Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions - Round 2

So, already, my bracket is busted considering I thought that this was going to be St. Louis' year. I don't know what the Blues have to do with their roster to get over the hump and finally be in Cup contention. I had them going to the finals. Perhaps, they need to find an elite goaltender.

And for my hometown Penguins, it's quite an additional frustration to a team that had high expectations given that they have some of the best talent in the NHL. There is no excuses, but the consensus was that the injuries and lack of depth at the wing positions really hurt them.

So let's look at who's left in the NHL in their quest for hockey's greatest prize.

Western Conference


Anaheim v. Calgary

Calgary is an amazing Cinderella story - in Canada. I don't think anyone else quite cares about the Flames who've been flaming out for the past 7 years. But with the right match up, they can sure surprise people. "Johnny Hockey" Gaudreau needs to step up and grow to the next level of development. Anaheim Ducks are on a tear and looking like they are the biggest team in the West. They've swept the Jets. Now look for them to do the same to the Flames. But they could drop a game if the Flames get lucky. Look for the Getzlaf/Perry tandem to score goals.
Prediction: Ducks in 6


Chicago v. Minnesota

Chicago's veterans have to be getting tired eventually, right? The amount of games they play in one year is phenomenal. But it took a goalie controversy to find them back on track. Who goes for the second series? Crawford may have to be reaching his limits. But the Wild's Devan Dubnyk is the man their team has confidence in. They'll go as far in the tourney as he'll take them. But they also have a fantastic powerplay scoring at near 30%.

Prediction: Blackhawks in 5


Eastern Conference


Montreal v. Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is the team that just doesn't say "die". They are the plucky team in the East conference that are fighting as underdogs to move on to round 2. Look for Tyler Johnson to take over the scoring for the bigger stars that seem to be slumping. Everyone is asking why Stamkos isn't scoring and shut out points wise. Perhaps the speculation would lean towards an injury? Montreal is looking really strong and got away with a few controversial moments. I was really appalled at the Subban ax chop that resulted in a game misconduct. Look for Price to be right again.
Prediction: Habs in 7


NY Rangers v. Washington

The Rangers are quietly struggling as the top NHL team from the regular season. Scoring is down or seemingly at a premium. Rick Nash has 1 assist coming out of the Pens series. Ovechkin for the Capitals is really soaring and enjoying a resurgence in his playoff career. Look for him to put a few more in past King Henrik. But eventually, I think the Rangers should wake up and expose the inexperience of the Capitals' goaltenders.
Prediction: Rangers in 6
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