Thursday, May 04, 2006

Round 2 predictions

A reminder on how I fared forecasting the first round:

Ottawa over Tampa Bay in 5 YES!
Carolina over Montreal in 6 YES!
New Jersey over NY Rangers in 6 YES!
Buffalo over Philadelphia in 7 YES!
Detroit over Edmonton in 5 NO!
Dallas over Colorado in 6 NO!
Calgary over Anaheim in 7 NO!
San Jose over Nashville in 6 YES!

So, clearly, I know what I'm talking about in the East, but those Western Conference matchups had me stumped. Fortunately, I wasn't alone, as I don't think anyone picked both Edmonton AND Colorado.

(1) Ottawa vs. (4) Buffalo
More on this tomorrow.

(2) Carolina vs. (3) New Jersey
The Devils made much quicker work of the Rangers than I thought, but how much of it was because New York shit the bed? There can be no disputing that the Devils are the hottest team going into the second round, however I expect the 'Canes to put up a much bigger fight than Jaromir Jagr and Co. did. I don't believe Carolina has hit their stride just yet, but they seem to be on the right track. Their goaltending took an interesting turn in the Montreal series and as strong as Cam Ward played can he maintain that high level of play for another series. We know what Martin Brodeur will bring. Carolina will have to get some of their supporting players rolling. In the last series, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, and Josef Vasciek combined for 6 points and collectively went -4. Expect the Devils to focus on Eric Staal, which means those three will have to get it together.
Prediction: New Jersey in 6
Rooting Interest: Don't care, as long as they beat each other up

(5) San Jose vs. (8) Edmonton
I admit, I underestimated the Oilers greatly. They've made me, and a whole lot of other people, look very foolish. So you'd think I would've learned my lesson and would pick them, right? Wrong. I think they've had their fun, did very well for themselves, but will run into a train called Joe Thornton. San Jose's a much trickier matchup for the Oilers than the Wings turned out to be. I expect all the games to be close, but ultimately, the Sharks will prevail.
Prediction: San Jose in 6
Rooting Interest: Edmonton

(6) Anaheim vs. (7) Colorado
As little a chance as I gave Edmonton, I thought even less of the odds the Avs would beat Dallas, who were my pick to win the Cup. Like with the Devils series win, it's debatable how much of it all can be attributed to Colorado, as Dallas didn't come to play. In a lot of the games I saw, Colorado looked like a team who would've been ousted had they been matched against any other club. Meanwhile, Anaheim showed a ton of heart in their victory over Calgary and look to be the most well rounded team left standing in the West. Full credit to Brian Burke for transforming his team into a contender via the most unconventional methods imagineable. Throughout the season he traded away the team's number one center and two of their top four d-men, and somehow, the team is much better for it. The one thing that distinguished both of these teams from most others in the first round was that their young players performed tremendously. Rookies like Andrej Meszaros, Dion Phaneuf, Mike Richards, Henrik Lundqvist all struggled and looked out of form, but the Corey Perrys and Wojtek Wolski elevated their game.
Prediction: Anaheim in 5
Rooting Interest: Anaheim, I guess.

3 Comments:

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Rob Wiebe said...

Congratulations on your picks for the first round.

For the second round, I agree with your predictions, save one -- Edmonton vs. San Jose. I believe that this match up will go to Edmonton in 6. They are hungrier, quicker, more gritty and deceptively defensive. Don't forget about Pronger, dude. He's going to focus on shutting down Thornton and Cheechoo. And don't forget about the nets, either. The veteran Roloson vs. the rookie Toskala. There's way more pressure in the second round; the stakes are higher now. San Jose had it easy in the first round compared to this.

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

If we're talking about strength in nets, then I'd say San Jose has the edge because they have a proven playoff goalie as their Plan B.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HURRY CHRIS, Im waiting for your series predictions before i make my wager with the book.

 

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