After a fun and crazy 1st round that saw brackets blown to hell, it’s time for the 2nd round and some fresh predictions. I’m not going to go back and figure out which one of us was the most accurate because we were all bad and let’s move on.
BOSTON BRUINS VS COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Kent Basky- This matchup features the top remaining seed up against the lowest ranked seed and it’s not a mismatch. After all, that bottom seed destroyed the best team in the NHL rather handily, and if there’s a team that Columbus could go toe to toe with, it’s the Boston Bruins. And if you thought the Bruins complained about their players being roughed up in the series against Toronto, just wait until a team that actually hits and can play a real grinding style like the Blue Jackets get a hold of them. The Bruins are favoured by many but I pledged my sword to Team Chaos, so it is with that in mind that I see this one going to the underdogs. COLUMBUS IN 7
westy99- I admit to wanting the dirty no-good Bruins to beat the Leafs. After game 7 I took a shower and washed that dirty feeling away. Now I am cheering for Columbus! After last round, that just be the kiss for the Blue Jackets. The free agent craziness and holding on to Bob and Panarin, make Columbus a dangerous team. But Boston has a rat....and experience.
Boston in 6
jimmi - I have no horses left in the race. Too late to ride a rat’s assterburn as well. The Boo-urns got an easy and cheap laff out of their 1st round. Aye Corumbus! Not predicting another sweep - BJs might lose the 1st game due to rust - but no more easy games for beantown.
COLUMBUS IN 5, 6 or 7. Pretty sure.
Beggsy - After a Round One filled with chaos, predictions in Round Two look like four coin flips to me. I’m going to ride the Columbus train in this one after they swept the best regular season team in NHL history. This team is meshing at the right time, and they have a scary amount of depth. BJ’s in 6.
Trevor Connors - LOL... like I’m gonna cheer for the Bruins. Blue Jackets in 6.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS VS CAROLINA HURRICANES
Kent Basky- Speaking of underdogs, the ‘Canes are fresh off a come from behind series win for the ages against the defending Champions, while the Isles made short work the perennial favourite Pittsburgh Penguins. While the Isles have a little more sandpaper to their game, that could change if the ‘Canes get Micheal Ferland back in this series. Two fun, fast teams that should make for a great series. I hate this one because I would be happy to see either team move forward, so I have to use a scientific method to pick a winner here. By a count of 4 Toonie flips to 3, it’s gonna be ISLANDERS IN 7
westy99- I am at a loss when it comes to looking at these two teams in the second round. Both of these teams handled the Canucks in the same matter and it should be quite the duel. Carolina beat the defending champs so that means.....
Islanders in 6
jimmi - NHL HQ probably wants a NY team in the finals, but the Jerks could surge for another upset. Why not? Chaos math predicts another unpredictable series. That means...
Carolina In 7
Beggsy - Honestly, I think Carolina should be the favourite here. There aren’t many teams in the NHL who aggressively pepper goaltenders like the Canes do. They don’t always have the finish, but they get their chances.
However, I’m siding with the better defensive team, and the team with home ice advantage in this one. I think this series goes the distance, and the Islanders win it at home in Game 7. Islanders in 7.
Trevor Connors - After more or less ignoring both the Hurricanes and Islanders for the better part of the regular season, I’ve now watched every minute of action from the teams’ 11 combined games.
I feel like the Hurricanes will come at the Islanders with more speed and a heavier forecheck than they experienced in the first round, but I’m not willing to bet against a team that is so clearly invested in Barry Trotz’s defensive scheme. Islanders in 6.
ST LOUIS BLUES VS DALLAS STARS
Kent Basky- Again, two evenly matched teams that seem to be fairly similar. They’ve gotten big games from big players, balanced scoring when they needed it, strong defensive play and great performances from their goaltenders. It really feels like maybe this is St Louis’ time, because it’s crazy they even made the playoffs in the first place. Dallas had their own remarkable turnaround this season, but if Jordan Binnington is still getting mileage from that deal with the devil that he’s apparently made, then I think the Blues come out of this one on top. ST LOUIS IN 7.
westy99- I looked at this Dallas team for one of the “Who should Canucks cheer for?” and holy cow they looked the team that could get far. They had a winning regular season record against Nashville and St. Louis. This should be a great series.
Dallas in 7
jimmi - Again...more eastern teams playing in the west. I predict this series will move laterally dependent on goaltending. That gives the
Blues Stars an edge. Or does it?
ST LOUIS IN 7
Beggsy - On the latest episode of Silky N’ Filthy, I went against every pick my co-host Kyle Bhawan made. He thinks the Blues have a big upper hand here, saying that they remind him of the Los Angeles Kings during their heyday.
I picked the Blues in Round One (one of my two correct picks...) because I thought their defence and goaltending was superior to Winnipeg. Now? I’d give Ben Bishop and the Stars D the nod, perhaps this is the difference in the series here. Stars in 6.
Trevor Connors - I kind of wish these games started at 10pm PT as they’d be the perfect antidote for a restless night. Just fire up a Stars and Blues defensive battle and you’re well on your way to a restful night’s sleep.
I managed to pick both of these teams as winners in the first round, so I clearly like them in some respect. I’m a big fan of Alex Radulov and Ben Bishop on the Stars, but I’m also a big fan of Vladimir Tarasenko and Jordan Binnington on the Blues. Coin flip. Blues in 6.
SAN JOSE SHARKS VS COLORADO AVALANCHE
Kent Basky- For a while, it looked very much like the Sharks were done. They couldn’t get a save from Martin Jones and Vegas really had them on the ropes. Jones tightened things up, the Sharks rattled off 3 straight wins, including the last two in OT and are in Round 2. Their opponent is one no one really saw getting through, but if you like dark horse picks, let me tell you about the Colorado Avalanche. They used their speed to devastating effect against the Calgary Flames, dismantling them in 4 straight after getting shutout in the opener. This one is gonna be close, because the Sharks have been getting better with each game, but the Avs just have this Cinderella feel to them, so it’s time to break out the toonie and see how this flips out. And the coin says COLORADO IN 7
westy99- Young, fast and underdog status is what Colorado has going for it. They have the most dangerous first line in hockey. San Jose has experience and some very good players in their own right...I think this is the year for San Jose though. Mind you, if Colorado wins....nevermind.
Sharks in 6
jimmi - My last team standing in the surrogate cheering division has a Rocky Mountain High skill first line. While the wily Sharks might get a couple bites, they’ve used up their quota of NHLOA favours. Now it’s the Avs turn for phantom-in-the-tank hockey.
COLORADO IN 6
Beggsy - Let this sink in; your highly-regarded NM staff here is going with Colorado as a majority. The Avs speed might be too much for the Sharks to handle and honestly, they were damn lucky to sneak by Vegas. Their luck runs out in Round Two against a hot Avs team. Avalanche in 7.
Trevor Connors - The Avs might have been the most dominant team of the first round, if it weren’t for the Blue Jackets’ stunning sweep of the Lightning. Nathan MacKinnon is some sort of weird skating centaur who manages to chew up the ice like a John Deere when he comes down the wing. All of this is to say that the Avs are good... they’re a legit Cup contender.
But... BUT... I’m picking the Sharks. Game 7 against Vegas is too fresh in my mind and I’d love nothing more than to see Jumbo Joe lift the Stanley Cup and then walk off into the sunset. Sharks in 6.