NHL Playoffs 2017: Round 1 Predictions
Let’s take a stab at predicting round 2 of the 2017 NHL Playoffs, but first let’s recap my Round 1 predictions.
(1) Washington Capitals vs (WC2) Toronto Maple Leafs
My Pick: Caps in 5; Actual: Caps in 6
(2) Ottawa Senators vs (3) Boston Bruins
My Pick: Bruins in 6; Actual: Sens in 6
(1) Montreal Canadiens vs (WC1) New York Rangers
My Pick: Canadiens in 6; Actual: Rangers in 6
(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (3) Columbus Blue Jackets
My Pick: Pens in 5; Actual: Pens in 5
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs (WC2) Nashville Predators
My Pick: Predators in 7; Actual: Preds in 4
(2) Minnesota Wild vs (3) St. Louis Blues
My Pick: Wild in 7; Actual: Blues in 5
(1) Anaheim Ducks vs (WC1) Calgary Flames
My Pick: Ducks in 6; Actual: Ducks in 4
(2) Edmonton Oilers vs (3) San Jose Sharks
My Pick: Sharks in 6 games; Actual: Oiler s in 6
Not too bad considering the amount of upsets there ending up being. Here is what we have going on in Round 2:
Ottawa Senators vs New York Rangers
I was surprised that the Senators were able to get by the Bruins in round 1. Erik Karlsson has been outstanding, by far the best player in the playoffs for the Sens. But not too far behind him is Bobby Ryan, who has come up with huge goals for the Sens. The problem? King Hank has been great, back to his old form for the Rangers. They were able to fight off the Habs in round 1, but they’re in for a more offensive team in this round. That being said, Hank likely knows he doesn’t have many more chances to get to the Cup final, and I expect him to continue to get better as this series goes on. I really like their chances of knocking off Ottawa.
My Pick: Rangers in 5
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals
The Caps were pushed hard in the first round, whereas the Pens had a fairly easy time dismissing the Jackets. The Pens are similar to the Leafs in terms of speed, and are likely better defensively. They won’t threaten the Caps as much with scoring depth, as it will come mostly from the top two lines on Pittsburgh. That being said, we’ve seen this many times before. The Pens always seem to come out on top. I would really love to see Ovi win a Cup, but I’m going to go with history here and pick the Penguins. Even without Letang, they have to be considered the favourites in the East. Whoever comes out of this series will likely have a much easier Conference final as they’re both superior to the Rangers and Sens.
My Pick: Pens in 7
St. Louis Blues vs Nashville Predators
I picked the Preds to come out on top in round 1, but didn’t expect them to handle Chicago so easily. The difference maker in this series could be Jake Allen. He carried the Blues through round 1, as they got badly outplayed in a couple games. Nashville boasts one of the strongest bluelines in all of hockey, but they lack depth scoring up front. The Blues will need a big series out of Allen again, as well as magic from Vladimir Tarasenko. The Predators need to just continue their play from the first round and they should be just fine. They’re my pick to win it all at this point.
My Pick: Nashville in 6
Edmonton Oilers vs Anaheim Ducks
I was surprised the Oilers got past San Jose. Cam Talbot had a great series, but it didn’t help the Sharks that they were playing hurt. Anaheim is a big strong team, and you have to believe Ryan Kesler will be all over McDavid. If there’s one person who can throw McDavid off of his game it could be Kesler. The Oilers are going to have to hope he can get away from Kesler as much as possible, because if not, they have no hope in this series.
My Pick: Ducks in 6