2011 NHL playoffs second round predictions

Just one day after the first round was finally wrapped up, round two of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals gets underway tonight. So we’ll not waste any time and get right to our predictions.

As you do so, also take time to look back at how your first round predictions turned out. Personally, I went 7-1 missing only the Flyers/Sabres outcome. What is interesting to note here, however, is that all eight teams that won a majority of the vote in the Fan Polls two weeks ago actually went on to win their round one series. So reach around and give yourselves a nice pat on the back as you all went a collective 8-0.

Now, let’s see if you can duplicate that effort.

Eastern Conference

#1 Washington vs. #5 Tampa Bay: Washington won season series 4-1-1.

These are not the same Washington Capitals as we’ve seen from the previous postseasons. They have a little bit more to them than simply being an offensive powerhouse. They get reliable play on the blueline these days and the goalkeeping has not been a liability.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin each scored three goals for the Caps during their 4 games to 1 victory over New York. Ovechkin also chipped in with 3 assists while Semin finished with a +4 rating. Defenseman Mike Green scored once and added four assists and was a +3.

Your Pick

  • #1 Washington (73%, 366 Votes)
  • #5 Tampa Bay (27%, 132 Votes)

Total Voters: 498

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Caps keeper Michal Neuvirth had a 1.38 GAA, .946 SV% with one shutout in the five games against the Rangers.

Last night the Lightning completed their series comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. After falling behind 3 games to 1 they stormed back winning three straight. Goalie Dwayne Roloson was key to their victory in game seven as he stopped all 36 shots he faced. His efforts made Sean Bergenheim’s second period goal stand up as the game-winner.

Overall, Roloson was 4-3 against the Pens with a 1.77 GAA, .949 SV% and that one all-important shutout in game seven. His 243 were the most of any netminder in round one.

One other key for the Bolts was the play of their penalty-killing unit. They were successful in denying the Penguins 34 times on 35 man advantage situations. They’ll need more of the same against the Caps.

The man responsible for the Lightning PK unit is assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor in Tampa. Head coach Guy Boucher dedicated the series win to Fleming.

To their credit, the Penguins presented a game puck to Tampa Bay to give to Fleming, something that the Bolts bench boss was very grateful for.

“I thought the Pittsburgh Penguins showed a lot of class, giving us the puck right after the game, and we are going to give that puck to Mr. Fleming”, he said after the 1-0 win Wednesday night.

If both teams get repeat performances from their men between the pipes, this one could be a great one to watch and go the distance. I think that will be the case and the series will indeed go seven games.

My pick: Tampa Bay in seven.

#2 Philadelphia vs.#3 Boston: Boston won season series 3-0-1.

The Bruins finally shook off the Montreal Canadiens with a 4-3 overtime win Wednesday night. Nathan Horton’s goal 5:43 into OT was his second game-winner past regulation and three of Boston’s four wins took more than 60 minutes to achieve.

Your Pick

  • #2 Philadelphia (47%, 235 Votes)
  • #3 Boston (53%, 260 Votes)

Total Voters: 495

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They’ll now take on the Philadelphia Flyers who themselves needed all seven games to finally get past the Buffalo Sabres, despite being shut out twice by Ryan Miller.

Claude Giroux’s 9 overall points, (1 goal,8 assists) was second only to Montreal’s Michael Cammalleri’s 10, (3 goals, 7 assists), during the opening round of this year’s playoffs. Danny Briere’s six goals led the Flyers and only Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne has also scored that many thus far in postseason.

But unlike Selanne, Briere will have a chance to build upon it.

One big question mark for Philly is when they might see center Jeff Carter return to action. The Flyers leader in goals during the regular season injured his right knee during game four.

Tim Thomas went the distance in goal against Montreal and came out of the series with a 2.25 GAA and .926 SV%. He logged 453:49 TOI during the seven games. Montreal’s Carey Price actually topped that with 455:29 TOI.

It’s a good thing the Bruins got a lot of experience winning in OT during the playoffs over the last couple of weeks. I think they may have to burn the midnight oil a few more times against the Flyers. And I’ll give Boston the edge here in part to their ability to do so, plus their edge in goal with Thomas.

My pick: Boston in seven.

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver vs. #5 Nashville: Season series split 2-2.

The Nashville Predators find themselves in unchartered waters…the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. After knocking off the Anaheim Ducks, they now share those waters with the Presidents’ Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks.

Your Pick

  • #1 Vancouver (75%, 346 Votes)
  • #5 Nashville (25%, 116 Votes)

Total Voters: 463

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Vancouver, as you all know, escaped their opening round series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, being forced to a seventh game despite taking the first three. Some will speculate that this took a lot out of the Canucks and will hamper their chances. However, I think it’s just as likely that what happened to them…or almost happened to them…can prove to be just what they needed, a bit of a wake up call.

One can only bet that nothing will be taken for granted by Vancouver from here on out…no series lead will be considered safe.

The Predators will have Martin Erat back in the lineup. The forward missed the final two games of the series with Anaheim following a hit from Jarkko Ruutu. Erat’s 50 overall points tied for the team lead during the regular season.

The two teams will get round two underway tonight out in Vancouver.

My pick: Vancouver in six.

#2 San Jose vs. #3 Detroit: Sharks won season series 3-1.

Rested and ready, the Red Wings will wing their way westward to try and reel in the Sharks. The Big Red Borg have been waiting patiently for the second round to finally get here after leaving the carcass of the Coyotes along the playoff curb in the middle of last week.

Your Pick

  • #2 San Jose (32%, 147 Votes)
  • #3 Detroit (68%, 307 Votes)

Total Voters: 454

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Jimmy Howard enters the series sporting a 2.50 GAA and .915 SV% in the playoffs after stopping 108 of the 118 shots he faced against Phoenix. Antti Niemi was roughed up a bit in the six games against LA, escaping the series with a 3-2 record and a 3.99 GAA and 8.36 SV%. Antero Niittymaki was 1-0 with a 0.66 GAA and .967 SV% during the 91-pus minutes he played against the Kings.

Ryan Clowe led San Jose with 7 overall points, (4 goals, 3 assists), during round one while Pavel Datsyuk’s 2 goals and 4 assists led the Wings.

The Sharks took three of the four games played during the regular season an may benefit from coming off their series win over Los Angeles with just enough days off in between to get some rest, but not so much they could lose some of that playoff intensity edge.

However, as I’ve told some of you before, this is the playoffs and if there I’ve learned anything during my almost 46 years on this earth…you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t bet against the Wings come playoff time.

My pick: Detroit in six.

101 comments Add your comment

moriler

April 28th, 2011
10:10 am

Reposted here…

Damn. only 6 out of 8. Note to self; never trust the Canadiens. :)

Next round:

Washington over Tampa in 7 (this will be the best series in this round)
Philthy over Bahstun in 6 (if the Canadiens hadn’t stepped on their own dick, Boston wouldn’t be here, and Philly’s awake now after Buffaslug)

Detroit over San Jose in 6 (the Wings are much, much different than the Kings, and San Jose always goes out about this time if not before)
Vancouver over Nashville in 6 (the Canucks really are that good; the Blackhawks played over their own heads)

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
10:18 am

The only one I missed from round 1 was that I picked Anaheim, 7-1 isn’t bad. For round 2 I have Washington, Boston, Vancouver and Detroit.

moriler

April 28th, 2011
10:24 am

Yeah, I missed the Preds as well, but that was a coinflip to me, I’m just not familiar enough with Anaheim.

Alan R.

April 28th, 2011
10:26 am

My picks:

Tampa Bay in 6
Boston in 7

Nashville in 6
Detroit in 6

Matt B

April 28th, 2011
10:30 am

Washington in 7
Boston in 7

Nashville in 7
Detroit in 6

Hoof Arted

April 28th, 2011
10:38 am

I went 6-2, not too bad I suppose. For round #2 I’ll go with the Caps in 6, Philly in 7, Detroit in 5 and, are you ready for this, I’m going with Nahville to upset the Canucks in 6.

Red Light

April 28th, 2011
10:39 am

Re-posted from earlier blog as well.

Vancouver over Nashville in 7 games
San Jose over Detroit in 7 games

Boston over Philadelphia in 6 games
Tampa Bay over Washington in 6 games (see Stat of the Day below)

Since the Southeast Division was established for the 1998-99 season, two Southeast teams have faced one another just once in the playoffs, and that was the Caps facing the Lightning in 2003. Caps won the first two games at Tampa Bay and then dropped the next four. Of course, the Capitals have no remaining players from that team, while the Lightning have Kubina, Lecavalier and St. Louis as the only holdovers. St. Louis had five goals and four assists in that series, while Vinny had three goals and two assists. Kubina had no points. The Lightning were eliminated by the Devils in the following round. That season, the Lightning (3rd seed) won the division by a single point over the Caps (sixth seed).

Last season, the Caps goal differential for the season was +85, while the Bolts was -43. This season that margin was cut to just 20 (+27 to +7). Tampa’s road record this year was 21-14-6, while the Caps home record was 25-8-8. Tampa’s home record was 25-11-5, while Caps were 23-15-3 on the road. So, there’s not much of an advantage there, but Tampa is now riding a three-game road winning streak taking the last three games at Pittsburgh and Washington won all three of its home games against the Rangers.

It’s interesting that Southeast Division teams that have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals are 4-1 in them (including Washington’s 97-98 Cup Finals appearance), with the only loss by Carolina to Pittsburgh in 2009.

And for something that qualifies as the Stat of the Day: IF the Washington Capitals lose this series to the Tampa Bay Lightning, they WILL become the only NHL team in history to win four straight division titles not to advance to at least the Conference Finals.

harry

April 28th, 2011
10:40 am

Washington in 6
Philly in 5
San Jose in 7
Vancouver in 6

Russ

April 28th, 2011
10:44 am

Copied from the previous blog:

Brendan – As you know, I had the same picks as you in round 1, so I am also 6-2.

Round 2 picks

Washington in 7
Philadelphia in 7
Vancouver in 4 (they received their wake-up call)
Detroit in 6

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
10:51 am

moriler – yeah, that was a hard series to predict as they were 4 and 5 seeds, plus, you don’t get to see too many Ducks games as they probably air at like 11 out in the East. I am glad the Preds won though – road trip to Nashville in a few days!

Good info RL. I don’t see the Bolts taking the series, they have some serious talent but a lot of their star forwards aren’t so big and the Cap’s new MO is defense and they are going to smother them. Plus, the Caps have some pretty respectable forwards as well :)

Vancouver got a wake up call last series and they will answer it – solidly.

Boston and Philly will one hell of a brutal match! That is going to be fun to watch though I think it will be mostly defensive and 2 goals will win you a game.

Sorry San Jose, I voted for Detroit but I hope to hell you win. However, there is just something about Detroit that you don’t discount – they know how to win in the playoffs.

Smoothie

April 28th, 2011
10:53 am

Twill be tough to top the drama and excitement of Round 1 in which VS televised 9 straight OT games or something like that? Insane!

But the match-ups are very compelling and the drama could be just as good as long as the home teams don’t take a strangle-hold of the series by winning the first 2 games. Of course, that’s not necessarily a predictor of a close series, but it’ll be tough for the younger, more unproven teams like NSH & TBL to come back from down 2-0 at home. However, that’s why they play the games. And I expect at least 6 games in all 4. If there is any team that might win in 5, my bet is the San Jose Sharks. They dismantled DET last year in the playoffs and I just don’t think DET’s defense will hold up under the strain of a pretty relentless attacking Shark offense. So without further ado, here are my picks (sorry Nashville!):

Caps in 6 but the games will be low-scoring and ugly

Bruins in 7 games as Boston builds on its 1st round success

Sharks in 6 games over a stubborn Wings team; highest scoring series

The ‘Couve in 6 games over the plucky Preds eventho I’d prefer NSH

Hockey Biltong

April 28th, 2011
10:57 am

Craps over Dolts – barely
Philthy over Broons
Sharks over Red Borg – barely
Canuckleheads over Preds – wish it was the other way.

Hockey Biltong

April 28th, 2011
10:57 am

Reprinted from earier Ranallo warning..

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
10:59 am

Smoothie – I think the Caps – Bolts series will be the highest scoring, then Nucks – Preds, then Sharks- Det, and lastly Bruins – Philly.

Smoothie

April 28th, 2011
11:05 am

Z – keep in mind that TB plays a suffocating 1 – 3 – 1 and sometimes 1 – 4 with a lead. Knowing how potentially potent the Caps can be, they will try to vice grip their way to low-scoring wins. But the Caps have learned how to grind it out and with the time they’ve had to rest up, I think they will be as stubborn & stingy as they were in the last half of the season. The Caps have learned how to win without their PP.

kracker

April 28th, 2011
11:08 am

Caps, Flyers, Canucks, Sharks is my preference. But the Wings may well win over the Sharks.

kracker

April 28th, 2011
11:11 am

Oh, I’d love to see the Preds advance but I’m ok with Vancouver winning. Nashville finally won a playoff series so their season is already a success.

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
11:13 am

Smoothie – after doing a bit research Boston and Philly have the highest likelihood of having the highest scoring series. I guess my impression of former teams has clouded my mind.

Joe Friday

April 28th, 2011
12:15 pm

Caps over Tampa (rooting for stadium implosion though)
Bruins over Philthy (vaporization of both clubs preferred)
Canuckleheads over Preds (let’s go, Preds!)
Sharks over Them (come on earthquake swallowing both clubs whole!)

If Preds lose, I have no one left to root for, can’t imagine not watching the Conference or Cup finals, but that’s a possibility this year . . . I guess if the Wings get in the Finals I could get on the East’s bandwagon

hockeygoon79

April 28th, 2011
12:21 pm

I did OK with my Eastern Conference picks, going 4 for 4. No so much out west, 1 for 4. Oh well, I’ll take my 5-3 mark and declare victory I suppose.

Move along, I think the Capitals’ offense will prove too taxing for Tampa Bay and they’ll win in six. I like Boston to bean the Broad Street Bullies in six. The Predators are in unchartered waters as Blog Master says but the Orcas will maul them there in five games. And finally, the octopi thrown on the ice by Detroit fans will only provide chum in the waters for the Sharks, San Jose feasts on Wings in six.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Russ

April 28th, 2011
12:30 pm

JF – If you need someone to root for, you could take my stance: #1 – Thrashers fan #2 – Fan of whoever is playing against Heatley. Of course this means you would have to go for the Wings for one series.

Red Light

April 28th, 2011
12:30 pm

The difference in each respective series:

Washington’s third and fourth lines used to dominate others, particularly in the Southeast Division. Not so anymore as Tampa has two very good bottom six forwards. Defense, always a concern for many of you here, has become less of an issue than before. The last time the Bolts allowed more than four goals in any one game was March 22, and they allowed just 14 in the series with Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia became the third team ever to come from down 3-0 to win a playoff series last year versus the Bruins. That certainly will provide Julien with added ammunition for this series and while the Bruins PP went 0-for-12 against the Habs, the Flyers took 40 minor penalties against the Sabres and that won’t change in this series. Boston won three games in which they were outshot by the Habs. The Flyers surrendered 11 first-period goals to the Sabres and the Bruins were 3-0 when scoring first against Mtl.

San Jose scored just one first period goal against the Kings in the entire series but still managed to win in six games. The key to this series is the PP and PK units for both teams. Detroit allowed six PP goals in 18 attempts to Phoenix, which could be an ominous sign. The Sharks PP struggled against the Kings, and if they don’t improve they won’t win. This series has the makings of all-out WAR!

The grind that was the Canucks-Hawks series could have a bearing on this series. Few people will take NSH seriously until they win a game or two in this series. Huge advantage for the Preds in Game One despite playing on the road as the euphoric Canucks could be in for a rude awakening tonight. Expecting at least a split of the first two games, but Vancouver is just too deep for the Preds. Obviously, the Preds have to do a better job while shorthanded. Anaheim scored 8 out of 22 times on the PP against the Preds. Canucks defense is deep, while the Preds have only the top pair along with four star-struck kids. Hope I’m wrong, but don’t think so.

Uncle Milty

April 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

One day closer to the announcement. The potential for this happening near imminently is all over the Canadian hockey networks like TSN & Sportsnet (both NHL broadcast partners), yet nothing but radio silence from local accredited media in Atlanta, sans a daily reference or two alluding to a mythical buyer from a soap opera enthusiast radio jock. Here is a clue; #The Balkan is a myth.

.

Red Light

April 28th, 2011
12:55 pm

Since 1989, when exiting a first-round sweep (like Detroit over Phoenix), NHL teams have a 9-13 record in the second round. Advantage: Sharks.

Rawhide

April 28th, 2011
1:01 pm

Uncle Milty – Here’s a clue for you. Come on back Saturday after the “announcement in Winnipeg” fails to land the Thrashers there.

We all will look forward to hearing why it didn’t happen….again.

hockeygoon79

April 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

Uncle Milty, did any of those Canadian reports mention anything about a man on the grassy knoll or aliens at Area 51? There’s a reason no one else is talking about it. It isn’t happening.

What a gullible little troll you are.

Joe Friday

April 28th, 2011
1:05 pm

“Of course this means you would have to go for the Wings for one series.”

I’d rather watch the NBA (and probably will)! That’s one series I’m not watching one second of, not sure I want to watch any of Caps-Tampa or Boston-Philly either, couldn’t care less about seeing any of those clubs

Uncle Milty

April 28th, 2011
1:24 pm

@ Rawhide,

the only thing that will now save the franchise there is not some mythical local mystery buyer akin to Kincade’s #thebalkan but rather will be if the deal to save the Coyotes craters, and that is certainly a possibility.

I’ll probably be back very soon though.

moriler

April 28th, 2011
1:28 pm

Aw, is Nuncle Milty coming around again? Poor little Winniepiglet, it must have made him sad to hear the news from Bettman’s conference that Atlanta isn’t moving, and Phoenix hasn’t capsized yet. Don’t worry, Nuncle, maybe next year. If you’d care to put some money where your mouth is, though… ;)

The Mayor of Winnipeg

April 28th, 2011
1:28 pm

Uncle Milty, here’s a copy of today’s Winnipeg Free Press.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/

Tell me something son, do you see anything in there about the “whole city taking the day off to celebrate an announcement” tomorrow that you mentioned the other day and alluded to again today?

No? I didn’t think so.

Fans of Atlanta, please forgive our village idiot for showing what a moron he his. We’ve trying to get Moose Jaw to take him off our hands, but he’s just too much of an braindead idiot even for them.

moriler

April 28th, 2011
1:31 pm

@Mayor: You’ll have better luck looking around Saskatchewan or Newfoundland, I’d bet. They need good fishers there :D

Alan R.

April 28th, 2011
1:32 pm

Mayor, you could try to send him to Conception Bay, NF. As a bonus, he can watch the ATLANTA Thrashers in a preseason game, as per the Hockeyville contest.

Rawhide

April 28th, 2011
1:33 pm

I’ll probably be back very soon though.

Uncle Milty – Uh-huh. I’m sure you will. And as always…we’ll be here when you do.

warlock

April 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

Re: Sharks v. Wings:

If the series runs 4 or 5 games, Wings. If the series runs 6 or 7, Sharks.

And I’m thinking 5.

Red Light

April 28th, 2011
2:21 pm

Whinepeg, Manitoba?

litz

April 28th, 2011
2:32 pm

Shooting from the hip …

Vancouver in 7, Detroit in 6, Tampa in 6, and Philly in 5

DWTOO

April 28th, 2011
2:33 pm

Uncle Milty? It could be worse…at least Rammer or Torch haven’t cussed fans and made sexual gestures with a hockey stick like Roger McDowell. If it’s true ol’ Roger’s got some ’splaining to do.

It’s like Uncle Milty – ignore them and walk away. Don’t take the troll bait.

Tom

April 28th, 2011
2:37 pm

Washington over Tampa Bay in 5
Bruins over Philly in 6 (Goaltending rules)

Nashville with the upset over Vancouver in 6
Detroit over San Jose in 5

Winnipeg remains an AHL outpost.

World Be Free

April 28th, 2011
2:46 pm

Even Milty’s mother hates him-how pitiful.
He comes here cuz he thinks we are “family”.

Milty-move to Hamilton with the other losers.

Hoof Arted

April 28th, 2011
3:01 pm

I spent a week in Winnipeg one day.

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
3:30 pm

I love it when Uncle Milty comes by for a visit, always entertaining. We all have senile relatives…….and now we have another.

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
3:38 pm

Hoot, that is funny, if I am correctly understanding your comment!

ZAvalanche

April 28th, 2011
3:39 pm

I mean “Hoof”

World Be Free

April 28th, 2011
4:04 pm

Zavs-Milty is like the kid in high school with the “kick me” note taped to his back.

Hoof Arted

April 28th, 2011
4:12 pm

ZAvalanche, Yeah, I think you’re hip to my jive.

Moe

April 28th, 2011
4:30 pm

Sharks in 5 (any team losing 10-3 to St.Louis won’t make it far in the playoffs), Caps in 5 (locked – Stamkos is choking in playoff scenario, not experienced enough yet)
Bruins in 6, Thomas will step up his game
Nash in 7, full team playing and great coaching will override the high flying Canucks antics and Luongo choking

SomaAtl95

April 28th, 2011
4:31 pm

Wow, Uncle Milty is almost like the “Sage of Winnipeg”. I haven’t been here in a little while but I see nothing changes. Milty’s rampant mouth feces is still coming out. Just like last years “Big Announcement” in Winnipeg I’m sure this year it will be “We’ve decided that instead of being like Atlanta and waiting 20 years for a team to naturally come beck via expansion its much easier to spread misinformation and lies to steal another cities team. We felt screwed by the NHL and want Atlanta to feel that twice, so they completely loathe Canadian Hockey Fans”
Sounds like a plan, huh?

SomaAtl95

April 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

And all I want is Vancouver to lose. MTL and PIT are gone so I’m pretty happy.

Mayor of Winnipeg

April 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

Uncle Milty, I’ve had my entire staff working on this whole “closing down the city Friday to celebrate the NHL’s return” thing. None of them can find any info on it.

Can you tell us more about it? What time? Where? How long will it last?

We have a the annual Spingtime Pig-Sloppin’ Jamboree scheduled for Saturday and I’m hoping your “celebration” doesn’t mess up the place. We’re counting on those hundreds and hundreds of dollars the SPSJ brings in to be able to keep both traffic lights running through both weeks of the summer.

EA

April 28th, 2011
6:14 pm

Hoof, hilarious. Keep them coming.