Sunday, May 03, 2015

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 2nd Round Update

Alright, so I'm a couple of days late in posting this, but I figured that it would be better late than never. Rest assured, these were my picks at the beginning of the second round. But first, a quick review of my first round picks. The only series I got wrong was Vancouver over Calgary, and I think almost everyone got that one wrong. I got half of the series lengths correct as well; I thought the Jets would steal a game, and they didn't and the Senators stole one game more than I thought they would. The only one I got wrong was that Detroit put up more of a fight with Tampa than I expected, but the end result was still the same. Just to review, here were my picks in Round 1.

Eastern Conference:

Montreal over Ottawa in 5: RIGHT team, wrong number of games.
Tampa Bay over Detroit in 5: RIGHT team, wrong number of games.
Washington over New York Islanders in 7: RIGHT team, right number of games.
New York Rangers over Pittsburgh in 5: RIGHT team, right number of games.

Western Conference:

Anaheim over Winnipeg in 5: RIGHT team, wrong number of games.
Vancouver over Calgary in 7: WRONG team, wrong number of games.
Minnesota over St. Louis in 6: RIGHT team, right number of games.
Chicago over Nashville in 6: RIGHT team, right number of games.

Second Round Commentary and Picks

Since I had such a successful first round, I have very little to add or change from my previous picks, other than a few notes on each series and the length of each series.

Western Conference:

Anaheim (1) vs. Calgary (3): I just don't see Calgary overcoming the physical powerhouse of the Ducks, who may have now become a possible Finals contender. I think the Flames can heart out a game at home, so I'll say Ducks in 5.

Chicago (3) vs. Minnesota (4): Both teams looked great in the first round, but this is where recent playoff history and the veterans should take over. Chicago in 6.

Eastern Conference:

New York (1) vs. Washington (2): New York looked really good in the first round, while the Caps had some struggles. This is the fifth time in seven years that the teams have met, and I just don't see Washington overcoming them this time. That said, if they do, I think this could be Ovie's shot at the Finals. New York in 6.

Montreal (1) vs. Tampa Bay (2): Both teams looked good in the first round, but both teams had weaknesses as well. I think this one is a toss up now, but I'll stick with my earlier pick and go with Tampa Bay in 7.

Final Notes and Thoughts

So, in spite some early apparent mismatches (Tampa and Chicago both up 2-0 in their series), I think that most of this second round should be really good hockey, and no matter which teams make it through to the Conference Finals, they should be entertaining. There have already been a couple of great games (that Chicago-Nashville Game 4 that went to Triple OT comes to mind) and a few standout performances from young teams and players, and I'm sure there will be more to come.

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