RIVALS: Wings, Avs renew the heat in Round 2
NHL ROUND 2 | More picks from Ek, me
Round 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begins tonight. I correctly picked 5 of the 8 series in Round 1, and if not for a bad penalty call in Game 7 of the Washington/Philadelphia series, I could have been 6 of 8.
Once again, here are the picks of Eklund from hockeybuzz.com for Round 2, along with my comments…Ek correctly picked Philly as the winner in Round 1, so he did get 6 of 8…
Eklund: I know there were people out there who wanted to see Crosby vs. OV….(even one writer theorized last night in the press box that the Flyers should “Stand down for the good of the game) and as great as that would have been (and I dont doubt we will get our wish there someday) I really am a big fan of these matchups.
Detroit vs. Colorado
I have said it before and I still stick to it that they Avs are a team still growing into their bodies. They may very well be the best team in the West right now. The Wild were a tough team to dispose of and the Red Wings will be tough as well. This rivalry has so much great history and so much to offer. The fact that Foppa and Foote are back in the Rockies really makes this perhaps the best series to watch in this round…Even though the Wings won all four meetings and amazingly shutout the Avs in three of the four games, I still feel this Avs team is too deep and too much in a roll.
Ek’s prediction: Colorado in 6
Bill’s prediction: I just don’t think Jose Theodore will hold up in net, and if Chris Osgood struggles for Detroit, there’s always Dominik Hasek to back him up. I’m pulling for the Avs, but I think Detroit will win. Wings in 7.
San Jose vs. Dallas
These teams split eight games this year, with the most accurate game coming on March 27th where both teams had something to play for and the Sharks won 3-2 in OT. This has “seven game series” written all over it. I think the Sharks are getting a highly under-rated team in Dallas and the Sharks must guard against a letdown following the highly emotional series against Calgary. These teams are dead even in my mind, but the Sharks have an extra gear that the Stars may not have.
Ek’s prediction: Sharks in 7
Bill’s prediction: Sharks in 7
Montreal vs. Philadelphia
The Flyers are playing with house money and this series has all sorts sub plots. Of course the Habs dominated the Flyers this year and last year, but this Flyers team has vastly improved over the regular season team. In the Caps series the Flyers really bought into the team defense and support system that Stevens coaches. The Habs also survived a scare against a team they went 8-0 against this year in the regular season. (talk about drawing who you’d like to play in the first two rounds…the Habs were 12-0 vs the Bruins/Flyers). I think the Flyers. like the Bruins, will be much tougher than the Habs expect. This is a toss-up of a series IMO.
Ek’s prediction: Habs in 7
Bill’s prediction: Philly is spent and vulnerable from their series against Washington. Canadiens in 6.
Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers
Like Montreal, the Rangers have gotten two teams they play well against in the opening rounds…This series will be absolutely fascinating and GREAT for the NHL as Sid and Geno go to the Big Apple. Both of these teams will be required to step it up here as this will be a much harder task than either faced in round 1. The Penguins are polar opposite to the Devils. The Penguins can score. The Rangers will need to really keep the Pens in check, which is something they proved they can do quite well…another TOUGH, TOUGH, TOUGH call here!
Ek’s prediction: Rangers in 7
Bill’s prediction: I think it’s Pittsburgh’s year. The Rangers are also looking like a team of destiny, but against my better judgment, I’m picking the Penguins in 7.
To read ESPN’s the great John Buccigross’ latest column about the playoffs, and see his predictions, skate here.