After what was arguably the craziest and most entertaining first round in recent memory, we are down to eight teams in the best tournament in sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs!
The President’s Trophy winners, the Tampa Bay Lightning were upset by the eighth-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets; the best team in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames were knocked out by the eighth-seeded Colorado Avalanche; the Central Division winning Winnipeg Jets fell to the upstart St. Louis Blues and the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals were knocked off by the Carolina Hurricanes. So how’s your bracket looking?
Since I didn’t post my first round and playoff predictions here prior to the playoffs, you should know I did have the Blue Jackets, Islanders and Avalanche, so my underdog picks have been quite solid. So without further ado, here’s my second round picks:
A 2 Boston Bruins Vs. WC 2 Columbus Blue Jackets:
This will be the most physical series of the second round and maybe even the playoffs. It could also be won on special teams as the BJ’s and Bruins come ranked 1 and 2 respectively on the powerplay with the Jackets scoring at a 50-percent clip and the Bruins at 47.5 percent. Goaltending will also be huge as two great goalies in Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky duke it out in what looks to be a grueling series. In the end, the Bruins depth in skill up front will win out.
Prediction: Bruins in six
M 2 New York Islanders Vs. WC 1 Carolina Hurricanes:
Want to know what will be the difference in this series? Home ice. Why? Because the Islanders don’t have it anymore! Yes, even though they are the home team in the series, they will be playing in that sad excuse of a hockey rink, Barclays Center for their supposed home games. The Isles have been dominant in Nassau Coliseum, they’re old/new home that they’ve played in for the last month and the first round and they will lose that edge in this series. They do still have the best coach left in the playoffs in Barry Trotz, but give me another crazy seven-game series win for those ‘Bunch Of Jerks’
Prediction: Hurricanes in 7
P 2 San Jose Sharks Vs. WC 2 Colorado Avalanche:
OK. First off, if you’re simply saying the Sharks are in the second round because of a botched call in Game 7 against the Knights, then you’re a bitter Knights fan or you bet the Knights or both! The Sharks still had to score four goals on that power play and then win it in overtime. That being said, they’re luck will run out against the underrated Avalanche in round 2 and in a hurry. Nathan MacKinnon and the highly skilled and fast Av’s are salivating at shooting on Martin Jones.
Prediction: Avalanche in 4
C 3 St. Louis Blues Vs. WC 1 Dallas Stars:
Jordan Binnington made it know that he is no ‘Hamburglar’ or Andrew Hammond and shined even more in the first round win over the Jets than he did down the stretch. Him and a more physical Blues team will beat the Stars in a classic!
Prediction: Blues in seven