The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Another NHL Second Round Preview

Posted by Blake Murphy on April 25, 2008

This article has been submitted by Paul O’Neill.

Well I have to say I was pretty impressed with the overall quality of games in the first round. In the East, I’d have to tab the Flyers/Capitals series as my personal favourite as you got to see just how good Ovechkin really is (I pooed my pants a little watching the third period of Game 1). The Pens destroyed the Sens to everyone’s delight. Itching to get revenge for losing in five games last year, Avery and the Rangers drove fatso into self destruction (did anyone seriously think the Devils had a chance?). Lastly, Carey Price pulled up his pants and smoked the fattest pregame joint of his career to shutout the surging Bruins to win Game 7. I would have bet my lucky underwear and a lifetime supply of Lucky Lager on the Habs winning Game 5. Thank God, no internet site would take my bet.

In the West, the Calgary/Sharks series takes the cake. I give mad props to Darryl Sutter for mixing the perfect recipe for a playoff team. Iginla, Phaneuf, Nolan, Regher and Kiprussof are serious playoff performers. Iginla would be the MVP for the first round if one was handed out, but Kiprussof failed to pull through. If I was Mike Keenan I would have given Joseph a shot in Game 4, Kiprusoff had been shaky all year and the Joseph had all the momentum going into Game 4. Theodore stole Games 4 and 5 for the Avs against Minnesota and is playing like he did in ’02 when he won the Hart. The Wings rode a pair of ancient goaltenders to win in six games against the Predators. I have to give mad props to the Nashville fans who packed the Sommet Centre (formerly the Gaylord Entertainment Center, best arena name in sports) and made it one of the toughest buildings in the West to play in. Hockey may not be the pinnacle of entertainment in Nashville, but the fans who went to the games showed more passion than anyone expected. Lastly, the Stars shocked everyone and dummied the defending champ Ducks in five games. I still can’t believe this one. Scoring 10 powerplay goals in the series helps. Brad Richards is fitting in quite nicely on the powerplay.

Now…on to my second round preview and predictions. I went 6-2 in the first round, failing to pick the Flyers and Stars. If Marty Biron wasn’t possessed in the third period of Game 7 I would have went 7-1. By the way, I’d just like throw out the fact that the Snuggler had the Flames in 7 until I chirped him to change it. There I said it, I feel better.

Montreal (1) vs. Philadelphia (6)
Carey Price had a terrible game 5 and 6 but pulled it together for his 2nd shutout of the series in game 7. His shakiness has put some doubt in my mind that he can repeat his performance and take Philly in round 2 but when all the pressure was on in Game 7 he came through. He’s been like that his whole career and gives the Habs the edge in goaltending in this series, and with a 3-0-0 record, 1.33 GAA and a .961% with one shutout against the Flyers in the regular season, he’ll have all the confidence in the world.

This series features the two best powerplays from the regular season, although only the Flyer’s have lived up to expectations in the playoffs, going 8 for 36 (22.2%) in their opening series win against the Capitals. Daniel Briere and Vaclav Prospal have been dynamite on the powerplay combining for 5 goals and 9 powerplay points in the first round. The Habs have so much depth up front and since Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timmonen can’t play the whole game, they really need their 2nd and 3rd lines to keep firing the way they have been. The Kostitsyn brothers are 2nd and 3rd in playoff scoring on the Habs and I don’t see why they won’t keep it up against the Flyers.

The Habs have the advantage in goaltending and offense while the Flyers have the advantage on defense. The Habs have owned the Flyers this year, but as we saw against the Bruins, the playoffs are a new season. If the Flyers had my main man Simon Gagne back from injury, I’d give it to them in 7, but I’m going to have to take the Habs without him.

Montreal in 7

Pittsburgh (2) vs. New York (5)
This is going to be the best playoff series of the entire playoffs. They are incredibly evenly matched and have too many story lines for it to not live up to expectations. Crosby, Malkin and Hossa put latex gloves on and anal fingerblasted the Senators. It was the most incredibly satisfying anal fingerblasting I’ve ever witnessed (and that’s saying a lot). Crosby, Malkin and Hossa combined for 20 points in 4 games against the Senators. Although the Senators played terribly coming into the series (and missing their best defensive forward in Mike Fisher), Gerber played relatively well but still couldn’t stand a chance against the big three of the Pens. Scott Gomez was terrific against his old team and Jagr looked like a man with something to prove, putting up 8 points in five games against the Devils. Sean Avery is the X-factor in this series and if he doesn’t get murdered by Big George Laraque in Game 1, he could make Crosby and Malkin cry (they are pretty young, and Crosby has been known to whine in the past).

King Henrik outplayed Martin Brodeur and has cemented his position as one of the best goalies in the NHL, recently being nominated for his third Vezina in a row. Marc-Andre Fleury is young and inexperienced but posted a 1.26 GAA and a .955 SV% with one shutout (only allowing 5 goals in 4 games). One could say this is attributed to Alfredsson missing the first part of the series, but if I remember correctly the top line, which combined for 263 points in the regular season, was intact for the final game. Both goalies have been the class of the Eastern Conference so far, and the trend should continue through the second round.

The Pens have all the confidence in the world and are the only undefeated team left in the playoffs. The time off will help heal Crosby’s ankle (does he even need time off?) and since the Rangers finished their series in five games, there won’t be an argument as to whether time off will affect one team as opposed to rolling right in to the second round.

The Pens have the edge in offense and defense while the Rangers have the edge in goaltending. Sean Avery will be the key to this series, and if he can ruffle Crosby,
Malkin and Hossa’s feathers the Penguins will sink. However, they just have too much firepower for the Ranger’s to overcome. These kids are on a mission. I’m taking the Pens.

Pittsburgh in 7

Detroit (1) vs. Colorado (6)
Now here’s an old school matchup of one of the best playoff rivalries of all time. These two teams combined to win five Stanley Cups from 1996-2002 and have spawned some the best playoff brawls in history since the days of the Broad Street Bullies. Forsberg’s back, Foote’s back, Draper is still prancing around the ice, and hell, even McCarty’s back.

The Detroit Red Wings are the best team in the NHL, period. Datsyuk and Zetterberg finished with 97 and 92 points respectively and were just nominated for the Selke trophy today (going to the league’s best defensive forward). WTF??? Doesn’t anybody else think that is fucked? Your team’s two best offensive players are also your two best defensive players (excluding Nicklas Lidstrom). Tomas Holmstrom is a beast in front of the net, and the Wings sport the best defense in the league. Colorado has a combination of skilled and gritty offense and two huge playoff performers in Forsberg and Sakic. However, their powerplay was atrocious in the regular season, finishing 28th in the league with a brutal 14.6% success rate.

Dominick Hasek was pulled for Chris Osgood who then responded with a shutout the next game against Nashville. They both had amazing regular seasons but a large portion of their stats can be attributed to excellent team defense. Jose Theodore was amazing against the Wild and effectively stole the series for Colorado. Is Jose back? Back again? Theo’s back? Tell a friend? Who knows. If he is, he’s going to have to steal the whole fucking series.

The Wings have the edge in offense and defense while the Avs have the edge in goaltending. This series is going to be mean. Meaner than a drunk hoe PMSing. Since Kris Draper is the biggest hoe in this series, I’m going to take the Wings.

Detroit in 6

San Jose (2) vs. Dallas (5)
Stop ragging on Joe Thornton. Everyone. Seriously. Stop it. I’m talking to you, Sweeney. He’s one of the best players in the NHL and is two seasons removed from a Hart Trophy. I hate it when people say he isn’t a playoff performer. The playoffs are such a small sample size and much more a team effort than the regular season. Joe had a terrible series against Montreal in 2003-2004 but… he was INJURED. Jesus. The man shouldn’t even have been playing. He’s failed to lead his team to a championship the past two years (although making it to the second round both times), but so has the rest of the league minus Scott Niedermayer and Cam Ward. This is one dirty dirty hockey player. So dirty, he could probably have replicated my goal in the QIHL tournament this past March. He scored the game winner in Game 4 with 9 seconds left in the third period and scored a goal in Game 7 and people are STILL ragging on him? Shut up. Lick my balls. Joe Thornton for Conn Smythe.

Dallas shocked everyone by beating the Ducks in five games. Whoopty doo. Dallas was amazing on the powerplay notching 10 goals in 38 attempts, good for a 26.3% success rate. The pickup of Brad Richards is huge as it always helps to add a former Conn Smythe trophy winner. Too bad it won’t be this year. Brad Richards is a pussy. The monster Shark’s forwards will scare the shit out of him and Ribeiro.

The Sharks ranked first in the league in penalty killing in the regular season, killing off 85.5% of the opposing team’s powerplays. They also ranked second in the league in goals against, allowing 2.28 goals per game. Evgeni Nabokov was the best goalie in the NHL this season and played amazing against Calgary. Brian Campbell notched 19 points in his final 20 games of the season after being acquired for Steve Bernier and a first round pick. Marty Turco had a great first round series, but he isn’t the same caliber as Nabokov.

The Sharks have the edge in offense, defense and goaltending. Dallas has the edge in physical presence and annoying wieners (Steve Ott). My only hope is that the Sharks dress Jody Shelley so he can wail on Ott and I can watch him turtle like he did late in the season. I’ve picked the Sharks in the beginning; I’m not going to change it now.

San Jose in 6

This article has been submitted by Paul O’Neill.

One Response to “Another NHL Second Round Preview”

  1. Douglas Says:

    get out of argentina

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