Thursday, April 24, 2003

Second Playoff Round Predictions

Okay! The first round is over... time now for the elite 8 in the NHL to survive to the Conference finals.

Eastern Conference
Philadelphia vs. Ottawa
In a rematch of last season's first round, Ottawa and Philadelphia square off in what is sure to be another classic playoff series. Tony Amonte has to score a hole lot more to prove acquiring him for the sole reason of the playoffs wasn't a bust. It's time to start serving the Wheaties in the locker rooms. The Senators proved that they didn't need Yashin to not get "voted off the island" and sent the former holdout with the resurgent Islanders packing. The Senators are the top seed in the East and it will be just as difficult eliminating them as chopping down the 6 ft. 9 in. "tree" named Zedno Chara. Prediction: Senators in 6

New Jersey v. Tampa Bay
The second seated Devils had a short time taking care of Boston in the first round. Though New Jersey had them on the ropes early in the series, Boston was eliminated in 5 games. Martin Brodeur continues to be the clutch goaltender he always was stopping a barrage of shots day in and day out. The matchup of the series is Brodeur versus Martin St. Louis who took more capital offense in the last series. This is the furthest that the Lightning have traveled in the playoffs, so the underdog Tampa Bay team has low expectations on their side. Prediction: Devils in 5

Western Conference
Minnesota vs. Vancouver
NHL Playoff hockey has not been played in Minnesota in 10 years since. The tremendous support that the Wild franchise got in the first round proved moving the Stars to Dallas was a huge mistake. It took 7 games to shockingly upset the strong Avalanche franchise. Overtime helped the Wild get a second chance at winning taking their last two games into OT. The Wild are also undefeated when they score the first goal this year. Vancouver is also a team that had to fight back from being on the brink of elimination. Marc Crawford's teams always come ready to play and are poised on representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Prediction: Wild in 7

Dallas v. Anaheim
If you checked my predictions in the first round, somebody was going to be swept, but who'd thought it was going to be the defending Stanley Cup champions. I'll admit that the Mighty Ducks shocked even me when they sent Detroit to the geriatric ward. The Ducks got "jiggy" with it and never looked back. Dallas once again proved to be the Oilers nemesis in the playoffs and fought off a tremendous crowd support in the Skyreach Center last series. The Ducks must remove the rust and shoot for the stars to continue to the next round. Prediction: Stars in 7