So the Kings are out. Bummer. And yes, I still wish they were still in it just about every day. Regardless, it’s over for this year so the focus needs to shift to other teams and other games. Obviously the upset of the Capitals was huge, but what is the plan for the next round of games now? Below are my predictions, as well as brief thoughts on the match-ups:
Pittsburgh v. Montreal
Thoughts: Montreal had a big upset against the Caps, but that’s all they have in them. The run comes to an end now. Spectacular performances by Halak might steal a couple games, but it’ll be short lived. Still, a 2nd round appearance for the Canadians is not an insignificant success for this team.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6
Boston v. Philadelphia
Thoughts: Philadelphia crushed the Devils in round 1, and Boston had its hands full against the Sabres, but I still have to give the edge to Boston. Rask outdueled perhaps the best goalie in the NHL in Miller, and the Philadelphia keepers will be no match for him. The real Flyers are coming back in full-force, and not for the better.
Prediction: Boston in 6
San Jose v. Detroit
Thoughts: This has been a thorn in the side of San Jose for a while now. The Red Wings exemplify the franchise that the Sharks aspire to be. Is this the round the Sharks choke out of the playoffs? I say no. This season the Sharks will get this particular monkey off their back and emerge with a win. Still, experience and pure skill will allow Detroit to keep it close, and some fantastic games from Howard might allow them to steal this series.
Prediction: San Jose in 7
Chicago v. Vancouver
Thoughts: Chicago beat Vancouver in this series last year, and the stage is set to do it again. The Canucks are playing well, as any Kings fan can attest, but they just don’t have the all-around skill to match up against the Blackhawks. They’re young and hungry, and have to be the favorite. If they allow Vancouver a win in Chicago, they could be in trouble, and if Luongo turns it on, things could go another way.
Prediction: Chicago in 6
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Who do you think will win these games?