Well, the second round is FINALLY over. I don’t know about you but that round took seemingly forever to end. Maybe it’s because I’m a Blackhawks fan and they swept the Wild and it took almost a full more week for the round to end than when the Hawks did that it seems like so much time has passed.
Anyways, second round predictions were here: https://mzrc.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/2014-15-nhl-stanley-cup-playoffs-predictions-conference-semifinals/
(1) New York Rangers vs. (2) Tampa Bay Lightning
The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals in 7 games (I know, that never happens) after being down 3-1 in the series. Every game was a 1 goal game, and game 7 went to OT – so the only thing you can really take away from the Capitals here is that they did have the 3-1 series lead and just a little more push in one of those games they could’ve easily been the victors here.
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games after having a 3-0 series lead with game 4 being in Tampa. The first game had the controversial offsides OT winner, and the second game was a slaughter with Stamkos finally scoring and the Lightning scoring 4 PPG’s, and game 3 was a last second buzzer beater. The Canadiens responded with their own rout and a home win before losing convincingly in game 6.
As far as a winner between the two, it’s tough to call. I would give Tampa the scoring edge but considering they did have difficulties putting Detroit away and took two extra games against the Habs than necessary, I’d have to give this to the Rangers.
(3) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (1) Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Calgary Flames in 5 games – they at least allowed the Flames to win a game unlike the Jets. And no one’s surprised. And Corey Perry, your “injury” in game 5 was so legit!
The Chicago Blackhawks swept the Minnesota Wild in 4 games, proving yet again that Devan Dubnyk will always be Devan Dubnyk. If nothing else I’m proud that the Hawks defeated the two most annoying stories I kept hearing this season – 1) That the Preds were suddenly amazing and 2) Devan Dubnyk was suddenly not hot garbage. But I was kind of surprised that the Hawks swept the Wild, to be honest. I knew the Hawks would win as long as they tried – but for the Wild to not have won a game – screw that, for the Wild to never even have had a lead in the entire series – that surprises me. I felt they were a better team than that, at least. I mean, they did beat the Blues to get here.
Now, everyone’s all hyping the crap out of the Ducks or something as if they’re this big, unbeatable monster of a team. “Oh they swept the Jets and beat the Flames handily!” I mean, yes, that’s true. But what’s the big deal? Of course they beat the Jets and the Flames. Did anyone think they stood a chance? I mean, yes, the Ducks are a really good team. They are. But beating a wild card team and a team that no one expected to even make the playoffs before the season started except for literally one person does not make you an unbeatable monster. It’s no surprise the Ducks are here in the WCF because they haven’t faced a real team yet. The Ducks are about to play a real team for the first time in the playoffs.
I’m perfectly aware that the Ducks could beat the Blackhawks. They could. That does not mean they will. It’s not a given. You look at both teams and it’s tough to pick a victor. You could play this series ten times and each team could win it five times.
Why should I be afraid of the Ducks when:
1. The Ducks haven’t played any real teams yet and the Hawks have played one real team.
2. The Ducks have home ice advantage but the Hawks beat them twice this season IN Anaheim 4-1 in quite possibly their best games of the season. Their only other game was a 1-0 shutout win for Anaheim. It wasn’t a slaughter of any kind.
Look, if anyone beats the Hawks in the playoffs this year, it’s going to be the Ducks. Whomever wins this series is going to win the Cup. But I’m not going to sit here and overrate the hell out of the Ducks, either. I will either overrate nor underestimate the Ducks. These are the two best teams left and either could win.
Before I finish this post, I do need to address one thing that I’m tired of hearing about. And that is the Michal Roszival injury. It’s no secret that I hate Roszival and want him off this team, but obviously I did not want him to be injured. I hope he recovers as quickly as he can. I did want them to make the conscious decision that this guy is terrible and he needs to not play again ever.
But I’m getting sick of hearing about how this injury is going to effect the Hawks. I’m hearing from podcasts and new sites and NHL Network shows how this is some kind of “huge injury.” NEWS FLASH: It will not effect them. Anyone watching the games can see that Roszival is garbage and costs them goals against more than anything. It’s a huge surprise when he actually does something defensively. He is nothing. NOT HAVING ROSZIVAL IN THE LINEUP IS NOT GOING TO BE A REASON THE HAWKS DON’T WIN. On the other hand, HAVING ROSZIVAL IN THE LINEUP COULD BE A REASON THE HAWKS DON’T WIN? GET IT, GOT IT, GOOD.
He didn’t do anything besides exist on the ice. People call Dion Phaneuf a pylon for some reason – Roszival is more like a pylon. He’s sitting there on the ice during power plays, penalty kills, either of those situations in OT, when much better players could do that for him. Even a forward would be better at this point. And it’s not like Roszival being out means there will only be 5 D. They seem to forget that David Rundblad will exist in that spot now. And sure, he may not be the best either, but he can’t really be any worse than Roszival. Sure, he might lack the experience Roszival does, but for what he lacks in experience he’ll at least make up for with ability to do things. What mistakes Roszival made due to being too old to do what he’s paid for are the same that will be made by Rundblad from inexperience. They cancel each other out – they are no better or worse with Rundblad in for Roszival.
Now that that’s out of the way. It’s tough to pick a winner, but I have to predict the Hawks. They are the better team all in all. But I’m not counting the Ducks out either.
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