It seems like a long time has past but it has only been a little over two weeks since I was predicting the outcome of games in the first round.
I did choose Detroit over Phoenix but was let down by the Predators when they allowed that goal by Patrick Kane with 13 seconds left in game four and turned their series around. Three out of four is not bad. I will just forget about the Eastern Conference for now. Obviously I was paying too much time on the West anyway.
The Canucks are a better team than they were last year. They have more depth and the ability to score a lot more goals.
The Blackhawks are not as good as they were last year and the main reason is their goaltending. Say what you want about Nikolai Khabibulin he has a Stanley Cup ring and he was very good against the Canucks. Antti Niemi has six games of playoff experience and looked good in maybe three of them. The Predators are not exactly an offensive juggernaut.
The Los Angeles Kings provided a much better opponent in the first round than the St. Louis Blues did last year. The Canucks are more battle ready and if they can stay out of the penalty box they should take this one in six.
The Detroit Red Wings proved once again that they are a force to be reckoned with. They showed their determination and playoff moxie by dominating game seven on the road in Phoenix. The Sharks on the other hand had all they could handle with the Colorado Avalanche.Thornton, Marleau, and Heatley are no-shows and Joe Pavelski will not be given the chance to free wheel like he did against the Avs. Evgeni Nabokov has yet to prove that he can maintain a high level of play during the playoffs for any length of time. I like Detroit in 6.
The Eastern Conference is a bettor's nightmare.
How can a team get outshot 92-30 in consecutive games and win them both? Can Jaroslav Halak be so lucky again? I do not think so.
The Penguins are as good as Crosby makes them and he was fantastic in the first series against Ottawa. The Penguins will win in five (please note how confident I sound).
I like Boston over Philadelphia. Brian Boucher is not the good. The Devils were the biggest disappointment of the first round. Take Boston.