It’s time to take a look back at my own predictions and see how I did. And, since I went 6-2, I have a little tweaking to do for the second round.
I know that we’re five days until the second round, but this will have to do given that it started the day after the Pens season ended. I needed a couple of days to get out of that post-season funk that always hits regardless of how the season ends…unless your team is the one lifting the Cup, of course. And then there’s that real world that you’ve been putting off during the playoffs, especially since you have to watch every game of all eight series. The time lapse hasn’t affected my picks though, so here’s how I did and how I see things going this round.
I was 4-0 in the West so I don’t have a whole lot to say about how things went in the first round and I’m standing by my picks of Vancouver and San Jose. While Rinne has been phenomenal for Nashville and a goaltender can steal games, he can’t win the series alone. I expect Vancouver’s offense to kick in, Luongo to keep defying the critics, and Nashville’s lack of playoff experience to get the better of them against the much more well-rounded Canucks. As for the Sharks, I’ll say it again…I think this is their year. The Wings are always a formidable playoff opponent, but the Sharks are out to prove that they can go the distance and Niemi is out to prove that he can win another Cup.
I didn’t fare as well in the East, only going 2-2. First, the big upset I was predicting in the Rangers over Philly. I knew the chances of this happening were severely hurt by the Rangers not having Callahan in their line-up, but I still thought they stood a chance. The possibility of a hurt Pronger and goaltending issues combined with strong play by Lundqvist could have given the Rangers a real chance. They did have the benefit of a hurt Pronger and Carter, and more goaltending woes than anyone saw coming for the Flyers. Chances they had, and chances they blew.
My second pick gone wrong was our own Pens. I’ve already covered in detail why I’m not disappointed in them. I honestly thought they had it in them to go one round though. We already knew our power play was atrocious and our scoring was going to have to come from odd places. The fourth line stepped up and did all that could be expected of them to chip in offensively, but pretty much no one else did. Suddenly, we had defensive breakdowns and the league’s best penalty kill fell apart against one of the better power plays. In the end though, maybe it was the hockey gods way of showing the boys some mercy from having to play in round two.
So, I’m adjusting my picks in the East based solely on how I would have had them before play started so that there is no unfair advantage. Washington over Tampa. The Caps aren’t missing the offensive power that the Pens were and have upgraded their defensive play slightly over past years. I’m not sure how much longer Roloson can continue his outstanding play, while the Caps benefit from good, young players in net. And, in the other series, Boston over Philly. The Flyers will continue to be plagued by their goaltending problems. If Pronger is questionable in their line-up that hurts them. As they become more frustrated, look for Philly to become more and more undisciplined. Meanwhile, Thomas shows no signs of his outstanding play wavering at all and Boston’s offense is coming alive.
That still leaves me with San Jose over Vancouver in the West, and puts me with Boston over Washington in the East. I’m still going with the tough San Jose vs. Boston Final with San Jose edging it out for the Cup.
Of course, seeing how things are already playing out, I have a feeling I’ll be worse off with my predictions after this round. So, until next round when I willingly submit myself to this torture again…