BTI back at it again, this time predicting round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Washington Capitals (1) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
Tyler Yaremchuk: This one is going to be so tight. It’ll go the distance (6-7 games) and I really like both of these teams, whoever can escape here is my pick to win the cup. Holtby has been a monster in the playoffs and the Capitals have better offense in my mind. This Caps team also plays much better when the games get close, their Goals For % is 57.1% when the games are close. Ill take the Capitals in 7.
Taylor Paniccia: Sit back and sort of relax? This series is going deep. Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, hell even depth players for Pittsburgh are chipping in. Pittsburgh’s offense can’t be tamed and it won’t slow down this series. Washington had troubles against a weak Philadelphia offence and the Pittsburgh Penguins will now expose Washington’s lack of scoring from round 1. You can argue goaltending for the Washington Capitals but it doesn’t seem like Pittsburgh’s goaltending has blemished. Pittsburgh in 7!
Josh Goodings: This series is very hard to predict, but I’m confident that it very well might be the best series of the playoffs. I agree with Tyler, whoever takes this series will be my pick to take it all. The Pens have been on another level for months now, and looked amazing taking out the Rangers in 5, but the Caps have been at the top of the standings all year long for a reason. Each team has plenty of stars up front, Crosby-Malkin-Kessel, Ovi-Backstrom-Kuznetsov, but in terms of overall forward depth I like the Caps. Kris Letang is the best defenceman in the series, but once again I think the Caps take the edge in overall defence depth. Although they’re facing some of the best offensive players in the game, I think both Murray and Holtby will be impressive in this series, but I don’t think the rookie will outshine the soon to be Vezina winner. I’d love to see the Pens move on, but this is the Caps year, it’s their time. Capitals in 7.
Niti Krasniqi: It’s safe to predict it’ll be a long series (Can you imagine a sweep? That would be something). Even with Crosby, Malkin and Kessel I can see Holbty standing his ground. Over the past 2 playoff campaigns Holbty is sporting a .950 SV%. We did see that Washington had some trouble scoring against the Flyers, but, I think that will turn around. They’re facing Matt Murray, and Washington has enough fire power to rattle the rookie. Though, even if it was Fleury in net, I don’t think I would feel any different given Fleury’s history. I have Capitals in 7.
Consensus Pick: Capitals
Tampa Bay Lightning (6) vs New York Islanders (5)
Tyler Yaremchuk: On paper, this should be the Lightning easily. If Ben Bishop can play like the Vezina Finalist he is then Tampa should be going to their second straight Conference Finals. But it’s never that simple. Tavares and Greiss are giving the Islanders a lot of hope. If they can get a few players to contribute some secondary scoring (Lee, Nelson, Nielsen) then they could take this series. Although the Islanders finished higher in the standings, it will still be an upset if they win and I like upsets. Islanders in 6.
Taylor Paniccia: Tampa Bay’s roster is deeper and more experienced and you can’t leave out the fact that Greiss is going up against a Vezina finalist in Ben Bishop. While the Islanders did prove me wrong in round 1 it was a very tight series not very many mistakes were made. Look for this series to be a little more offensively open than the Islanders 1st round and Tampa will run away with their better transition game and high powered scoring offense. Tampa in 7.
Josh Goodings: This series shouldn’t be a problem for the Lighting, they have better forward depth, better defence, and a Vezina candidate between the pipes. Even without Steven Stamkos they’re the better team. But not so fast, John Tavares and Thomas Greiss were amazing in the first round and carried that over into Game 1 of this series, giving the Isles a 1-0 series lead and taking away home ice advantage from the Lightning. I still think the Bolts are the better team and will win this series but don’t count the Isles out. Tampa in 7.
Niti Krasniqi: Tampa Bay may be missing their best player, but, they’re still a deeper team with Vezina candidate goaltending, backed up by a very solid Vasilevskiy. The Islanders deserve more credit than they’re getting from the hockey world, but, they were outplayed a lot of the time during their first round match-up against the Panthers. However, John Tavares was outstanding for them in the first round and if he can keep it up this could be a long series. I’ll take Lightning in 6.
Consensus pick: Tampa
Dallas Stars (1) vs St. Louis Blues (2)
Tyler Yaremchuk: Dallas proved me wrong in round one, I dont think they can do it again against a much better St. Louis team. Elliot is too hot and they’re getting contributions from all parts of their lineup. A Seguin return may spark something but I don’t think it will be enough. Blues in 6.
Taylor Paniccia: Dallas simply can not fall asleep like they did at times against the Minnesota Wild. They are going up against a much better St. Louis team. Based on goaltending and how good Elliot has been I have the Blues taking this one quickly. Blues in 5.
Josh Goodings: The Blues biggest challenge in the west were the Chicago Blackhawks, and they conquered them. I think by beating the Hawks they proved they’re the top team in the Western conference, and I think it’s easy sailing to the west finals. Dallas did look impressive against Minnesota… at times, but that just won’t be enough to beat the Blues. Throw in a Tyler Seguin injury and a very hot Brian Elliot and I think this is an easy series for St.Louis. Blues in 5.
Niti Krasniqi: One of these teams is better all around than the other. Though, 3 of their 5 regular season matchup’s needed OT. The other 2 were 3-0 victories for each side. I can see the Dallas Stars putting up a fight and dragging this one out longer than they probably should. Stars obviously miss Tyler Seguin but his production in the post season is pretty poor in comparison to his regular season stats. (0.83 PPG vs. 0.42 PPG) – almost slashed in half. At the end of the day I don’t think Seguin’s absence will be the deciding factor in this series. Blues have the better team. Blues in 7.
Consensus pick: Blues
San Jose Sharks (6) vs Nashville Predators (7)
Tyler Yaremchuk: A battle of two strong possesion teams (both top 10 in CF%) and whoever can take this series is who I will be rooting for to win the Cup. Nashville played very well against Anaheim in round one, but I still look at that series as Anaheim loosing not Nashville winning. Rinne has been spectacular and Smashville’s defense is the best in the league, but this is San Jose’s year, I think beating the Kings gives this team so much confidence/momentum. Sharks in 5.
Taylor Paniccia: Wow did Nashville shock me. While they played well and shut down the Anaheim ducks they will not do that against a way heavier offense in the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are high as ever coming off that big series win against the LA Kings and will take this series because Nashville will not be able to keep up with their scoring. Sharks in 6.
Josh Goodings: This will be an interesting series, both teams coming off of first round upsets looking to prove they’re not a one and done team. The Sharks finally got their redemption with the Kings, looking dominant and finishing them in 5 games. The Preds were up and down in their series with the Ducks, losing games 3, 4, and 5 in a row, but still taking the series in 7. I think these two teams match up quite evenly, but the likes of Pavelski, Thornton, Couture, and Marleau, will be too much for the Preds to handle. Sharks in 6.
Niti Krasniqi: Sharks have more ability on the offensive side of the game and I think they’re good enough defensively to top the Predators. Although Pekka Rinne had a very good first round, he’s been very unlike himself this season so it’s tough to predict which Pekka we will see this series. These two teams are Corsi Kings, but, the Sharks’ goal differential was +31, whereas the Preds was only +13. I think Jones is good enough to help them win this series, if not, they’ve got Reimer waiting. I have the Sharks in 6.
Consensus pick: Sharks