The second round appeared to be heading to end with a whimper, but the Sharks sure made it interesting with their gutsy quadruple-overtime do-or-die game against the Stars. But none the less when the dust was settled, only the Stars, the Red Wings, the Flyers, and the Penguins were left standing. Two were a shock, two were to be expected.
Here's what our experts had to say...
Sadly, joining his faithful Habs, Troy has dropped out of the race, after a disappointing (and surprising) 0-4 prediction last round, he was stuck with only 6 points, and unable to make up ground against the Juggernaut at the top.
In third place with a 2-2 record and no correct series lengths, bringing his total to 11 is the writer of this very blog, yours truly...
After the first round, I complained about the predictability of it all, now I am in awe of the amount of surprises that came in the second round.
I have to say a lot of things surprised me this past round. I was completely shocked at just how poorly Montreal and Colorado played. Wow they really were lousy! I'm not really that shocked that the Habs lost, but I thought they would at least make a series out of it. As for the Avs, I knew that they were in over their head, but that series wasn't even close. The mighty Red Wings never looked to be in trouble, and if there was a way for them to have won that series in 3 games, I'm sure they would have found a way to do it.
On the other hand, I am really shocked at just how well the Stars did. Every game of that series was tight, and looked like it could have gone either way. I know that Jeff is going to say that he knew it all along, but I'm sure that even he didn't think that the Stars would go up 3-0. But the part that surprises me is that I never felt like San Jose was in trouble even after being down so hard. I really wouldn't have been THAT surprised if we had witnessed a miracle.
In actual fact I while I was watching the sixth game of that series in the first overtime, I was on MSN with Troy and I actually said "SAN JOSE IS WINNING THIS SHIT FOR SURE" after witnessing Nabokov's save (which may be the greatest save I have ever seen). Which I said that I would include in this blog no matter what. So here we are, I was wrong...dang it all..
In the last series, I was surprised at the fact that it went in five games. The Penguins never really dominated the Rangers, and it seemed like they won every game just barely, with the last game even going into overtime. Even though the Penguins only lost one game, I think that they faced their fair share of adversity throughout the series, which should only benefit them in the long run.
As for the MVP of the playoffs so far, with all due respect to R.J. Umberger, Brendan Morrow, and Johan Franzen, I've got to give it to someone who I thought was a total chocker, Marty Turco. He's proven that he is the real thing so far, as he out played both J.S. Gigure and Evgeni Nabokov in the first two rounds, and faced an insane amount of shots throughout. He is the reason that Dallas is where they are, and their continued success begins and ends with him.
But without spoiling my predictions, I think that Mr. Crosby will indeed be the Conn Smythe when it's all said and done.
How is that for clever foreshadowing?
In second place with 12 points, after going 3-1, while correctly predicting the length of the Flyers series, allowing him to leapfrog Glen, is the oldest member of our panel, Mr. Coin...
I bet you didn't see that coming?
Nobody gives the old guy any credit at all! In terms of raw scoring I have only made one mistake, and that was because that Pat Falloon kid didn't show up. How was I to know that he retired? I'd like to point out in the first round I said "Don't mess with Texas", I must have meant that for the second round.
Glen talks about how exciting that long game was, but what does that young whippersnapper know? I remember watching Mud Bruneteau's quintuple overtime goal in 1936. We loved it so much, that when the next game ended in regulation, we demanded our nickel back!
In first, still, after once again going perfect, and predicting the correct length of the Penguins series is once again Jeff.
Well, once again I was solid gold. My predictions seem to be a blessing for some, (Dallas) and a curse for others (Montreal). Glen has expressed to me how he worships my genius. I believe they are currently erecting a statue of me at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Now imagine for a second the thought of someone going perfect throughout the playoffs. I still have a chance to not only go perfect, but to also have my pre playoffs Stanley Cup match up and my Conn Smyth pick has being playing great! This is something big and should be headline news in all the major newpapers. If Glen’s blog was widely popular I would be famous by now. Unfortunately, “blogging ain’t easy” and not everyone can become famous. If only I was willing to sell myself out on Youtube in the search for fame and “internet money”. I could be bigger then Sneezing Panda………or even Laughing Baby. For reference, feel free to refer to the previous video I made for the last round.
Great second round. All be it, a rather quick one in most cases. I guess I gave to much respect to a couple teams, namely Colorado. I’m going to change things up. Since I did not pick an MVP of the first round, I am going to pick an MVP of each series instead.
Montreal vs Philadelphia
Pretty much what I expected. After all, I am a genius. Phili just out played them. Umberger stepped up in a big way giving the Flyers some secondary scoring that was only matched by Detroit. Montreal is a good team, but Price is young, and they are small. Just watching them shake hands was an eye opener. Hopefully Montreal can add a piece or two in the offseason and have a good year next year.
MVP of the series: R.J. Umberger (As if there was a doubt)
Pittsburgh vs New York
Again, I was expecting this. I was surprised it went to a game 5 after the Pens jumped ahead 3-0 though. The first game was awesome, although I did not see much of it. I did however, catch the last part of it, which was enough. The Rangers proved to me that they are a great defensive team. I honestly did not give them much respect in that department. Mark Staal is going to be a solid D-Man and it would not surprise me to see him on Team Canada with his brothers in 2 years. Speaking of the Staal’s, Jordan Staal came to play this series. The amount of penalty killing this kid does is crazy. Simply an amazing series for this, and crazy to think, 3rd line center/super star.
MVP of the series: Jordan Staal
Detroit vs Colorado
Anyone who thought Colorado was going to win this series must have been taking their chances on winning big in Vegas, because there was little to no chance that was going to happen. I honestly wish I wouldn’t have felt bad for them and given them the 1 victory salute. I should have predicted a sweep. After all, Osgood is in net now, so as it stands right now, they are fine in that department. If Colorado stays healthy next year, they will be a decent team in the West. Detroit is simply a solid team. Not to many weak points there. Johan Franzen is a beast, and will be a tough opponent in the 3rd round, commanding the Stars attention and causing trouble in front of the net.
MVP of the series: Like there was any doubt, Johan Franzen and his Gordie Howe smashing 9 goals in 4 games.
Brett Hull, I mean Dallas vs San Jose
This is what I call, my feel good series of the second round. Once again I picked Dallas while everyone else picked San Jose. It’s science. The Brett Hull factor is strong in this team. What can you say about them? They played hard, although things got scary once San Jose got desperate. I wish I hadn’t had to have worked Monday, I would have loved to watch the whole of game 6. None the less, Dallas played great, San Jose will have to go back to the drawing board. Dallas wipes out 2 power houses from the West due to Brett Hull’s awesomeness.
MVP of the series: Brett Hull, honourable mention goes to a “should be/better be member of Team Canada in 2010” Brendan Morrow.
So here we go, Round 3. This is where we separate the men from the boys. Two teams will punch their ticket to the Big Dance, two will walk away full of shame and embarrassment after having failed before me. All of these teams have called to ask for my blessing, some throwing massive amounts of money and gold at my feet. They know that I am the hockey Guru and I only pick winners, so it should come as no surprise that I am being showered with riches, while Glen sits there and scratches his head, wondering if he should simply copy my picks. Let’s get to it....
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
#2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers
Glen Says: Whacky Playoff Fact about this Series: The 1998 Detroit Red Wings were the last team to win a Stanley Cup without defeating a Canadian team on the way to victory. These are the only two remaining teams that have gone through a Canadian team.
Now this is a clash of styles if there ever was one! On one hand you have a rough and ready team known for its ability to lay the body, and on the other hand you have a dynamic young team, poised for great things. I think that this one just may surpass San Jose-Dallas and San Jose-Calgary for best series of the playoffs! I expect this to be a long series with a lot of energy and hate between these two.
This series has a lot more at stake than just a berth in the Stanley Cup finals or bragging rights for two cross-state rivals. I think that whichever team wins this one will be emulated by many, many other teams in the league. Everyone tried the Neutral Zone Trap after Jersey won in 1995, and then they tried the rental player approach that worked for Carolina in 2006, and people then tried to toughen up after Anaheim won last year. If either of these teams go on and win the Cup, I think that we will see a few more teams try and be just like them.
For that reason, I'm cheering for the 80s run and gun Penguins over the 70s bruiers. It should be a great one though.
The Age of Crosby is upon us, all hail the face of the new NHL!
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7
Mr. Coin Says: Glen copied me! He flips me, so of course he can see my predictions before hand...
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7
Jeff Says: Both teams come in playing well, and having faced adversity at some point in there playoff run. Pittsburgh had an easy first round, but the Rangers made them earn it a couple times in the second. Philly played two tough series’ but battled through it on the back on solid goaltending and a surprise offensive hero. These two teams had some epic battles this season, except that last game which was terrible, and only serves to set up this match-up now since many speculated that the Pens purposely lost the game to avoid the Flyers in the first round (makes sense to me). I do think that we have yet to see the best of Malkin and Crosby (hard to believe but if they are going to beat Phili they need to be stellar). And Hossa has proven to be a good deadline deal (what a relief to management). If Pittsburgh can keep up with the physical play of Phili they should be able to win out. Phili will need all hands on deck for this one. They have two powerful lines to defend against and a third coming off the bench that can produce just as much energy. It will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh defends against the likes of Briere and Umberger. Staal’s line will no doubt be expected to work overtime this series to shut down Phili’s top scorers.
Key’s to the series: Staying out of the penalty box. Both teams have incredibly powerful power plays. Too much of the dirty stuff will leave one of these teams wondering what could have been.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins in 6
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
#1 Detroit Red Wings vs. #5 Dallas Stars
Glen Says: Whacky Playoff Fact about this Series: Not only has no team with a European Captain ever won the Stanley Cup, but no team with more than eight Europeans have ever hoisted the Holy Grail. Detroit has ten players born on the Eastern side of the Atlantic, including Captain Niklas Lidstrom.
This series really gets me excited for a few reasons. For starters, I know just how awesome the hockey is going to be, but also because neither of these teams are on the West Coast, so I'll actually be able to watch it. I have been so insanely impressed with Dallas it is unreal. With their hard work, spectacular goaltending, and clutch Captain, they remind me a lot of the 2004 Calgary Flames that went all the way to the Cup Finals. It should be worth noting that those Flames defeated the three favourites in the West on their way, and the three favoured teams in the West this year going into the playoffs were Anaheim, San Jose, and Detroit.
As amazing as Detroit has been in the playoffs, they really haven't faced any major challenges. Nashville and Colorado really were the two teams in the West who didn't seem like Stanley Cup contenders, and Detroit's victory was never really in doubt, even when Nashville won those two games. Dallas on the other hand went into each series as extreme underdogs and managed to fight through two great teams and bring out victory both times. I think that the first two rounds of the playoffs are meant to give you adversity so that you can handle the last two, and in that respect, Dallas wins handily.
Prediction: Dallas in 6
Mr. Coin Says: I've been saying Detroit out of the West all along, and I'll be damned if I'm going to change my mind again, I only do that in the Eastern Conference. This Brenden Morrow kid is clutch, but he's no Mud Bruneteau.
Prediction: Detroit in 6.
Jeff Says: So, few would have predicted Dallas to be in this position right now. I on the other hand knew what I was looking at right from the start, that being a solid hard working hockey team out to prove to everybody they belong. Detroit has had it relatively easy thus far while Dallas has knocked off two of the most favoured teams in this years postseason. That makes them very dangerous. Detroit must be mindful of how hard they are going to have to play; otherwise, they will find themselves in a lot of trouble. If Dallas takes game one look out. Detroit must win game 1 to slow down the Stars momentum. Detroit must also be aware that Brett Hull is up in the press box and his power is immense, able to turn simple hockey players into gods on skates.
Having said that, I predicted Detroit to come out of the west, and I really do think they are the best team in the league this year. They still won the Presidents Trophy after having gone 10 loses in 11 games in February/March. They are built strong, and have Franzen on fire. Their power play is wicked and Dallas seems to get into penalty trouble often. If Osgood plays up to par then they should be able to battle this one out.
Prediction: Detroit Red Wings in 6
Well that does it for this round. Keep watching the hockey to see if I can leap frog the coin again, and maybe catch Jeff!
Until next time,