The headline to this article basically says it all, the NHL playoffs have been a wild ride so far, and it seems like it’s going to continue on that way. What happened? What’s going to happen? Will anything ever make sense again? Read ahead to find out.
SECOND ROUND RECAP
Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers – The Ottawa Senators have been a mystery this playoff season. A team, which on paper, has no real star power (other than Erik Karlsson) has somehow managed to claw their way into the conference finals. They beat the Rangers in game 6, IN New York City, they’ve been playing a tight game and they somehow just KEEP WINNING. It is probably the biggest shock of the playoffs that they’ve made it so far.
Did I correctly predict this series? That’ll be one giant NOPE
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals – The only thing I have to say about this series is ugh. I don’t know what’s wrong with the Capitals, but for such a strong team they just cannot put together a good playoff run. With Pittsburgh riddled with injuries (particularly Sidney Crosby sitting out a game with a concussion – which could have been much worse) they should have been able to handily beat the Penguins. They even clawed back from a 3-1 game deficit, only to lose in game 7. Rumours are already flying that Ovechkin may be on his way out, but that may be a bit premature. Either way, Pittsburgh wins the series and may be on their way to ANOTHER cup (double ugh).
Did I correctly predict this series? I really wish I had.
Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues – The Predators are on fire. I’m surprised that actual sparks don’t shoot from their blades when they hit the ice. They’ve now upset both the Western Conference leading Blackhawks and the Blues – who were also a few points ahead of them in the pre-playoff standings. Nashville has been playing a solid game, Rinne has been topnotch and PK Subban is great at playing under pressure. The Blues just couldn’t compete with their firepower.
Did I correctly predict this series? YES and I correctly predicted a 6 game series.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks – This was a series full of ups and downs for both teams. In game 5, Anaheim had the comeback of a century of hockey, scoring 3 goals in 4 minutes (amid some questionable calls) to tie the game, only to go on to win in double overtime. Then, in game 6, Edmonton played the game of a lifetime to win 7-1, only to get defeated by the Ducks in game 7! The back and forth nature of this series made it virtually impossible to guess. Even in game 7, until the last minutes of the game, it would have been hard-pressed to make a solid prediction. Either way, it should be a nice confidence boost for the young Oilers, who should come back strong next year.
Did I correctly predict this series? Somehow, yes I did, and I correctly predicted it would take 7 games.
WHO SAW THIS COMING?
Just to really show the unpredictable nature of the playoffs, check out this graph. Each year a friend of mine gets all of his hockey-minded friends to make predictions of what will happening in the playoffs. None of us are ‘professionals’ but we’re all big hockey fans who follow the game throughout the year, and in the past have had some pretty impressive guesses. This is what we have this year:
I’m (Childs) still ‘alive’ but only barely. Yikes.
CONFERENCE FINALS PREDICTIONS
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators – First of all, who saw this coming? I’m sure not too many. While Pittsburgh might have the better team ‘on paper’, they’ve been injury riddled since before the playoffs began. And Ottawa, well, Ottawa makes no sense, which is why they’re going to make for an interesting opponent. What will happen? honestly at this point, Jean Claude Van Damme could end up playing goalie like in the movie Sudden Death and I wouldn’t be surprised.
Who will win? Ottawa in 6, because why not.
Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks – It’s important to note that the Predators have had a considerably easier journey to the conference finals than many of the other teams. They’ve won both series so far soundly, with no extended overtimes, no crazy back-and-forth games, and no game 7s. Does this mean that they’re more well reseted and have an advantage? Or will it mean they won’t be ready to fight? I’m learning toward the former. Anaheim is just coming out of a hard fought series, and with only a 2 day break in between games, I think they are facing a very tough opponent in the Predators.
Who will win? Nashville in 6.
That sums up another round. Check back in after the Conference Finals to see what happened and what will happen.