After a crazy and entertaining first round of Playoff action, the second round is among us and there are some intense match ups that are sure to keep all hockey fans on the edge of their seats. Let's get started.
Montreal Canadiens (1) Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (2)
Both teams had a rough first round. Many expected the Canadiens to handily defeat the Ottawa Senators, and they did so, in 6 games. After being up 3-0 in the series, Montreal lost back to back games to the Senators, making the series a lot closer than many expected.
The sole reason Montreal is in the second round is because of goaltender, Carey Price. If he can keep up his form in the net, the Canadiens remain Stanley Cup threats. If he can't? Montreal will be in a world of trouble.
Speaking of an unanticipatedly tight series, the Tampa Bay Lightning were supposed to finish off the Detroit Red Wings in a maximum of 5 games, at least that is what everyone expected.
The series went to 7 games, seeing the Bolts barely squeeze into the second round, Ben Bishop will have to pick up his game in net and Steven Stamkos will have to be more of an offensive threat this series.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning win in 7 games
New York Rangers (1) Vs. Washington Capitals (2)
The New York Rangers are one of the big threats to win the Stanley Cup this year, they easily defeated a sad and defensively lacking, Pittsburgh Penguins team, but Washington will be a much bigger test. The Rangers have all the pieces to make it happen, but can they? They will need to be sharp in every aspect of the game, especially Henrik Lundqvist in net as the Capitals power play is lethal.
Washington had some ups and some downs in their series against the Islanders, winning in 7 games. Nicklas Backstrom and break out star, Evgeny Kuznetsov were the key components to Washington's success in the series. Expect Alex Ovechkin to be more assertive in this series against the Rangers, if he is, the Capitals are serious threat to the Rangers success.
Prediction: Washington Capitals win in 7 games
Chicago Blackhawks (3) Vs. Minnesota Wild (4)
The Minnesota Wild don't care about what their critics have to say as they defeated the first seeded, St. Louis Blues in just 6 games. Despite standings, Chicago will pose a much bigger threat to the Wild than the Blues ever could. Devan Dubnyk will have to have an incredible series to see the conference finals.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the big Stanley Cup threat coming out of the Western Conference. With Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook, Vermette and Richards, can you really doubt the potential of this team?
If there is one weakness that the Blackhawks have, it is in net. They went with Scott Darling for the majority of the Predators series, only to see Crawford close it out and help them advance to the second round. If they can figure out who is better suited to stop pucks, they are an unavoidable force.
Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks win in 6 games
Anaheim Ducks (1) Vs. Calgary Flames (3)
The Calgary Flames have had great run to the second round of the Playoffs and they should be very proud of themselves for defying all the odds and making it to where they are today, however this will unfortunately be the end of the Cinderella story run for the Flames.
They do not have the talent or experience to match up to the ducks, they are less talented on both defense and offense, if there is one area that is more even it is their goaltenders.
Prediction: Anaheim Ducks win in 4 games