 and Kings in 7.

I know Monica posted KK members first round predictions here, so review them if you can’t recall how you did.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/01/14 at 07:26 AM ET

Iggy_Rules's avatar

Thanks for the link ,  Paul, and thanks to Monica for compiling our picks!

Boston in 6
Pittsburgh in 6

I don’t see Boston losing to the Habs.  The have have speed and skill but I think Boston plays a better team game.  They also have the advantage in net.

The pens rangers series is a question mark for me.  The rangers have the better netminder but which Gino and which sid will show up?  I think this is the key to the series.  On paper, Pittsburgh is better but neither has what it takes to come out of the east in my opinion. The east is Boston’s to lose.

Chicago in 4
LA in 7

I think Chicago gets a bye this round, essentially.  Universe isn’t exactly a stellar netminder and they Wild don’t have the skill level to compete.  The Kings/Ducks series will be another war and whoever comes out of that will be more fatigued.  Luck of the draw, I guess. In fact, I think the west is Chicago’s to lose.

Posted by Iggy_Rules from Calgary, Canada on 05/01/14 at 10:18 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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