San Jose vs. Colorado
The Prediction: San Jose in 5
The Outcome: San Jose in 6
At the outset of this series, it looked as if the Sharks were going to choke in the first round again. However, they righted the ship in spite of giving the Avalanche an overtime victory by shooting the puck into their own net. Too much firepower eventually wore down the Avs Craig Anderson, and the Sharks escaped to the second round.
Nashville vs. Chicago
The Prediction: Nashville in 6
The Outcome: Chicago in 6
Wow, this one still hurts, as the Predators conceivably could have fulfilled my prediction and still be playing. As it was, they could not overcome their mistakes and gave away a hard fought series to their Central Division rival.
Vancouver vs. Los Angeles
The Prediction: Vancouver in 6
The Outcome: Vancouver in 6
Well, waddya know, blind hogs will find an occassional acorn. The offensive horsepower of the Canucks and the super powers of the Wonder Twinkies eventually got the best of the L.A. defenders and goalie Jonathan Quick. Roberto Luongo looked solid in net and the Vancouver defense did a good job of limiting a potent L.A. attack.
Phoenix vs. Detroit
The Prediction: Phoenix in 7
The Outcome: Detroit in 7
This series was a hard fought affair that saw each team make statements on the other's home ice with big wins. Tied at three games apiece, it came down to a one game match in the desert. The Desert Dogs proceeded to get walloped 6-1 in the 7th and deciding contest. Way to show up for that one, boys. Ilya Bryzgalov, who was outstanding in the series, was hung out to dry by the team in front of him, and the Yotes never mounted a serious challenge in the game to rookie netminder Jimmy Howard. Playoff experience versus playoff neophyte, and the experienced team won this one going away.
Washington vs. Montreal
The Prediction: Washington in 5
The Outcome: Montreal in 7
Ha-ya-lak me now? The Caps ran into a goaltender that was Superman and the Great Wall of China rolled into one as Jaroslav Halak led the Habs back from a 3-1 deficit to a stunning upset. In winning three straight games, Halak stopped 131 of 134 shots for a .978 save percentage. This upset is one for the ages, but the Caps can take solace in sipping champagne out of the President's Trophy for most points in the regular season. What? You mean you can't...
New Jersey vs. Philadelphia
The Prediction: New Jersey in 7
The Outcome: Philadelphia in 5
Martin Brodeur played well in this series, but the team in front of him was absolutely manhandled by the tough and physical Flyers. (Philly tough and physical? Go figure!). Flyer netminder
Boston vs. Buffalo
The Prediction: Buffalo in 7
The Outcome: Boston in 6
I really did not think that the Booins would have enough offensive juice to solve Ryan Miller. As it turns out, the injuries to the Sabres roster had a greater negative impact on their squad than did the loss of Marc Savard for the B's. The Beantown Bad Boys just kept unrelenting pressure on Ryan Miller and the Buffalo defense until they broke.
Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa
The Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5
The Outcome: Pittsburgh in 6
The Senators were certainly feisty in this series, winning game one in Pittsburgh and taking the fight to the much heralded Pens. In the end, however, the Penguins just had too much on the offensive front for the Senators to contain and Pacal Leclair was not Jaraslov Halak in this series. Although Marc-Andre Fleury looked shaky at times, he settled in to turn in some solid goaltending for the Penguins. And yes, I am an expert.
And so the View was a rather weak 3 correct predictions for the series outcome against 5 incorrect ones, for a shabby .375 percent correct. Ouch.
But will that daunt me from making fearless second round predictions? Is the mainstream press unbiased? Wait...
Anyway, on to the second round and some bold prognostications.
Pittsburgh vs. Montreal
Once again, the Canadiens are matched up against an opponent that brings a high powered offense to the rink. The question in this series is can Jaroslav Halak and the defense in front of him continue to play out of their minds? In this series, I think not. The Penguins bring a more team approach to their attack, unlike the Capitals that preferred to let their stars try to create individually.This will present more problems for the Canadiens and will severely test Halak and their defense. At the other end of the ice, I expect Fleury to be strong and the Penguin defense to contain the Smurfs. This will be no cakewalk, as the Habs are playing loose and with confidence.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6
Boston vs. Philadelphia
Hide the women and children for this one. Chris Pronger will be busy getting his nasty on and the Bruins will counter with the big Z, Zdeno Chara, who is about 7 feet of surly. This is the series that could get ugly fast, with both teams determined to establish physical superiority. What remains to be seen is if either team can generate offensive chances with the carnage that will occur through neutral ice and in the attack zone. I believe the winner of this one will be the one that makes the fewest mistakes, and if the Bruins can irritate the Broad Street Bullies just enough, the Flyers will be the ones that let their emotions take over and take them out of the game.
Prediction: Boston in 7
Bonus Prediction: Body Count will be 5
San Jose vs. Detroit
Perennial choker against perpetual powerhouse. Can this be the year that the Sharks finally shed that label and start to play to their potential? Will this be the year that Detroit finally succumbs to an offense that can light it up? No. Unfortunately for the Sharks, they will not get past the poise and the talent of the Wings, which is peaking at the right time and playing some of the best hockey of the season. Evgeni Nabokov will experience much more pressure and attack than he did against Colorado and his own D-man Dan Boyle. Once again, the Sharks will falter and leave their fans something to grouse about besides jets flying into the airport late at night.
Prediction: Detroit in 6
Chicago vs. Vancouver
This back alley fight is another series that has the potential to get nasty early. The Canucks have had a year to think about getting put out of the playoffs by the Blackhawks, and they want revenge. The Blackhawks have had a year to think about new ways to rattle Bobby Lou, and he should get ready to smell Dustin Byfuglien's cologne for a good part of this one. Can the Canucks defense slow down the potent Blackhawk forwards? For a while, but not for the entire series. Can the Hawks forwards stop the Twinkies, Mikael Samuelsson, and Alex Burrows? Not entirely, but just enough to swing the series to their favor. For Chicago, their biggest question is can Antti Niemi handle the pressure that the Canucks will bring. He is going to face a more potent offense than he faced in the first round against Nashville. Perhaps the most important question is can Duncan Keith squirt the Green Men with Gatorade while he is sitting in the penalty box in Vancouver?
Prediction: Blackhawks in 7
So there you have it. More fearless predictions that you should not in any way use for gambling purposes. Recall that .375% success rate in the first round by the View.
The second round should provide some entertaining and exciting hockey for all fans. Sit back and enjoy, and in a couple of weeks, we will look back and see if the View sharpened up his predicting skills