2ITB NHL Conference Finals predictions

One thing that is safe to assume about the NHL Conference Finals, you will see two very different series. The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning both think defense first most of the time. While the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks are both deep with scoring depth.

It is also probably safe to assume both series will go at least six games. The rusty vs. run-down debate will probably run rampant. However, both teams out East have had long lay-offs while only San Jose has really no chance to settle down.

#3 Boston Bruins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning

Boston has the ability to push the Lightning around. The Bruins are deep on defense and are long on big, angry forwards. Tim Thomas has also been spectacular throughout the playoffs. Tampa has gotten great goaltending from Dwayne Roloson and their grinders have been extremely effective. If it comes down to goaltending I would lean towards the Bruins. Thomas has been too good to bet against. In addition he has played bigger as the situation has become more tense. The Bruins forwards are good. Their top two lines are great scorers and their grinders have been excellent. Chris Kelly has been an x-factor of sorts as he has found ways to score big goals in both rounds. Zdeno Chara is the easy guy to point out on defense but Dennis Seidenberg has been stellar all playoffs. He may be the best defenseman the Bruins have right now. Continue reading

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round two recap

I was 50% with my second round picks, that leaves me at 8/12 for the playoffs thus far. The second round wasn’t nearly the epic that came with the first eight series. However, the Western Conference managed to provide a few decent moments before the conference semi-finals wrapped up. Otherwise, two sweeps left most wanting more out East.


#5 Tampa Bay Lightning defeat #1 Washington Capitals 4-0

I was fairly certain that Dwayne Roloson and the Lightning weren’t capable of continuing their magic from the first round. However, Washington reverted back to form from early in the season. Alex Ovechkin was a ghost and Michael Neuvirth was average. Tampa Bay has found scoring from their big guns in addition to their role players, namely Sean Bergenheim. They face a steep climb against the Bruins, probably the most physical team in the 2011 Playoffs. Turning point: Tampa’s 3-2 overtime win in game two. Took first two games in Washington. MVP: Sean Bergenheim – 4 goals, has 7+1 through 11 playoff games thus far. Continue reading

On to game seven

When I said Detroit would take San Jose in seven games I envisioned a back and forth series, not a wild three-game comeback by the Winged Wheel.

The Sharks were 16 minutes away from locking up the series in game six last night. Funny, the Sabres were about that far away in game six as well. No matter, the Red Wings scored three unanswered goals and sent the series back to the Golden State for a seventh game. The Sharks also had a pair of two goal leads erased on Sunday, at home, in game five. Continue reading

2ITB second round predictions

I was a tidy 6/8 with my first round selections in the 2011 Stanly Cup Playoffs. Of course, that means I will go o’fer in round two but that won’t keep me from taking a stab at it anyway.


#1 Washington Capitals vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning

This could be an interesting series. The knee-jerk choice is Washington. They can score almost at will and they did a good job keeping a defensive-minded team, with a good goalie, at bay in round one. The Caps also got strong goaltending, something many had questioned. Tampa, on the other hand, took a while to wake up. They fell behind Pittsburgh 3-1 before igniting their offense a bit and then riding Dwayne Roloson into the second round. It is Roloson’s pair of shutouts against Washington that intrigues me. Also his flawless elimination game record (6-0). If Roloson continues the way he is playing, Tampa will be dangerous. I am willing to go against that, I like Washington’s new-look defensive game and their ability to fill the net. Caps in six. Continue reading