Thursday, April 30, 2009

2nd Round Predictions

Bruins vs Hurricanes

The Bruins have a very good set of forwards with balances scoring in their top 9:

Axelsson – Savard – Kessel
Lucic – Krejci – Ryder
Kobasew – Bergeron – Recchi

The Canes were great against the Devils. Eric Staal was a force and Cam Ward shut the door in net. Joni Pitkanen also had a great series. The Canes can skate and hit well and have good playoff experience but the Bruins are just too good.

Key matchup: Chara vs Staal
Prediction: Bruins in 5

Pens vs Caps

This series is gonna be dynamite! Crosby and Malkin vs Ovechkin (and Backstrom/Semin). The Caps seemed lucky to win in 7 but if not for Henrik Lunquist the caps would never have been in that position. Pittsburgh has been a much better team since Blysma became coach plus the return of Gonchar and the additions of Guerin/Kunitz improve their skill/depth. Malkin was better than Ovechkin in the first round and I'll take Crosby in the playoffs against anyone not named Datskyuk. Despite this, I expect a better second round from Ovechkin and Green.

Key matchup: Crosby vs Ovechkin
Prediction: Pens in 7

Ducks vs Red Wings

The Wings are the class of the NHL again this year and I think the only teams that can stop them are the Canucks or the Bruins. Its hard to discount a team with Pronger and Neidermayer however and the games will be close. Getzlaf is going to have his hands full with 2 of the best two-way centres in the game. Detroit also has a much deeper lineup.

Key matchup: Datsyuk vs Getzlaf
Prediction: Wings in 5

Blackhawks vs Canucks

There are tons of interesting battles in this series. Canucks employ a very defensive system but Chicago just might have enough depth to crack it in Ladd, Versteeg, Bolland, Sharp and Byfuglien. The Canucks have 2 under-rated players in Kelser and Borrows and the battle between Toews a beauty. I expect the Canucks to hold on if their injury concerns from last series have been remedied. Flip a coin.

Key matchup: Seabrook/Keith vs The sisters
Prediction: Canucks in 7
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