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 – Chicago Blackhawks vs. 8 – Nashville Predators

My Prediction: Chicago in 5

What happened? Nashville in 4

Not many saw this coming but Chicago had absolutely no answer for Nashville’s speed. It took Chicago 2 games to even get into playoff mode and with Nashville getting the bounce in OT of game 3, it became clear that it was much too little, much too late for the Western Conference top seed.

2 – Minnesota Wild vs. 3 – St. Louis Blues

My Prediction – St. Louis in 7.

What happened? St. Louis in 5

Minnesota cooled off late in the season whereas the Blues were hot heading into the series. Yeo likely saved the Blues season, Boudreau should probably be fired. All this after Minnesota looked like a stronger team for long stretches this series only to meet the wall that was Jake Allen.

1 – Anaheim Ducks vs. 7 – Calgary Flames

My Prediction – Anaheim in 6

What happened? Anaheim in 4

Calgary just didn’t appear ready to play at this level of hockey, and every single time they pushed back, Elliott would let in a deflating softie. Another summer of change in the crease in Calgary, it appears.

2 – Edmonton Oilers vs. 3 – San Jose Sharks

My Prediction – Sharks in 6

What happened? Edmonton in 6

Were the Sharks too banged up? Were the Sharks too tired? Were the Sharks content after shedding their choker image last season? Or are the Oilers this good? We are definitely about to find out as the experienced Ducks await the young and up-beat Oilers.

Second Round

3 – St. Louis Blues vs. 8 – Nashville Predators

The divisional playoffs are a mess and this match-up proves it while 1 and 2 seeds Anaheim and Edmonton face-off. The crazy part is that judging from what we’ve seen in round 1, the only way St. Louis comes out on top is if Jake Allen completely steals the series.

In terms of comparison, Nashville’s forward group is relatively unknown if compared with Tarasenko but consider that this is a group of forwards that felt confident enough to send Ribeiro home mid-season. In a game that awards more and more importance to speed and youth, Nashville personify this and so they get the edge up front. The blue line battle is perhaps the most intriguing in the entire series. Pietrangelo-Bouwmeester-Parayko versus Josi-Subban-Ellis will likely be the deciding factor in this one. I will choose Parayko as the tie-breaker and give St Louis the edge, but this is a toss-up. Rinne versus Allen also has the makings of an interesting battle. Allen had the best first-round in the entire NHL in my opinion, but can he keep it up?

Prediction: A terrible first-round of prediction is not enough to change my mantra to choose D+G over the O, so I’ll say the Blues in 6.

1 – Anaheim Ducks vs. 2 – Edmonton Oilers

This is a difficult one to pick. Edmonton was impressive against the Sharks, but the latter squad was rather beat-up. Anaheim was also impressive but Calgary almost looked like collective deer in headlights. Edmonton is a team that represents the new age NHL with young and fast players, but they clearly lack big-game experience. Anaheim is a big and rough team, who have a reputation for not showing up when the going gets hard.

Offensively, I think the Oilers have more weapons. It’s incredibly close with both teams getting contributions from a variety of sources throughout the first round. I just think McDavid won’t be kept off the board for two series in a row. Ducks have a definite advantage on the blue line with the likes of Lindholm, Vatanen and Fowler being a stronger group than Larsson, Sekera and Klefbom. The goaltending duel is also quite intriguing as Gibson played a pretty good first round and Talbot has been an absolute horse for Edmonton all year long. Talbot has shown the ability to be durable though so I’ll give him the advantage.

Prediction: Anaheim needs to keep this short. The longer it goes, the more it becomes advantage Edmonton. I’ll take Edmonton in 7.

Enjoy the second round!

Thanks for reading,

Kevin Léveillé

Follow me on Twitter: @kev1586