The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is arguably the best two weeks of hockey entertainment on the calendar.
Early on, you could argue that Round One wasn’t delivering on that promise.
While many series went back and forth in terms of victors, there were a ton of blowouts and lots of penalties being called.
However, it’s hard to argue with the end result.
Five of the eight series went to seven games, with the final two games on the schedule ending in Game 7 overtime on Sunday night.
While Round One matchups always get a lot of love, there are some juicy-looking series in Round Two.
Before our illustrious staff members give their predictions for Round Two, let’s recap how we all did in Round One.
1. Westy: 8-0 (2 exact)
2. Beggsy: 6-2 (2 exact)
3. Jimmi: 5-3 (2 exact)
4. Kent: 5-3 (1 exact)
Westy must have put down the rum when we made our initial predictions two weeks ago. Arguably, his most impressive prediction was St. Louis over Minnesota in 6...the rest of us all picked the playoff-cursed Wild.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We can confirm that sobriety had absolutely nothing to do with Westy’s perfect Round One predictions.
Without further ado, let’s get into our Round Two predictions.
Colorado Avalanche (1st in Central) vs. St Louis Blues (3rd in Central)
Westy — If Makar, MacKinnon, Landeskog and Mikko all went down, the Blues would have a shot. Avs in 6
Beggsy — Honestly, I completely forgot that the Colorado Avalanche swept the St. Louis Blues in the First Round of the 2021 playoffs. The Blues are a bit of a Wild Card team, in the sense that they do have lots of options on offence, mixed in with the fact that Jordan Binnington looked like the 2019 version of himself in limited minutes against the Wild.
Still, there’s no chance I’m picking the Blues here. I’d be shocked if the Colorado Avalanche didn’t advance to their first Conference Final since 2002. Avs in 5.
Jimmi — For reasons not to be confused with following the ruminations of our playoff profiteer, it’s Colorado. But because of league revenue faux-drama requirements - Avs in 7. Or 6.
Kent — “The sound of inevitability...” Yeah, as impressive as the Blues were in shutting down Minnesota, this Colorado team is an entirely different beast. I am still not 100% sold on their goaltending, nor on St Louis’. Either way, this seems like an end to the Blues’ season. Avs in 6.
Westy — I didn’t watch any of the 1st round series as the Canucks are not playing. This series might get me to watch hockey. This should be a 7 game series since they have been equally matched the past two years, but Calgary is the better team is all aspects. Flames in 6
Beggsy — Ah, the Battle of Alberta. Good for the game of hockey, but it hurts as a Canucks fan to know that one of these Pacific Division rivals is going to move onto the Conference Finals.
Logic would dictate that Calgary should win this series. They have a deeper team, they’re meaner, they play with more structure, and they don’t have Mike Smith in net. That being said, it’s hard not to fall under the Connor McDavid spell after he was an absolute force gainst LA with 14 points in 7 games.
Neither of these teams made it look easy against inferior opponents, and I expect another close series here. Flames in 7.
Jimmi — It’s times like these that I’m thankful to be a Nucking fan - far far away from cliché-driven edge of HNIC playoff coverage. As Beggsy states, neither outcome is good for our usually chipper NM demeanor.
However, for the good of TV screens everywhere, at least 1 of the 2 worst team jerseys in hockey won’t be seen in June. fLames may have peaked - if it’s a short series, it’s tOil in 5. If it goes past 5 games, then it’s fLames in 7. Or the other way round. I just don’t care.
Kent — Most of my fellow NM scribes probably don’t remember the days when the Battle of Alberta was a real thing and not just some wishful thinking on both sides. It’s back, and it is going to be as beautiful as it is ugly. The Tampa/Florida series is gonna be fun and all, but this will be the toughest series of the playoffs, and (for their fans, at least) it’s a shame the winner will get annihilated by Colorado in the next round. Oilers in 7.
Westy — The Battle of franchises that shouldn’t exist. Florida proved that it could beat a playoff experienced team. Tampa found a way to destroy the ego of every Leaf fans. I think Tampa has that extra gear in the playoffs and rebounds nicely from any loss. Tampa in 6
Beggsy — This one should be fun. For a while there, the Florida Panthers looked like they were going to collapse against the Washington Capitals. They were trailing in Game 4 and were just minutes away from going down 3-1 in the series. Of course, they came back in that game and won three straight to beat the Caps in six.
I’m torn on this series. I feel like Florida has momentum going in their favour. I also feel like Tampa won despite being the inferior team in games 5 and 6. That being said, when the series is a coin flip, I usually side with the team who has better goaltending. Tampa in 7.
Jimmi — Tell me if you’ve heard this before... Two Hockey teams in Florida
walk swim into a sunken bar rink and the winner is... Cats in 6 Bolts in 4.
Kent — I haven’t been impressed with what I saw out of Tampa so far, and they were pretty damn lucky to get past the Leafs (you know it’s true). Florida, on the other hand seems to be finding their groove and could be unstoppable in the East if they can take out their upstate rivals. Panthers in 7.
Westy — Great series on paper, but I think the Canes are just a better team. Canes in 5.
Beggsy — In some ways, there are similarities between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Both are top-heavy teams that leave something to be desired further down the lineup.
In this case, the Rangers defence is inferior to the Bruins, but they make up for it when Igor Shesterkin is on his game.
I could see Shesterkin stealing this series if he gets on a heater, but on paper, Carolina is a deeper team on both offence and defence. Their league-leading penalty kill should be able to nullify the Rangers power play to a certain extent as well. Carolina in 6.
Jimmi — With respect to my dismal prediction that the Pens would keep the Rags off Broadway - inspired by rooting for our new (old Pens) management - must keep the trend going - JR’s home is in Carolina. But now with Westy’s prescience on my side, Canes in 5.
Kent — Everything tells us we should be betting on the Canes here, but the way the Rangers battled back against the Penguins should have Carolina very worried. Westy may have been perfect in the first round, but there’s no way this one doesn’t go the distance and it’s a coin toss at that. Rangers in 7.