This second round of the Stanley Cup has me more excited than any previous set of rounds that I can remember. There are four great series, all of which could go the distance. Time to take a look at each one, and who I think will win it.
(1) Montreal vs. (6) Flyers
Both teams must be tired from a gruelling 7 game series, and both will not have much time to rest in between. Both have momentum going in, which should make this series very exciting right from the start. In goal, I will give the edge to Biron. Price started to show his rookie-ness in the last series, while Biron's playoff experience should help him out. On defense, the Habs take this one by a nose. Up front, it's basically a draw. In the end, I'm taking the underdog, as I think the Flyers have what it takes to get past the Habs. I know most of you won't agree, but there is just something about the Canadiens that makes me feel they don't have what it takes just yet to be legitimate cup contenders. Thats still a few years away. Flyers in 7.
(2) Pittsburgh vs. (5) NYR
This series is going to be amazing. The Penguins did an amazing job against the Sens, and now will be faced with a tougher test in the Rangers. Lundqvist is better than Fleury, so NYR has the edge in goal. On defense, I should take the Rangers, but I will take the Penguins only because I saw the way they shut down the Sens last series. Up front, you can't not pick a team with Crosby and Malkin, it just can't be done. If Hossa ever gets hot, this team may be unstoppable up front. The Pens win this series, but the Rangers put up one hell of a fight. Penguins in 7.
(1) Detroit vs. (6) Colorado
Both number one seeds getting knocked out in the second round? That's the way I see it. I've said all along, when healthy the Avs are the best team in the NHL, and guess what, they're pretty damn healthy. In goal, Detroit isn't quite sure who their #1 is. Hasek was, now it's Osgood, and at some point it will probably change back to Hasek. Theodore is the man in Colorado, and did I mention he's on his contract year? Theo is playing the best hockey since his Hart days, and that isn't going to change. On defense, you can't not pick a team with Lidstrom. That being said, Colorado's defense isn't bad itself. Finally, the Wings win the offense category by a hair, as Datsyuk and Zetterberg are too much of a force to be beaten. Forsberg, Stastny and Sakic, however, can put on quite a show of their own. This is the series to watch, and really it could go either way (as these all could). I'm taking Colorado in 6.
(2) San Jose vs. (5) Dallas
I took Dallas to go out in 5, and here they still are, hammering the Ducks in 6. I'm bettng against them again. The sharks have a better goalie, a better defense, and a more balanced offense. The sharks faced a tough series againt Calgary, and will use it as motivation to jet past the sharks and into the western final. Thornton, Marleau, Cheechoo and Roenick will continue to shine, and Clowe will continue to surprise us all. Sharks in 6
And there you have it! I would love to see your picks, so reply to this blog on the forums! My next blog will take a look at the GM world, with my thoughts on the current Calgary, Anaheim, Toronto, and Vancouver situations. As Eklund would say, Stay Tuned...