WHO’S YOUR NEW FAVOURITE TO COME OUT OF THE WEST?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: I used logic and numbers to predict the first round… I went zero-for-eight. So now Im throwing logic out the window. Are the Avalanche a one-line team? YUP! Do they rely on their powerplay? YUP! Is their goaltender proven? HARDLY!
I’m taking the Avalanche to come out of the west! Book it!
WYATT ZIEGER: In the west, it’s a bit more complicated, St.Louis and San Jose have the deepest rosters but the Avalanche have the best player left in these playoffs (MacKinnon). I’m going to go with St.Louis though. They have a strong D core, only 2nd to SJS but they have a balanced offence and solid goaltending.
IAN SHEPPARD: The Sharks. They’re easily the most talented team left in the West for starters with a nice mix of younger aged players to savvy veterans with the experience to win. Goaltending has been an issue for them with Martin Jones having a very shaky playoff so far. Even after the magnificent comeback in Game seven, Vegas was able to tie the game in the dying seconds, so there is a weakness there for San Jose.
But ultimately what puts me behind them is the momentum I think they’ll carry the rest of the way. Storming back to win that Game seven the way they did is something very few if any team can do. For me, that boasts a team with confidence. They were playing for their captain that night and I think this is something they can rally behind to give themselves an edge.
WHO’S YOUR NEW FAVOURITE TO COME OUT OF THE EAST?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: I really don’t trust this Islanders team, but I also don’t trust the Hurricanes. I think that series could be a snooze-fest. So I will go to the other series and take the Columbus Blue Jackets. They have four strong forward lines, a strong and speedy d-core that can move the puck like crazy, and a goaltender who can be the best in the world when he’s on his game. CBJ to the Cup Final!
WYATT ZIEGER: I hate to give the boring answer but how could you not say the Bruins?
IAN SHEPPARD: The Islanders. I said it coming into the playoffs and I’m sticking with it now! I’m all aboard the Trotz train! Barry Trotz has his team playing as just that, a team. They have the firepower to put up points and they’re getting an outstanding performance from their goaltender. Robin Lehner has led the playoffs with a 1.47 GAA and a .956 SV% while being the backbone of his team.
I can see them moving past the Hurricanes in five or six games and I think the Isle would hold up well against either Boston or Columbus. With teams like Tampa and Washington now out of the playoffs, I could see a team like New York pave a way to the cup final.
OUTSIDE OF TB LOSING, WHICH FIRST ROUND RESULT WAS THE MOST SURPRISING?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: The Islanders SWEEPING the Penguins stunned me. Straight up. I thought the Penguins would find a way to handle the Islanders, but the magic of Barry Trotz proved to be too much. That was the one series I was VERY wrong on. It’s a shame because I like watching Sidney Crosby play in meaningful hockey games.
WYATT ZIEGER: The most surprising for me is a tie between Carolina and NYI. This is the first time since 2007 that neither the Caps or Penguins will be in the 2nd round.
IAN SHEPPARD: The Avalanche eliminating the Flames. I wasn’t shocked to see Calgary lose the round even though I predicted to win it. But I really didn’t see them losing in five games. This was the best team in the West record wise and I thought they could make it past an Avalanche team with a thinner lineup. I was shocked by the lack of production from a few bigger name stars on the roster, like Johnny Gaudreau, and I did not expect Colorado to dominate the way they did through most of that series.