2008 NHL Playoff Predictions: Second Round
This round was far more difficult to forecast than Round 1. There are so many factors to consider – health, time off, momentum or lack thereof coming out of the first round, overall depth, leadership, etc. I went 7-1 in the first round, falling short as many did in the Anaheim-Dallas series. Hopefully the second round will be just as good to me.
1 Montreal Canadiens vs. 6 Philadelphia Flyers – The Canadiens are the easy choice here given that they dominated in their season sweep of the Flyers. Bill Meltzer of NHL.com pointed out that the Flyers were without key defensemen each time the two teams met over the regular season. That should not be the case this time around. Also, with Martin Biron playing some of his best hockey of the year and a team that has fully committed to John Stevens’ brand of team defense, it could be a very long series. Montreal struggled against Boston, particularly on their power play. Even so, the Canadiens are healthier than the Flyers at present – and that makes a huge difference in the playoffs. – MONTREAL CANADIENS
2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5 New York Rangers – I think both teams would have rather met each other in the conference final. The Rangers are perhaps the only defense in the Eastern Conference that can shut down the potent Penguins, provided they don’t allow themselves to get swept up into a track meet. This series could come down to a goaltending duel between Lundqvist and Fleury. – NEW YORK RANGERS
1 Detroit Red Wings vs. 6 Colorado Avalanche – Everyone talked about the “dream” matchup in the East of Pittsburgh and Washington, but what about the dream match in the West? With some major players in the historic rivalry between these two clubs back on the ice, look for fireworks. This one boils down to motivation: will the Red Wings find the passion to continue forward or will the Avalanche develop the chemistry to overcome the President’s Trophy winners? If Mike Babcock hadn’t pulled Dominic Hasek in favor of Chris Osgood, I would have chosen the Avalanche. – DETROIT RED WINGS
2 San Jose Sharks vs. 5 Dallas Stars – San Jose is much like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. It’s not that he doesn’t want a heart; he just doesn’t know how to acquire one. Whether the issues stem from poor coaching or personnel defects, the Sharks need to find motivation to support their tremendous talent. Because the Dallas Stars have only a handful of talent but a bucket load of heart. – SAN JOSE SHARKS