Before the start of Round 1, the WIM bloggers made our series predictions. After one round, here's how we stack up:
Casey, Chris, Dan and Joe went 7-for-8 with San Jose as their lone error. I sadly went 5-for-8 after incorrectly picking the Devils, Flyers and Sharks so I pretty much need to rock this next round.
Even though this post is going up late on Thursday when the first round has already begun, I promise that we made these selections earlier. To see how we think this round will shake out, click on the link below.
Eastern Conference - Bruins in five over Carolina and the Penguins in seven over Washington
Western Conference - Canucks over Chicago in six and Detroit in six over Anaheim
CANES over Bruins in 6
Boston is on fire but was Montreal really that much of a challenge? They outscored the Habs 17-6 en route to a 4-0 series sweep. However, in comparison the Hurricanes also tallied 17 goals, but against the goalie with the most wins in NHL history in Marty Brodeur. The Canes have the incredible advantage over many teams in not being rattled by deficits and fighting back to win games. Add in some veteran experience to a speedy line up that passes the puck very well and it’s a hard matchup for anyone. That's why I’ve got them winning in 6.
PENS over Caps in 7
Man this is a tough call. Simeon Varlamov has been a saving grace in net, no pun intended, for the Washington Capitals. In 6 games in net against a very good Rangers team, Varlamov allowed 7 goals (1.17 GAA). He gives a struggling Caps offense some much needed room for error. Then there’s the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dan Bylsma has turned around the Pens since he took over and has had the team playing better hockey. This a Pens team that for the most part is the same team that went the distance last year. It’s hard to see the Caps having any more success against Fleury than they did against King Henrik and the Pens offense is potent and backed up by one of the best defenses in the league. Pens in 7
CANUCKS over Blackhawks in 5
I know St. Louis wasn’t the toughest test of skill for Roberto Luongo but no matter how you look at it, he’s getting into top-form at the right time. Luo had a 1.15 GAA against the Blues and had some help from his defense to make it a quick series. The Blackhawks had an impressive 6 game win over the Flames but I’m still not ready to believe in Nikolai Khabibulin yet. Let’s face it, the Flames weren’t exactly that great offensively either but he allowed 2.67 goals a game. Going up against Alex Burrows and the Sedins, the Blackhawks are going to have their hands full…and that’s just on defense.
WINGS over Ducks in 6
This series hinges on Jonas Hiller. The way he played in round 1, it’s likely that the Ducks would stick by him despite any drop in production. Hiller’s been stellar in net against the playoffs so far with a 1.64 GAA in 6 games against the NHL’s top regular season team. However, the Red Wings pose a different type of offensive attack to Hiller. The Sharks use their size to position and put the puck in the net while the Red Wings use exquisite passing, speed, and sharp shooters to score. The Ducks D will give the Wings more trouble than Columbus’s considerably smaller and less physical line up did. The Ducks have some offensive firepower of their own in Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and the rookie Bobby Ryan. Are Osgood and the Wings’ defense up to the task? We’ll see.
Eastern Conference - Boston in five over Carolina and Pittsburgh over Washington in seven
Western Conference - Canucks over Blackhawks in six and Detroit beats the Ducks in six
I think the Wings-Ducks series should be a good one. As normal, goaltending for both teams will be critical to the outcome of the series. If Ozzie can play like he did in the first round and the Wings click like they did against Columbus, I don't think anyone can stop Detroit. I'm not stressed about this series -- yet. One loss or a shaky win and I'll be clamoring for the A2Y Stress Train.