Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Second Round Prognostications...

Couldn't find a hockey pic but I've got this swell pic of some home grown spuds from last summer...

Reader warning
: Every year I indulge in NHL (National Hockey League) playoff prognostications. Suffice to say, ice hockey is not the most popular sport on the planet but in Canada it's the only game in town (CFL football follows closely). So, please bear with me while I stick out my neck out on these important predictions.

Ok, the second round of the NHL playoffs (the eight of fate teams remaining) just started minutes ago. It's the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Nashville Predators. As anticipated it's a snoozer of a game.

This will be a closer series than most people think.

Nashville plays a pretty boring game. They have superstar Shea Weber on defence and a world class goalie in Pekke Rinne. The rest of the team is pretty generic. Despite this they buy into a complete total team concept. They beat a pretty hot team, Anaheim Ducks, in the last round. So, I anticipate they'll be pretty tough this round.

As for Vancouver, the Sedin twins better pick up their play or they're toast. All-universe goalie, Roberto Luongo was just adequate against the Chicago Blackhawks. He best leave his imitation of a fish-out-of-water at home. Otherwise, they should have enough horses to outlast the Predators.

My prediction, Canucks in 6.

San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings.
I really liked how the Wings played the last round against the Phoenix Coyote. They dominated the Coyotes in all aspects of the game. Their skill level was just incredible.

The Sharks were also impressive in beating the Kings of L.A. Their strength seems to playing deep and along the boards in the offensive zone. They're pretty deep in scoring talent with the likes of Dany Heatly, Logan Couture, to name a couple. The only weakness I see in San Jose is their goaltending. Niemi has looked awful at times.

This series is difficult to predict. If the Sharks play well, the Wings will have their hands full. If Wings winger Zetterberg comes back from injury, I'd lean towards the Wings taking the series.

For the record, Wings in 7.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. the big bad Boston Bruins.
I cannot express the hatred I have for both these teams. But these prognostications are not about me. Just my impeccable hockey knowledge.

Having said that, who really cares? I just hope they beat the crap outta one another. That alone makes this series worth watching.

The Flyers played a miserable last 2 or so months of the regular season but against the Sabers of Buffalo in the first round, I thought they fought back valiantly from a 3-2 deficit. Having said that, I don't think they were firing on all cylinders still. In the end, they had to drag out a less than optimal Chris Pronger to save a miserable power play. Then there was the annual dog and pony show at the goalie position for the Flyers. Perhaps they'll get a proper goalie one day.

I have nothing to say about the Bruins after they beat my beloved Habs.

Ok, I'll say this. Goalie Tim Thomas can be beat. All Universe defenceman Zdeno Chara looked like a pylon against the speedy Canadiens forwards. The Bruins first line of Lucic, Krejci, and Horton was pathetic (except on two overtime goals).

This series is difficult to predict.

I'll go with my gut on this one. Flyers in 7.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals.
Another close series.

I haven't seen either team play much this season except in the first round.

Both are high scoring teams. With the presence of Ovechin, I'll give the edge to the Caps in offense.

I really don't buy the fact that the Caps have become an immoveable dominant defensive force. I'll give the edge to the Bolts in defence.

If Dwayne Roloson, Bolts' goaltender, stands on his head, I'd give the Bolts the edge. But Caps goalie, Michal Neuvirth is just consistently good. That's enough for the Caps to win.

I'll give the series edge to the Caps. Washington D.C. in 7.

I'll also predict the odds of an upset in this series. The Bolts will have 75 percent chance of defeating the Caps.

That's it for now.

I've got to catch a Royal Wedding at midnight.

So, it's nap time for me.