After a wonderfully successful set of first round selections, I fully expect to fall flat on my face with my choices for the second round. I went five for eight in the first round, missing only the Penguins, Bruins and Sharks as eliminated teams. Admittedly, I chose San Jose as my reach upset. So I wasn’t torn up by their elimination.
I made some preliminary choices last night, but I reserve the right to make tweaks prior to the bulk of the games starting this afternoon. Now, on with my second round predictions.
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
The Capitals got by New York last year in what was a pretty entertaining series. The Capitals sat atop the East with the Rangers barely getting in last spring. The tables have turned here in 2012, with the Rangers taking the East and the Caps sneaking into the postseason before upsetting the Bruins in round one.
I like the Capitals to pull the upset again in round two, but I question their ability to beat King Hank. The Rangers struggled with the Senators and their hot goalie. Now they get a deeper team with a hot goalie in the Capitals. Washington is coming off a seven game war with the Bruins in which they survived on ugly, low scoring affairs to advance. I think the Rangers are perfectly built for low scoring affairs.
Why New York will win
Henrik Lundqvist was quite good in round one and is adding to his Hart Trophy resume as each game passes. The Rangers have the ability to choke out any offense that the Capitals may still have after a low scoring first round series. New York will need to find a way to put some goals in the net, however, if they hope to make quick work of the Caps.
Why Washington will win
Braden Holtby has been dazzling for the Caps, playing a key role in their upset of the Bruins. The Capitals are a dangerous team considering they’re playing with house money, more or less. There are very few expectations considering they snuck into the playoffs late. Washington didn’t score too many goals against Boston and won’t find much more skating room against the Rangers. They will need to control the offensive zone if they hope to pull the upset.
Outcome: Rangers in six Continue reading