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
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.
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.
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.