By Thomas Holmes
Playoff beards are starting to be more than five o’clock shadows. Rookies in the league are proud to show off their stubble. As the facial hair amount, so does facial bruises. Round one is complete and the advancing teams are rewarded with another brutal best of seven series. The first round was full of surprises and upsets. No one is more surprised than the City of Chicago and their fans. Toronto Maple Leaf fans are claiming a victory for playing six games before being eliminated. Oddly, the Montreal Canadiens played just as many games, in the same round, suffered the same results as their Canadian counterparts but view it as a failure.
At the beginning, there was 16 and now there are eight.
Ottawa Senators V New York Rangers: King Henry and Pacioretty proved me wrong! Like I said, the Rangers have depth and have been a solid offensive force since October. The Rangers need to keep their momentum moving forward. However, the red-hot Senators will have home field advantage over their opponent. Do the surprising Sens have another surprise? Or, will King Henry continue to wear his crown? Let’s go with the Rangers.
Washington Capitals V Pittsburgh Penguins: The match-up everyone wanted. Crosby and Ovechkin. Some are saying this is the Capitals year. Other, like Las Vegas, are favoring the Pens to repeat. Crosby and the Pens have stopped Ovi and his Caps in previous playoff meetings. This time it’s different. Although the offensive Pens took down the mighty Bobrosky, the Caps will stand their ground. I’m picking Ovi and the Caps over the Pens.
St Louis Blues V Nashville Predators: I called the upset of the Preds over the Blackhawks! A sweep? That could not be foreseen. The Blues shut down the offensive powerhouse of the Wild. The Wild, who I picked to win the western conference. Boy, I was way off here. I’m picking the Preds here. Can’t go wrong with Carrie Underwood singing the National Anthem.
Anaheim Ducks V Edmonton Oilers: Here’s another match-up I got wrong. I did pick the Oilers to eliminate last season’s Western Conference Champions, SJ Sharks, out of the playoffs. I certainly underestimated the Ducks. I would love to see the Colin McDavid story to continue but I think the Ducks see him as a quack (pun intended). Going with Ducks.
For the first round my prediction record is 6-2. My Eastern Conference picks were spot-on! Let’s see what round two has install for us. Those are my predictions. Like them? Don’t like them? Let me know.