Apparently I have trouble being timely with my Playoff Previews… Given that Montreal and Boston are facing off in Game 2 as I write this, I’d say that’s accurate. However, it’s time for my Round 2 Preview!
It would appear I’m pretty bad at predicting the outcome of playoff series, if you refer back to my Round 1 Preview blog. Then again, I didn’t really predict anything, just explained who I’m cheering for and why. I also tend to pick the worst teams to cheer for.
I was pretty “meh” about a number of the first round series, but of the teams I wanted to advance to the second round, only one did. That honour belongs to the Minnesota Wild. And it was just barely that they made it through, as it took overtime in Game 7 to decide things. Nino Niederreiter scored the winner to knock out the Avs.
And one of the teams I really wanted to see win did the exact opposite, in spectacular fashion. The San Jose Sharks became just the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead when they lost to the Kings Wednesday night. Of all the reactions I saw to their loss, the one posted on reddit by user wheresmygirlmolly has got to be the best:
“The Sharks are like that abusive boyfriend that you keep coming back to. They are great 90% of the time, its perfect, you are in love. Then tax time comes, in April, and they get stressed, and beat you, and you want to leave, but they draw you back in. “Shhhhh baby, its ok, I’ll be better next time, and I won’t do it again, I promise, we have been through so much together, it will be great in the future, we will finally make that committment to the shiny silver thing, just give me one more shot”. And so you do, but then again, at the exact same time of year, they pull the same shit. And you want to leave, but you know you can’t, and know you never will.”
Almost describes being a Leafs fan, except for the “90% of the time it’s perfect” part.
Anyway, lets have a look at Round 2 of the NHL playoffs.
East: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
At times in the first round, it looked like Pittsburgh might have some trouble disposing of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they did manage to take the series in 6 games (despite Sidney Crosby scoring NO goals). The Rangers hit a few snags along the way too, needing 7 games to get past the Philadelphia Flyers. I’m pulling for the Rangers in this one, because I dislike them less than the Penguins, though I’m not a particularly big fan of either. Game 1 has already happened, and the Rangers managed to continue Crosby’s goalless streak AND win the game in overtime TWICE.
East: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
This is a tough series. Two teams that I have a real dislike for. As a Leafs fan, I’m naturally supposed to hate the Habs. After what the Bruins did to my Leafs last year, however, I think I might just hate them more. In a perfect world, these two teams would eliminate each other and send the winner of the other Eastern series straight to the Cup Finals, but it doesn’t work that way. In this scenario, Montreal seems like the lesser of two evils, so I kinda hope they pull out a victory over the President’s Trophy-winning Bruins. Especially since the wave of racism directed at P.K. Subban (above) after he scored the OT goal that won game 1. That ain’t classy, and there’s no room in professional sports for that.
West: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Truth is, I know very little about the Minnesota Wild. I don’t know if I’ve ever even watched a full game they’ve played before last night’s game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks. I want to pull for them just because they’re underdogs, but if game 1 is any indication, they’re going to have a real tough go getting past Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and the rest of the Blackhawks. As much as I’d love to see the Wild move on, I can’t really see it happening… Especially if Patrick Kane continues to produce like he did last night:
But until the series is done, might as well go for ‘sota!
West: Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are another one of those teams that I know little about, and did not follow at all during the regular season. There’s a local connection in Peterborough-born winger Cory Perry, which could potentially mean a trip to Peterborough for the Stanley Cup if the Ducks go all the way. To get there, they’ll have to beat the Kings who made history Wednesday night when they became the fourth team in NHL history to battle back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series. I gotta say, I’m a fan of Drew Doughty (above), especially after his performance at the Olympics helping Canada secure a gold medal. I don’t know who will win, but I’ll bet it’s going to be an entertaining series. Game 1 goes tonight.
Who’s your team?