There was some excellent hockey played over the last few days, as the quest for the Cup continues. I must admit, I am quite impressed with my predictions. I am getting the series winners mostly right, and getting close on the number of games and quality of play. Here's the round up for round two and how I see round three going:
Bruins vs the Rangers
I said this would be the best series in round two, and, boy, was I wrong. I correctly picked Boston as the series winner, but thought it would go 7 hard fought games. Instead, the Rangers barely showed up and were lucky to win a single game. I started thinking "what might have been" ... had the Leafs hung on in the first round and gone up against this woeful Rangers squad, they could easily have made round 3. Oh well ...
Penguins vs the Senators
I correctly picked Pittsburgh to win here. The Sens played pretty well, but were no match for the super-charged Pens. It was nice to see Spezza and Karlsson play for Ottawa... there is much potential for this Sens team down the road. But I was disappointed in Daniel Alfredsson's comments before the elimination game. He is done in Ottawa and it was too bad for a good career to end like this.
Kings vs the Sharks
I said the Kings in 6 and it took 7 hard fought games. I didn't see any of the games live, but Jonathan Quick looks like he is absolutely unbeatable right now. Los Angeles is serious about its Cup defence and are ready to roll.
'Hawks vs the Red Wings
I watched pretty much all of this series. I predicted Chicago would win in 6 and it took 7. It really was a tale of two teams. Detroit looked ready for the upset based on Jimmy Howard's amazing performance in goal. But then Howard played a little less than spectacular in the last two games, and the Wings ran out of gas. The 'Hawks simply out lasted them. But the 'Hawks performance was still impressive. This was a good, hard fought, old fashioned hockey series. Wings look like their "re-tooling" is ahead of schedule and they will be a force again next year.
As for round three:
I am sticking to my guns for the predictions.
Chicago will beat the Kings in 7. Chicago have already faced and beaten a hot goalie, so Quick will present a challenge, sure enough, but not enough to derail the 'Hawks. This could be another tough series.
Boston will shock Pittsburgh in 6 games. The Penguins are highly ranked based on their firepower, but the goaltending of Tomas Vokoun is OK, not brillliant. Boston has had a few days to rest up their battered warriors and will attempt to physically beat the Pens. But the Pens are no sissies, and this could be the toughest series of the entire playoffs.
I still like an original six match up for the Cup: Boston vs Chicago. We'll see !!