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Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions

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1Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:21 am

davetherave

davetherave
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The predictions have come fast and furious, but the consensus seems to be this year's SCP Round Two matchups are about as exciting--and as close--as you could hope for.

The esteemed Eric Duhatschek offers his informed take today:

Ready to roar

ERIC DUHATSCHEK, The Globe and Mail, April 29, 2009 at 11:04 PM EDT

Some years, the second round of the NHL playoffs can be a little anti-climactic.

The first blush of playoff excitement is over. The disappointment of an early exit is palpable for the eight teams that fought so hard to qualify for the postseason, only to see their Stanley Cup dreams evaporate right off the top.

Even for the eight winners, there is often a sense of relief associated with surviving the opening round. Injuries pile up. Fatigue starts to be an issue.

Overall, there is collective sense of digging in for the long haul and fans — especially in markets where they no longer have a rooting interest — tuning out for a time. This year, however, looks vastly different, and far more intriguing.

Thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes' miracle comeback against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in the seventh game of their series, the NHL lucked into two outstanding second-round matchups that should keep the playoff momentum going and the TV ratings up.

In the Eastern Conference, there is the much-heralded Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals series, featuring Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin going head-to-head in the playoffs for the first time — a development that can only enhance their emerging rivalry.

In the West, the reigning Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings meet the 2007 champion Anaheim Ducks, who recorded the biggest upset of the opening round by eliminating the San Jose Sharks, the No. 1 regular-season team in the NHL.

For Canadian content, there is the Vancouver Canucks, holding home-ice advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks — a team of rising young stars with a chance to go the third round for the first time in 15 years (since their 1994 trip to the final).

The last time the teams met in the regular season, there was lots of bad blood. They combined for 80 penalty minutes and set the tone for what promises to be a physical playoff series.

Even the last series has some level of intrigue: the Boston Bruins, in the midst of an organizational revival, against the 2006 champs, Carolina's Cardiac Kids.

Here is how the second round shapes up:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 Boston Bruins v. No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes

The Bruins followed up an impressive 116-point regular season by overwhelming the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round. Boston exploited the Habs' injury-prone defence and struggling young goaltender, Carey Price.

Carolina, with Cam Ward in goal, poses a much stiffer challenge. Ward outduelled the legendary Martin Brodeur in the opening round, with clutch saves at critical moments and — at 25 — looks even better than he did three years ago, when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Carolina's no-name defence provides quick puck movement to a never-say-die group of forwards, led by Eric Staal, which found a way of scoring timely goals with the game on the line. Boston's edge comes in the 6-foot-9 package known as

Zdeno Chara, the league's top defensive defenceman, who averaged 25 minutes 20 seconds of ice time in the opening round, miles ahead of any other Bruin.

Ultimately, Boston's scoring balance — matched against Carolina's woeful power play, which operated at only 6.9 per cent in the opening round — tips the scales in the Bruins' favour.

Duhatschek says: Boston in seven games.


No. 2 Washington Capitals v. No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins

In NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's wildest dreams, there is no better marketing tool than seeing the two most dynamic teams in the league go head-to-head — especially in a year when both playoff qualifiers from the New York area lost in the seventh game of their respective series.

Naturally, the focus will be on Sidney Crosby v. Alexander Ovechkin; Evgeni Malkin v. Ovechkin; and to some degree, Alexander Semin v. Crosby (this after Semin dismissed Crosby as something less than an impact player in comments earlier this season). Ultimately, what will decide the series is which cast of slumbering, secondary scorers awakens first.

Pittsburgh's offence, after Malkin, Crosby and Sergei Gonchar, was so dreadful against the Philadelphia Flyers that Pens head coach Dan Bylsma benched Petr Sykora, a 16-point scorer in last year's drive to the final, for two games.

Washington got the series-clinching goal from veteran Sergei Fedorov, but it was only his first of the seven-game series. Pittsburgh's power play was an ordinary 4-for-32 against Philadelphia. However, if the Penguins can win, or even hold their own in the special-teams' battle, then their greater playoff experience — going to last year's final — provides the edge.

Duhatschek says: Pittsburgh in six.


WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 2 Detroit Red Wings v. No. 8 Anaheim Ducks

The reigning Stanley Cup champion against the 2007 winner. The teams share the league lead for playoff rounds won (seven) and appeared in (nine) since the end of the lockout.

Even with 12 holdover players from two years ago, the Ducks struggled to find their form in the 2008-09 regular season. But roster tweaks at the trade deadline paid big dividends, refreshing and invigorating a team that had gone stale.

In short, the Ducks are not your run-of-the-mill No.ƒ|8 seed — not with Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer anchoring the defence, plus the most physically daunting line in the NHL (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan) at their disposal.

Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller is a playoff newcomer, but he outplayed San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the opening round. His Red Wings counterpart, Chris Osgood, played well in three of four games during their first-round sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Anaheim was relatively disciplined in the first round against the Sharks and when its discipline flagged, relatively successful killing penalties. Detroit presents a different kettle of fish — its power play was dominant in the first round, clicking at a 31.8-per-cent success rate.

Provided Osgood doesn't falter now, the Red Wings' overall depth, scoring balance, puck possession game and efficiency with the man advantage will help them win the day.

Duhatschek says: Detroit in six.


No. 3 Vancouver Canucks v. No. 4 Chicago Blackhawks

Goaltender Roberto Luongo was outstanding as the Canucks dispatched the Blues in four games, but the Blackhawks' talent is two levels above St. Louis's.

For starters, Chicago's power play was dominant in its first-round victory over the Calgary Flames and poses a far greater threat than the Blues' nervous Nellies, who couldn't get on track in the opening round. Henrik and Daniel Sedin turned in star performances offensively for the Canucks.

How the twins match up against the Blackhawks' shutdown defence pair of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith — which effectively negated Jarome Iginla and Co. in the previous series — will go a long way in determining how deep the Canucks go.

Overall, Vancouver is a speedy team. If the Canucks get in on the fore-check in ways Calgary couldn't manage, they could turn the puck over more efficiently and get that famous Sedin cycle game going.

Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin has far more playoff experience than the Blues' Chris Mason, but if Luongo duplicates his opening-round performance, what shapes up as a potentially low-scoring series will go Vancouver's way.

Duhatschek says: Vancouver in seven.

Eric Duhatschek's first-round predictions record: 6-2



Last edited by davetherave on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:41 am; edited 1 time in total

2Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:25 am

SeawaySensFan

SeawaySensFan
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A well-rested Chara = yikes.

3Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:55 am

davetherave

davetherave
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Questions rarely asked, but mos' def' to be pondered LOL...

Bruins-Canes:

Will T-Squared be ready for A Mighty Wind?

Will Sergei Samsonov bite Z-Man's ankles?

Caps-Pens:

Will Geno talk trash to Varly?

Will Al Semin rock n roll with Jazzy Jordan the way he did with his bro Marky Mark?

Wings-Ducks

Will The Pronginator dominate?

Will Ozzy B Good?

Nucks-Hawks

Will Bobby Lu?

Will the Hawks rock?

:##:

Let's play HOCKEY!!!!

4Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:59 am

PTFlea

PTFlea
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
Let's do it:

Here are mine:

Boston in 6
Pittsburgh in 7
Anaheim in 7
Vancouver in 7

5Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:07 am

SensGirl11

SensGirl11
Mod
Mod
Here are mine:

Boston in 5
Pittsburgh in 6
Vancouver in 7
Detroit in 7 - I'll probably get Dung for this one...

6Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:11 am

SensFan71


All-Star
All-Star
Boston in 6
Washington in 6
Van in 7
Anaheim in 7 <- Thinks I will get more dung for this one rather than SG11.

7Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:14 am

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
*hops on the bandwagon*

Boston in 6
Washington in 7
Anaheim in 7
Vancouver in 7

Hmmm... that's a lot of 7-game series'...

Oh well.

8Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:18 am

PTFlea

PTFlea
Co-Founder
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Why would anyone get Dung for choosing Detroit or Anaheim? scratch

9Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:20 am

PTFlea

PTFlea
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
shabbs wrote:*hops on the bandwagon*

Boston in 6
Washington in 7
Anaheim in 7
Vancouver in 7

Hmmm... that's a lot of 7-game series'...

Oh well.

You and me. Head to head. FIGHT!!!! :fight: :fighting:

10Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:29 am

SensGirl11

SensGirl11
Mod
Mod
504Heater wrote:Why would anyone get Dung for choosing Detroit or Anaheim? scratch

I don't know...it's going to be a mad crazy series though for sure. I favor Zetterberg, Hossa, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Franzen, Lidstrom and Rafalski, over Selanne (time to retire), Getzlaf, Ryan, Perry, Niedermeyer, Pronger (suspension on the way in this series) and Whitney....ok...now that I put it that way...it will be soooooo close.

I also don't know how Hiller is going to stop the mad skills on Detroit. SJ didn't put up much of a fight, IMO.

Very serious series. ANYTHING can happen, we all saw that in round 1.

Time will tell...

11Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:33 am

PTFlea

PTFlea
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
Very good series coming for sure. The Sharks didn't make the Ducks pay for penalties in the first round. This round, you take a penalty against Detroit, they're gonna score.

That's gonna be the big difference. Still...Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan. The Killer Kids.

12Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:36 pm

beedub

beedub
Veteran
Veteran
I did make some predictions, but I can't remember. So I will make new ones.

Detroit in 5
Boston in 6
Chicago in 7
Pittsburgh in 6

13Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:06 pm

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
This is what I went with for my *other* bracket pool.



BOS5

PIT7

DET6

VAN6



I will ruminate a little while longer before I send in my picks for the bracket pool here.

14Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:06 pm

davetherave

davetherave
All-Star
All-Star
Here's what I sent to Hem:

second round picks


From davetherave To hemlock, Yesterday at 7:13 am

CAR at BOS BOS>7
PIT at WAS PIT>7

ANA at DET DET>7
CHI at VAN CHI>7

Gotta have at least one underdog...and the thought of a Wings-Hawks Final is just TOO good.

Cheers
Cheers

15Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions Empty Re: Ready to Roar: More Round Two Predictions on Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:11 pm

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
Co-Founder
Co-Founder
I sent

Van in 5
Bruins in 6
Pens in 6
Detroit in 6

If I remember correctly.


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