01 May 2014

2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 2nd Round Predictions

The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs continue tonight as the second round commence. Four teams remains in each conference and they have their dreams of Lord Stanley's Cup intact. Who will win their respective series and advance to the Conference Finals? Here are my predictions.

TV Schedule

A1 Boston Bruins vs. A3 Montreal Canadiens
Who does not love an Original Six showdown in the playoffs? It's a shame then that we won't get any Jack Edwards shenanigans. And once again, the Bruins are facing a team that won the season series 3-1 in Montreal. The Canadiens had a lot of success utilizing their speed advantages over Boston and were able to confound Tuukka Rask but even then, the Bruins are deeper and stronger on both ends during equal play. It will be a fun series but Boston will move on.
Bruins in 6

M1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. M2 New York Rangers
We all know how famously inconsistent Marc-Andre Fleury can be and we saw his meltdown in the fourth game against Columbus, but to be fair to him, he played really well in their opening series. If anything, the problem with the Penguins are with their defense, which was very messy at times. And if Fleury plays like he did for much of the series, they will advance past New York and I think they will. The Rangers were pretty hot and cold against the Flyers and hence needed every possible game to advance. Pittsburgh will survive.
Penguins in 6

C3 Chicago Blackhawks vs. WC Minnesota Wild
This may be the easiest series for me to predict, relatively speaking. These two played last year in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Minnesota was easily dispatched of in five games, and I think we will see a similar result here. That is not to say that the Wild cannot win this series because I think they are ways they can. However, the concerns with their goaltending will be too much to ignore whether it be Ilya Bryzgalov, who struggled in the first two games against Colorado, or rookie Darcy Kuemper. Corey Crawford is playing well, their offense is firing, and who knows, maybe Brent Seabrook will take out one of the Wild's top players with a cheap shot like he did against St. Louis
Blackhawks in 5

P1 Anaheim Ducks vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings
How has the Freeway Face-Off never had a playoff edition? Well it did almost happen last year but now we have it, and boy will the next few weeks be fun down in Southern California. And Anaheim did win the season series, but I like Los Angeles here. First, the Kings are hot after coming back from a 3-0 deficit to the Sharks. Second, the Kings have Jonathan Quick in net while the Ducks are still trying to figure out who will get the job done there. Third, the Kings are much better in terms of puck possession than are the Ducks and finally, the Los Angeles offense came alive against San Jose. I like the Kings is a shorter series than some will think.
Kings in 5

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