I know I’m a couple of days late on my second round predictions, but that doesn’t matter.
First round winners were 3-5 in the first game of the series. That shows that losing the first game isn’t really that big of a deal, and teams are able to come back from an early deficit. So I’m not worried if a couple of my picks are already down in the series.
I did pretty well in the first round. I got six series correct, missing on only the Canucks-Kings and Sabres-Bruins. I correctly predicted the Habs and Flyers upsets (one of the most frustrating things of reading “expert” picks is that they rarely predict upsets, instead of going with the easy picks), and even correctly predicted the amount of games for the Wings-Coyotes and Sharks-Avalanche.
Here are my picks for round 2:
Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins: I realize a lot of people don’t like Pierre McGuire, but I would give almost anything to be able to listen to him on TSN again instead of the guys on CBC. The CBC guys are brutal. Garry Galley is such a Sens homer that he can’t get excited for anyone else. Bob Cole seems to be five seconds behind the play. And Glen Healy doesn’t add anything from ice level. The worst is that the three guys seem to interrupt each other frequently, and we never get updates. On TSN, they’ll keep updating us on shots, blocks, hits, etc. For the CBC, I need to keep track of those things by logging onto my laptop and going to NHL.com. Not a good sign.
The other problem is that at some point in Game 1, Montreal thought they had scored. A Habs player was pointing into the net, but instead of acknowlding a possible goal, we were treated to a discussion about how great Sidney Crosby is on the faceoffs.
The analysis is bad, and we don’t actually learn anything. Please TSN, I’m begging you. Bring back the Habs if you can. Offer CBC the Hockey Night in Canada theme song. Make a trade where CBC gets Jennifer Hedger. Anything. But don’t let me listen to a long series of Cole, Healy and Galley.
Anyways, my pick is Habs in seven.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins: Forget for a minute the whole Marc Savard coming back and being an inspirational story. It’s the Flyers injuries that are the problem.
First, Jeff Carter is out for quite a while. That’s only 33 goals this season and 46 goals last year gone from the lineup. Simon Gagne is injured (lather, rinse and repeat), meaning a fast-skating scoring threat is gone. And Ian Laperriere is also done with after blocking a shot with his face. For Laperriere it’s not the goal-scoring they’ll miss, but the grit he brings to the ice.
And the worst thing for the Flyers is that Daniel Carcillo is still playing. He was in the penalty box when Boston made it 3-1 in game 1. He tries to be like Claude Lemieux, but he’s not as smart and doesn’t get away with as much stuff as Lemieux did. It’s going to end up costing the Flyers a game.
I think it would be great if Zdeno Chara and Chris Pronger got involved in some sort of on-ice altercation, but that doesn’t generally happen, since their opponents won’t be small enough for them to want to do something.
My pick is Bruins in six.
Detroit Red Wings vs San Jose Sharks: Let’s see: It’s playoff hockey, and Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley aren’t doing much. They had an easy team in the first round, but are now playing someone tougher. And there are questions about their heart.
Yup, sounds like the annual Sharks postseason. Yes, they won the first game of the series, but Detroit was tired, after playing a game 7 against the Phoenix Coyotes. And even then, it was a close game. I expect the Red Wings to bounce back in a big way.
My pick is Wings in six.
Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks: When I made my top 10 playoff predictions a few weeks back, one of them was that Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo would have a game where he lets in at least seven goals.
I was thinking of this series when I made that prediction. In game six last year in a series between these two teams, he let in seven goals. Against the L.A. Kings in the first round, he got pulled in a game after allowing four goals on 16 shots in about half a game.
The Blackhawks have a much better offensive team, and can ring up the goals no problem. I expect the Blackhawks to get better as the series goes along.
My pick is Chicago in six.