NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 2 Predictions
April 29, 2012 Leave a Comment
Out of all the years of watching hockey, this is one of the most competitive and entertaining rounds of playoffs that I have seen in quite some time. Here’s a breakdown of each round 2 match-up, their make-or-break player, and what they need to do to win along with my predictions of who will win each match-up.
NHL Eastern Conference Match-ups
#1 New York Rangers vs. #7 Washington Capitals
Series currently at 1-0
Rangers Key Player: Henrik Lundqvist
What the Rangers need to win:
Henrik Lundqvist had an amazing regular season and been spectacular in the post season. He brings the ability to reduce a high scoring teams chances to a slim percentage. The only problem is that the Rangers need to get some offense going, specifically Marian Gaborik. If he can get his act together, there will be little teams that would have the ability to keep up with the Rangers.
Capitals Key Player: Alexander Ovechkin
What the Capitals need to win:
The Capitals have had an all around struggling regular season, with career lows for multiple star players. If Ovechkin can get back into his old groove and start rekindling the intimidation that his presence had on the ice, then I believe the Capitals will have a much better chance and appear more confident, even as a #7 seed.
Prediction: Rangers take the series in 5 games
#5 Philadelphia Flyers vs. # 6 New Jersey Devils
Series currently at 1-0
Flyers Key Player: Claude Giroux
What the Flyers need to win:
In my opinion, the Flyers have the most efficient and effective offense in the league. Coming back from a 3 goal deficit is never a challenge for them, but there’s one player who can make or break their chances. If Ilya Bryzgalov can wake up and stop daydreaming about the universe or Russian vodka, they have a much greater chance to win this series. He has the potential to be a good goalie (which he proved in Phoenix earlier in his career), he just needs to make the crucial saves to take some pressure off the offensive.
Devils Key Player:Ilya Kovalchuck
What the Devils need to win:
If the Devils can rally a greater amount of offensive then I truly believe they will have a much greater chance in staying alive. Specifically Ilya Kovalchuck and Zach Parise need to make the goals that will make the difference when it matters.
Prediction: Flyers take the series in 6 games
NHL Western Conference Match-ups
#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #4 Nashville Predators
Series currently at 2-0
Coyotes Key Player: Mike Smith
What the Coyotes need to win:
Mike Smith needs to stay hot, he’s been great in the playoffs thus far and the Coyotes offense has been very dynamic in scoring allowing the Coyotes to muster them a 2-0 lead in the series thus far.
Predators Key Player: Pekke Rhinne
What the Predators need to win:
Supply some supportive defense to Pekke Rhinne. I mean when you have players the caliber of Shea Weber and Rhinne in net, there is no way you should be allowing the Coyotes to have five goals in a single match up.
Prediction: Coyotes take series in 4 games
#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings
Series currently at 0-1
Blues Key Player: Brian Elliot
What the Blues need to win:
Find a way to score on Jonathan Quick. If David Backes can get more scoring chances and act like the captain he was during the regular season, I believe they can beat the hot streaking Kings.
Kings Key Player: Jonathan Quick
What the Kings need to win:
Jonathan Quick has put the team on his back during the playoffs and are the main reason to why they are in the position they are. If the Kings can develop a greater offensive threat, specifically relying on Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, then they will have the ability to advance.
Prediction: Kings take the series in 7 games