Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to be underway tonight, beginning with a highly anticipated matchup between the Tampa Bay Lighting and president’s trophy winning Florida Panthers. So far the NHL hasn’t disappointed, especially with 5/8 of the series ending in game 7 decisions. With no surprise all 4 of the 1st seeded teams from each division have advanced, but will that change with goaltending heating up and unsuspecting players catching fire? Here are my predictions for the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Colorado Avalanche Win in 6 Games – A lot of people think the Avs will do what they did in last year’s playoffs: Destroy a wild card team in the first round then choke when they actually play a series against decent competition. But this year this team’s out for blood. Whether they make it to the finals or not isn’t the argument. I think they’ll choke eventually, but in this second round they have something to prove, and they’ll get it done. Avs in 6. Blues have grit which may push it to 7, but ultimately Colorado’s speed, talent and god-level goaltending will prevail.
Calgary Flames Win in 6 Games – The Battle for Alberta’s finally making a return in the playoffs with what’s set to be a violent, chippy 7 game series. Both teams won their first rounds, but each took 7 games to do so and Calgary needed overtime on top of that. I think they’ve both already missed their chance to live up to expectations, so picking a winner is solely picking talent and goaltending here. Sure, Mike Smyth’s having a career playoffs performance, but Markstrom’s on another level. Oilers will choke as usual and Calgary will advance to the conference finals.
Tampa Bay Lightning Win in 7 Games – Toronto was a massive mental and physical victory for a team that’s looking to win it’s 3rd chip in a row. Taking down this year’s Rocket Richard winner and the rest of the unreal talent on the Leafs was a massive win which will fuel the mental game for Tampa. Sure, Florida’s absolutely stacked with depth and decent goaltending, but ultimately Tampa Bay will take this one and move onto their 3rd conference finals appearance in a row.
Carolina Hurricanes Win in 5 Games – 5 Games is purely because I think the Rangers got absolutely lucky with Pittsburg’s goaltending issue. The fuckin’ Coyotes could’ve won a series against a third string goalie, yet it took New York’s talent riddled lineup 7 games to do it? C’mon, man. Carolina’s no different facing Boston’s 3rd string goalie, as well. However, with both situations presenting easy opportunities to score on less than elite goaltenders I think Carolina’s talent depth, massive skillset on the back end and high scoring offense will dominate a shaky Shesterkin.