2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second Round Predictions from the staff
Consider this a knowledge base for your new opinions.
Deep breath...... aaaannnnnnd.... GO
|Lightning vs. Islanders||Capitals vs. Penguins||Stars vs. Blues||What series is most likely to end in a sweep?||What series (other than Nashville's) are you the most interested in?||What favorite is most likely to be upset?|
The Caps score 4 goals in every game...and lose the series in 5. I enjoy picking against the Caps purely for spite because their coach tormented me with awful hockey and ridiculous statements for his last couple years here. I'm still a Trotz Hater...come at me.
Dallas will be roasted by St. Louis, big time. While I predict the Blues win in six games, I think the only way Dallas gets two wins are late game-winners or maybe decided in overtime. St. Louis is way too good and Dallas has too many problems defensively and with goaltending.
I think the Pens are going to knock out the Caps, and it's not going to be close.
I think the Isles can keep the magic going despite the Lighting being a formidable foe. Lightning had an extra easy Round One and the Islanders with Tavares will be the difference against a Stamkos-less Lightning. The Penguins can only ride the Murray train for so long. Holtby has a definitive edge against the Penguins and the Caps can pretty much bring the offense whenever they feel. You can set your watch to the Blues losing espically in the playoffs and the clock is about to hit 12:00. The Stars are rolling and only an injury to one of their top players can stop their momentum.
The Penguins could just be 'that team' this year that has the luck on their side. Sure, it's not like they beat a juggernaut in the first round with the Rangers, but they made things look easy for the most part. No, Hank wasn't in net for the whole series and was not himself to say the least, but it was easy doing for the Pens and they look as dangerous as dangerous gets.
I'm not at all surprised at how any of these series have shaken out, with the exception of the Sharks winning over the Kings. The Islanders are going to perform well on an increasingly big stage as they move from a pesky Panthers team, to the more predictable Tampa Bay Lightning.
Goaltending problems in Dallas and defensive vulnerabilities ultimately become their downfall, but their potent offense keeps them competitive for the series. Alexander Ovechkin finally usurps Sidney Crosby as World's Greatest Hockey Player(TM) in World's Most Manufactured Rivalry(TM).
The Blues are my favorite from the West to make it to the Cup Finals. They beat the Blackhawks in a hard fought series, are solid both offensively and defensively, and can play a skilled and rugged style of play which can wear on teams. Their goaltending is a bit suspect but it doesn't take a great goalie to will a team to a cup. Elliott just has to be alright in net.
Even though I think that the Lightining/Islanders series could end up being a sweep, it also would not surprise me if the series went 7 games. Both teams are loaded with talent and I expect every game to be a battle. The Caps/Pens series will definitely be the most exciting (in my opinion) just because of the big names involved. I think the Blues have shaken off their playoff mental block by beating the Blackhawks, and will handle the Stars in 6 games. All in all, the second round will be an exciting one to watch overall.
The Capitals do not have a weakness. The rest of the league will bow at the feet of the Golden Ovechkin every day at sunset during the month of June. All citizens will be assimilated. There is no escape. Anyone without a portrait of Supreme Leader Trotz in their home will be forced into a labor camp. Anyone without the mandated "Holtby" forehead-tattoo will be excommunicated. This is the way of New Capital-ism. This is the way of the future.
I picked the Stars because the Stars aren't playing scared, and the majority of this series might occur around the Blues' net. Advantage: Dallas. Also, if Stamkos returns... watch out. I picked the Pens mostly because I like their depth and their construction. If they can find a way to get Malkin effective without touching Kessel's line, that will be worth 2 games.