First off, before I reveal my picks for the second round playoff matchups, I think it is only fair that I am accountable for my first round picks. I was correct on five series and wrong on three. Not great, but not terrible either. Only in one series was I completely off base. Without further ado, here were my selections.
RESULT MY PICK
BOS/MTL Bruins in 4 Bruins in 5
This one was pretty easy to call
Wash/NYR Capitals in 7 Capitals in 7
I nailed this one right on the head.
NJ/ CAR Canes in 7 Devils in 6
I thought Brodeur would be the difference, instead he gave up two late goals to lose it.
PIT/PHI Penguins in 6 Penguins in 5
It took a little longer, but Pittsburgh had too much firepower.
SJ/ANA Ducks in 6 Sharks in 6
I got it wrong, but I don’t feel too bad since most others did as well.
DET/ CLB Red Wings in 4 Red Wings in 5
Detroit was just too much for the young Jackets.
VAN/ STL Canucks in 4 Blues in 7
I was just wrong, 100 percent wrong. Nothing more I can say.
CHI/CALG Blackhawks in 6 Blackhawks in 6
Another pick I can feel pretty good about.
Now for the second round predictions.
#1 Boston Bruins vs #6 Carolina Hurricanes
top scorer Phil Kessel Eric Staal
goaltender Tim Thomas Cam Ward
season series 4 0
The goalie matchup as usual will be huge. Ward has won a Stanley Cup, but he has been atrocious against the Bruins this season. Boston is a much tougher and much deeper team. Carolina is worn out from a tough series against New Jersey in which their power play was non-existent. If that doesn’t improve, they are in for a tough time.
Pick: BRUINS in 6
#2 Washington Capitals vs. #4 Pittsburgh Penguins
TS Alex Ovechkin Evgeni Malkin
G Simeon Varlamov Marc-Andre Fleury
season 3 1
There are two big questions in this series. One…will Varlamov be able to hold up under the offensive barrage the Penguins throw at him. Two….. which of the superstars of hockey will take this series by the throat. Everyone will be focused on Ovechkin vs. Crosby, but the problem for Washington is Pittsburgh also has Evgeni Malkin. He is my vote for MVP and he was on fire in the first round. Pittsburgh is the hottest team in the league; and if Washington plays like they did against New York, they won’t be able to keep up.
PICK: PENGUINS in 6
#2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #8 Anaheim Ducks
TS Henrik Zetterberg Ryan Getzlaf
G Chris Osgood Jonas Hiller
season 3 1
Often when teams pull off big upsets, they have nothing left for the next round. This Ducks team is so veteran laden they probably will not experience that kind of let down. No one should forget that this is a matchup of the last two Cup champions. Bobby Ryan has really begun to emerge for the Ducks and Hiller has been out of this world in goal. You have to wonder though if an unknown like Hiller can really keep this up, especially against a team as deep as Detroit. A key matchup in this series will be the Anaheim power play versus Detroit penalty killers. If Anaheim can take advantage of power play opportunities they can keep it close.
PICK: RED WINGS in 6
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #4 Chicago Blackhawks
TS Daniel Sedin Martin Havlat
G Roberto Luongo Nikolai Khabibulin
season 2 2
This is a heavyweight title fight of goaltenders. Luongo vs. Khabibulin is going to be the key matchup in this series. Often the goalies are given too much credit, but these teams are too evenly matched for this series to be decided any other way. The Canucks will be helped by having home ice. They’ve won 14 of their last 15 at home.Vancouver is getting healthy at the right time, and they will need it against the youth and depth of the Blackhawks. Ryan Kesler’s defensive abilities against Havlat and Kane will be crucial to Vancouver’s success.
PICK: CANUCKS in 7
So I foresee a Boston/Pittsburgh final in the East and Detroit/ Vancouver in the West. Let the games begin.
Here again are my picks for the hockey awards.
Hart Trophy (MVP) Vezina (goaltender) Norris (defenseman)
1. Evgeni Malkin, PIT Tim Thomas, BOS Zdeno Chara, BOS
2. Alex Ovechkin, WASH Steve Mason, CLB Mike Green, WASH
3. Zach Parise, NJ Cam Ward, CAR Dan Boyle, SJ
Adams (coach) Calder (rookie)
1. Andy Murray, STL Steve Mason, CLB
2. Claude Julien, BOS Pekka Rinne, NASH
3. Ken Hitchcock, CLB Bobby Ryan, ANA