2011 NHL Playoffs Second Round Predictions from the On the Forecheck staff

Yep, it's that time again. The second round of the 2011 NHL playoffs is set to get underway with Nashville and Vancouver playing their Game One tonight, so it's time for another round of predictions from the staff at On the Forecheck, excluding Sam, who is presumably busy watching Sergei Kostitsyn highlights. 

In place of Ryan (AdmiralsShortShifts), though, we've got JRTheBylineGrinder weighing in with his own predictions, because he 'won' the first round among users, while tying with Dirk for the overall lead. If you do the same, we'll include your picks for the conference finals.

After the jump, conference semifinal predictions from me, Dirk, Marc, and JR, who I'd highly recommend following on Twitter

Boston vs. Philadelphia 

Dirk: This should be a great series, but I like the Bruins' goaltending to make the difference here. Boston in 7.

Chris: This is a difficult one, because both teams are pretty loaded and yet struggled with their round one opponents. The Flyers play a revolving door in net, while the Bruins have Tim Thomas. Philadelphia has a slight advantage in skaters, but will it be enough? I'm not sure. Bruins in 7

Marc: The Bruins are coming off of an emotional Game 7 overtime win, but the Flyers' goaltending finally catches up with them. Bruins in 6.

JR: I tapped the Flyers early on for a run to the Stanley Cup finals, but the rotating door of goalies makes me nervous. Meanwhile, Boston survived what was tapped early as the best first-round series (it delivered).Bruins in 7.

Washington vs. Tampa 

Dirk: The Capitals gave up just one more goal all season than the Predators did, and they've also got Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, et al to lead the attack. I really like the way they're set up these days. Washington in 5.

Chris: Ovechkin. Stamkos. Backstrom. St. Louis. Semin. Lecavalier. No, it's not the Olympics, but this could prove to be the most entertaining semifinal series. Both teams can score in bunches, but the Caps' renewed commitment to defense accompanying an extremely strong defense corps will be the difference. Caps in 6.

Marc: Ovechkin has been a Tampa killer, putting up 10 points in 6 games against the Lightning this year. Combine that with the hot play of Michal Neuvirth (.946 SV%, 1.38 GAA in 1st round) and you've got the makings of a rout. Capitals in 5.

JR: Really looking forward to this series, because Ovi and Stamkos are, yes, exciting and skilled players. Plus, they both play with lots of joy. And I like guessing if Ovi is going to fall down or not every time he breaks to the net. I fell in love with Tampa in the first round. It'll be a short love affair. Caps in 6

San Jose vs. Detroit 

Dirk: The Red Wings got the rest they needed by sweeping Phoenix, but I don't like their goaltending and think if anyone can turn the tables on Detroit's puck-possession game, it may be the Sharks. San Jose in 7.

Chris: Death, taxes, and the Red Wings winning in the playoffs. I like what the Sharks have done this year, but I'm afraid it won't be enough, particularly if Detroit gets Henrik Zetterberg back, and healthy. Wings in 7.

Marc: Definitely the best series of the second round. Pretty even match-up across the board, but San Jose's raucous crowd pushes them over the top. Sharks in 7.

JR: The "Thankfully One of Them Has To Lose" Series! Nashville's two playoff bugaboos do the dance. In this case, Pavel Datsyuk trumps Jumbo Joe's twinkly "I finally didn't fell apart completely in the playoffs!" History Will Be Made commercial. Give me a rested Detroit in May. Wings in 6.

Nashville vs. Vancouver

Dirk: The Preds are perhaps healthier than they have been since Opening Night, and playing their best hockey of the year at the right time. Nashville in 6.  

Chris: Logic and reason say that the Predators don't stand much of a chance against the high-octane Canucks.

Screw logic and reason.

Preds in 6

Marc: Nashville has already had the best season in franchise history, regardless of what happens in this series. Vancouver is definitely the most talented team in the league on paper, but the Predators have matched up well with them this year. Picking against Nashville worked for us in the first round, though, so I gotta go with Canucks in 6.

JR: Lou finally looked like himself in Game 7, so perhaps whatever injury or confidence issue he had going in against Chicago is gone. Both teams slayed some playoff dragons in the first round, so this one may come down to whomever can find the next gear. It's another series where the match-ups matter and if Trotz and Co. can play that game as well as they did against the Ducks - and if Pekka can be Pekka again - I like the chances.

Ride the tiger. Preds in 6.

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