Thursday, April 30, 2009

2009 NHL Playoffs Round II

After going an astonishing 8 for 8 in Round 1 we’re back again to push our luck!!!

Series I: Boston Bruins (57-29; 116 points; 1st Northeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 2nd Overall) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (49-40; 97 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 6th Eastern Conference, 11th Overall):

After a somewhat surprising sweep of the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins now get to face a Carolina Hurricanes hockey team that continued its torrid pace from the regular season and took down the New Jersey Devils in dramatic fashion in seven games. It won’t be as easy this time around for the Big Bad Bruins. First of all, we can’t imagine that Carolina will try to change their game to face Boston the way Montreal did. Secondly, Cam Ward is not playing like Carey Price. Ward has found his groove again and that is going to make things hard for the Bruins. Even harder for Boston is the nearly two week layoff between Game 4 against Montreal and Game 1 against Carolina. The Canes get just two days between their last minute Game 7 win over New Jersey and should be in good rhythm while the Bruins are going to have to reestablish their rhythm. Boston’s best chance at winning this series is figuring out how to cool down Cam Ward. Their scoring depth will be a much bigger test for Ward than New Jersey was. However the Canes, unlike the Habs, actually belong in the playoffs and Boston is going to be getting their first real taste of playoff hockey here in the second round, almost three weeks after everybody else did. Don’t be shocked if Carolina jumps out to a 1-0 lead, and don't be stunned if they turn it into a 2-0 lead. We don’t think Boston will go down easily at all, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see them end up in a hole they can’t climb out of. Canes in six.

Series J: Washington Capitals (54-35; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) vs. Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (49-39; 99 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 8th Overall):

Check back on Friday during the day, we’ll take care of you then.

Series K: Detroit Red Wings (55-31; 112 points; 1st Central Division, 2nd Western Conference, 3rd Overall) vs. Anaheim Thug Ducks (46-42; 91 points; 2nd Pacific Division, 8th Western Conference, 17th Overall):

Detroit not only swept the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, they never even trailed in the series. So calling the Detroit sweep wasn’t much of a feat. However, we did tell you that the San Jose Sharks were prime to be taken out by the Anaheim Thug Ducks and none of you listened to us. Can the Thug Ducks do it again? Sure, why not? They’re coming off the magical three days of rest and the Red Wings have been off since April 23rd. However, Detroit has the offensive ability and veteran moxie to overcome the rust factor and get themselves back into a series. We happen to think this series could be dandy to watch though it could be over very quickly is Chris Osgood continues his downward spiral and Jonas Hiller continues to shine in net for Anaheim. Both of these teams face hard decisions regarding the salary cap in the off season and right now we happen to think that Anaheim is well aware of that while we don’t know about Detroit yet. Adding to the list of things that could decide this series is the special teams play. Detroit posses a potent Power Play unit which means that the Thug Ducks would be well advised to stay out of the penalty box. However, the Wings allowed 3 Power Play goals on 14 chances against the Blue Jackets. Taking advantage of Osgood is the only way Anaheim can advance. We happen to think they will because even if Ken Holland pulls Chris Osgood, he’s only got Ty Conklin. Thug Ducks in six.

Series L: Vancouver Canucks (49-37; 100 points; 1st Northwest Division, 3rd Western Conference, 7th Overall) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (50-38; 104 points; 2nd Central Division, 4th Western Conference, 6th Overall):

Where Detroit and Boston cruised to first round sweeps, Vancouver had to actually work to sweep the St. Louis Blues, well, at least harder than Detroit and Boston did. Chicago was able to dispatch the dissolving Calgary Flames but it turned out to be nowhere near as easy as many thought it would be for them though we knew it would be tougher. Much of the focus is going to be on Roberto Luongo once again as he navigates a second round appearance for only the second time in his career and rightly or wrongly, this could be the series that makes or breaks him. He’ll have to slow down the Blackhawks own set of young guns and outduel the guy at the other end playing for his next contract, Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin has been here before so we give him and the Blackhawks the edge even before you factor in disparity in rest. There just seems to be something missing from the Canucks and Luongo that we can’t put our finger on. Add in that Chicago is certainly enjoying their revival we have to say Blackhawks in five.



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