We’ve made it to Round Two of the playoffs, Rangers unscathed and surprisingly a lot of statistically advanced teams going home. The playoffs, as we know, are a whole different animal, and we’re already deeper here in the New York Metro area (or wherever it is you cheer from!) than we were last time. May hockey is a wonderful, heart attack inducing, fun thing to experience.
Of course, here at BSB this means a fresh crop of predictions. Let’s see how the BSB staff have done through one round:
The second round of predictions includes Justin, so let’s all go blank slate and see how we can fare from here on out. As always, please share your predictions for the four upcoming series in the comments.
Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers
Rob: Rangers in 6 — This series will be a lot tighter than people think. Ottawa is an extremely well-coached defensive hockey team with enough skill up front to convert their chances. Erik Karlsson is the best skater in the series, though he’s playing with two hairline fractures in his heel. Henrik Lundqvist will have to continue his vintage form, and the Rangers will have to survive multiple low-scoring, OT games. Ultimately, I think they advance in a hard-fought series.
Dave: Rangers in 5 — I’m being a little ballsy and a complete homer here. I’m not high on the Sens, and I think that as long as NYR continue to play like they did in the final 3 against Montreal, they can put up 2-3 per game against the Sens. With Hank in net, that’s enough.
Pat: Rangers in 6 — I don’t know enough about Ottawa but what I do know is they are almost literally a different team with Erik Karlsson on the ice than without. That said, dude plays like 25 minutes a night and there’s really little our Rangies will be able to do when he’s on, so I think this goes to 6 games.
Becky: Rangers in 7 — Provided the Rangers continue to play the way they did at the end of the Habs series — and frankly, I’ll be optimistic and say there is no reason they won’t — the Rangers are a weapon. Ultimately, their depth, paired with injuries to the Sens squad (Tom Pyatt, Marc Methot playing many fewer minutes due to losing half a finger, Karlsson’s heel) will lead to the Rangers moving forward. We all know this will go to 7 to be as painful as humanly possible for me. Let’s just hope it’s all clean.
Justin: Rangers in 6 — It’s funny how everyone seems to be jumping on the Rangers bandwagon for round 2 after all the doom and gloom against Montreal. I think Ottawa will give the Rangers a good fight, but unless they can provide Erik Karlsson with robot replacement parts over the next few days, eventually the broken heel (!) he is playing on will catch up with him. I’m no Craig Anderson fan, but he can get hot in a short series, but I like Hank’s game right now and feel that the Rangers should be able to move on.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Kevin: Capitals in 7 — The main event of the playoffs…in the second round. SMH, NHL. I can understand the skepticism over the Capitals after their struggles against the Leafs, but I think Toronto is actually that good and Washington will build from the test. And I still say it’s Ovechkin’s year.
Rob: Capitals in 7 — The first round test provided by the Maple Leafs was the perfect playoff introduction for this edition of the Caps. An easier series may have lulled them into a false sense of security, but Leafs legitimately scared Washington into playing better hockey, which will benefit them in the long run. The Penguins ran over Columbus, dominating high-danger chances and scoring 21 goals in 5 games, the most of any team in the first round. This will be a fantastic series, with the Caps prevailing at home and advancing the Conference Final for the first time in the Ovechkin era.
Dave: Capitals in 7 — This is going to be a dogfight. It shouldn’t be the 2nd round for this matchup, but thanks Bettman. The Caps and Pens are basically the same team on paper, with the Pens having slightly more speed and the Caps with slightly more size. Missing Letang costs the Pens the series.
Pat: Capitals in 6 — This is a case of what I want to happen not being the same as what I think will happen. I’d sure like Pittsburgh to win because I think they’d be a more favorable opponent if we make it further but Washington has better goaltending and defense so this one’s gonna be relatively easy for the Caps, notwithstanding the magic Sid works to pull the Penguins through two games (he’s usually pretty good).
Becky: Penguins in 7 — Frankly, I’m picking the Pens to be contrary. Everyone else on the BSB staff is picking Washington, and we all picked the Rangies, and quite honestly, Pitt and Washington are so well matched that it could go either way. It’s just a shame that this isn’t the Eastern Conference final, because these are the two best in the East (sorry fam!). Pitt was impressive even without Kris Letang, and I think this series will come down to a lucky bounce here or there and who can capitalize (pun intended) on opportunity.
Justin: Capitals in 7 — I think this is finally Ovi’s year to get the Crosby off his back against Pittsburgh. This time, the Caps firepower will be too much for the injury-riddled Pens to handle. Make no mistake, this is THE matchup of the second round. Hey, I suppose that means less Emerick on the Rangers’ broadcast. Little victories.
Kevin: Oilers in 6 — The Ducks were also wildly impressive in Round One, but I’m putting my stock in Connor McDavid. I’m already looking forward to the Matthews/McDavid Finals to come, by the way. Oh, and Edmonton’s supporting cast is better than most think.
Rob: Oilers in 7 — This round’s upset special! The Oilers pulled a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde act in round one, but still beat a very good Sharks team. The Ducks were out-chanced by the Flames in every game except the clincher. I think Edmonton’s youth and energy (and McDavid) overcome Anaheim’s seemingly superior depth. An Oilers-Preds Conference Final…not exactly what Gary Bettman will be hoping for I’m sure.
Dave: Oilers in 6 — I’m not sold on Anaheim, much like how I’m not sold on the Sens, and the Conor McJesus show will be at it again. Edmonton has a better support group than you think, too.
Pat: Ducks in 7 — Another case of what I want to happen and what I think will happen diverging: I’d really love a Rangers/Oilers Cup Final, and really do think McDavid is going to be lights out, but Anaheim’s defense is too good. This one’s going to be tight I think, probably more than a couple of overtimes, and is going to be the lowkey goaltending duel we need out of these playoffs.
Becky: Ducks in 6 — I’ve got Anaheim coming out of the West, and I’m pretty excited for a potential Anaheim-Nashville conference final. Edmonton is the fun fling and I’m not surprised they beat San Jose, but the defensive lapses we saw out of them won’t cut it against a legitimate Anaheim team. I keep going back and forth between the Ducks in 5 or 6, but let’s say 6 so we can watch some more McMagic.
Justin: Oilers in 7 — I really like John Gibson and the Ducks’ defensive depth, but with the way the Oilers dismantled a very talented San Jose team, I like where their game is right now. Plus, who doesn’t love a good underdog story led by our good friend, Cam Talbot. There is someone else, too. McSomething, I feel like it is? Never mind, I think I made that up.
Nashville Predators vs St Louis Blues
Kevin: Predators in 7 — Like Penguins/Capitals, this is going to be a treat. Both of these teams were excellent in the first round and received A+ goaltending. I could see this going either way, but I like the Predators’ chances a touch more.
Rob: Predators in 5 — Nashville was downright impressive in embarrassing the prohibitive Western Conference favorites, the Blackhawks. Pekka Rinne got hot and allowed just 3 goals in the series, but the Predators also boast arguably the best defense corps in the playoffs and plenty of skill up front. The Blues also got impressive goaltending in the opening round and made quick work of Minnesota, so they come in confident. I think the Preds’ deeper roster makes the difference here.
Dave: Predators in 7 — This is going to be another fun series. Rinne is not going to stop 111 of 114 this series, so it’ll be up to the skaters to actually score. The blue line depth on Nashville gives them the edge.
Pat: Predators in 5 — Ok so just calling it early: both goalies are going to come back to Earth (crazy, I know). That being the case, Nashville’s defense is going to need to be good, and you bet your bippy they will be. Scoresburg and Arvidsson are going to kill it, and aside from Tarasenko St Louis just won’t be able to match that AND get past that ironclad blueline.
Becky: Predators in 6 — So interestingly enough, the Habs could’ve benefitted from a puck moving defenseman and hey they traded him to the Preds. Overall, Rinne is better (in my opinion!) than Allen, though they both have played out of their minds. The Blues may be in a transitioning phase — they did fire their coach this year, after all — and I don’t think they have enough to beat Nashville. Sidebar: the predator jokes when Nashville ousted Chicago and Patrick Kane were just A+, so thanks, interwebs.
Justin: Predators in 7 — Jake Allen is in top form right now, but the Blues were absolutely manhandled by the Wild in every other aspect of the game. Nashville has just slayed a dragon in Chicago and have been an under the radar contender for much of the year. Unfortunately for the Blues, I don’t think this is their year, either."BSB Playoff Predictions: Round Two",