The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs was exciting, but the second round will be better. There will be two Original Six series and the Battle of California. Hockey fans, especially ones from the cities, are very proud of the Original Six, and when they play each other, it adds another level of excitement. The Eastern Conference Semifinals will definitely be long and fierce while the Western Conference is up in the air.
#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #7 Ottawa Senators
The Penguins have more talent and should win this series, but the Senators could give them some problems. The Penguins struggled against the New York Islanders and the Senators have a grudge against them. Early in the season, Matt Cooke accidentally cut Erik Karlsson’s Achilles tendon, forcing him to miss 31 games. While the Penguins have the stronger offense, the Senators have a goalie who can keep them in every game. If Craig Anderson did not get hurt in the regular season he would be nominated for the Vezina. If Anderson gives another stellar performance they could defeat the Penguins.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 or 7 games
#4 Boston Bruins vs #6 New York Rangers
They are two of the Original Six teams, and they also have a deep rivalry. Boston vs. New York is always exciting, and now there is a trip to the Conference Finals on the line. Boston just eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs (another Original Six team) in arguable one of most exciting game seven in hockey’s history and are on a definite high. The Rangers eliminated the Washington Capitals with two consecutive shutouts behind Vezina Trophy winner and nominee Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is the main reason the Rangers are in the playoffs and in the second round. If the offense does not give Lundqvist help the Bruins could easily take care of them.
Pick: New York Rangers in 6 or 7 games.
#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Detroit Red Wings
Two Original Six teams and lifelong rivals! It will also be the last time they meet in the playoffs unless they end up in the Stanley Cup Finals because Detroit is moving to the Eastern Conference next season. That makes this series the must watch series of the second round. Chicago easily handled the Minnesota Wild, but Detroit managed to defeat the #2 Anaheim Ducks in seven games. Chicago swept the season series, but given the rivalry Detroit will not go quietly.
Pick: Chicago in 5 or 6 games
#5 Los Angeles Kings vs. #6 San Jose Sharks
It is the Battle For California! They are rivals and both are hungry for the Cup. The Kings are defending champions and want to repeat. The Sharks would love to be the ones who stop their in-state rival from achieving this goal. San Jose swept the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angele took St. Lous Blues to six games. Despite the vastly different first round series expect this series to be very close. Four of their last 10 games went into overtime.
Pick: Los Angeles Kings in 5 or 6 games