Recap

Before getting into the second round, let’s look back at my predictions for the first round and how I fared which was absolutely terrible, in case you were wondering.

1 – Washington Capitals vs. 8 – Toronto Maple Leafs

My Prediction: Washington in 5

What happened? Washington in 6

This was easily the most fun series to watch. So many goals, so many overtimes and so many questions surrounding the Capitals as they were really pushed hard by the Leafs even if they ended it in 6 games. Good for Toronto to keep it so entertaining, it will be interesting to see how they fare with expectations that are sure to follow next season.

2 – Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 3 – Columbus Blue Jackets

My Prediction – Columbus in 7.

What happened? Pittsburgh in 5

To me, this series was over after game 1. In that game, Columbus came out and did everything I said they would. They dominated the game and with a bit of luck and finish, they walk out with a win and some confidence. Instead, Bobrovsky chokes and the inexperienced Jackets are completely deflated, a feeling that they would never get over as it was all Pittsburgh after that. It was my underdog pick and like much of my other picks, it was wrong.

1 – Montreal Canadiens vs. 7 – New York Rangers

My Prediction – Montreal in 6

What happened? New York in 6

Lundqvist did match Price, so perhaps the only thing that surprises me with this outcome is the fact that the series didn’t go 7 games. Then again, if your most consistent player throughout the series is a rookie in Lehkonen, it’s hard to really expect to move on, right? Credit Vigneault for finding offense from all over the lineup while some of Montreal’s best players (Pacioretty and Galchenyuk) refused to pay the price to make the plays.

2 – Ottawa Senators vs. 3 – Boston Bruins

My Prediction – Boston in 7

What happened? Ottawa in 6

After spending most of the season railing against advanced stats, I fell into the trap of the Boston Bruins being a better team than their rank based on advanced stats. To be fair to the numbers, Boston was incredibly battered on its blue line which could have easily shifted this series of 6 whole games that ended in one goal margins.

Second Round

1 – Washington Capitals vs. 2 – Pittsburgh Penguins

The divisional playoffs are a mess and this match-up proves it. That being said, Washington just had their hands full with the fast-paced Leafs, and now they are facing a better and more experienced version of the team in the Penguins.

In terms of comparison, Washington forwards are more diverse while Pittsburgh is all about speed and skill. I will be honest and admit that I prefer Washington at all three positions on the ice… on paper. The blue line is likely the most important discretion here. If Washington can turn the series into a war instead of a run-and-gun contest, they could have a chance… on paper. Holtby is also a better goaltender than either Fleury or Murray… on paper. After saying all of this, one must wonder if anyone in either dressing room believes me? It goes without saying that no one in the Pittsburgh dressing room believes me, but if Washington doesn’t believe in themselves, then they don’t actually stand a chance.

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6, Washington is not the team that will be mentally tough enough to handle Pittsburgh.

2 – Ottawa Senators vs. 7 – New York Rangers

Did I mention that divisional playoffs are a mess? Ottawa having home-ice in this series is as coherent as most Donald Trump speeches. I said before the playoffs began that the Montreal-New York winner would win in the second round and watching both series leads me to believe that this is still the case.

Offensively, I think the Senators have an edge. Look for Brassard to be motivated and to have a great series after a very good first one. The blue line goes to New York as they have more skill and depth, with the obvious exception of #65. Goaltending also goes to the Rangers as Lundqvist showed that he still has some dominant games left in him, and that level of Lundqvist is better than any level of Anderson. This is not a disrespect to Anderson and also assumes that Lundqvist keeps his level of play as high as what was seen in round 1.

Prediction: New York in 5.

Enjoy the second round!

Thanks for reading,

Kevin Léveillé

Follow me on Twitter: @kev1586