After Thursday’s bombshell blockbuster that saw veteran Jordan Eberle shipped to Long Island, many Oilers fans are still reeling, scratching their heads and questioning the underwhelming return.
New York Islanders
Tonight the first domino in this year’s NHL coaching carousel has fallen, and it was definitely a surprising one.
(photo via calgaryherald.com)
Now 3 days from the NHL draft, rumours are flying around and it’s hard to tell which ones are real and which ones are started by an “NHL Rumours” twitter account with 300 followers.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the bigger rumours that have been tossed around in the last 48 hours:
(photo via www.thehockeynews.com)
Vancouver reporter Ben Kuzma was on TSN 1040 on Monday and made some very interesting comments on Travis Hamonic. Weird right? A Vancouver reporter has a rumour on a Islanders player and links him to the Oilers.
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
The brackets are filled and the most exciting time of the year is just around the corner. The first round of the playoffs, where you get 4 hard hitting, fast paced games every night. The match-ups this year are all very intriguing, so here are the four guys from BTI to take you a little bit deeper and give you their predictions.
(ranking are based on where they are in conference standings)
Washington Capitals (1) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
Tyler Yaremchuk: Washington might have a history of choking, but this should be a series they walk through. It concerns me that Washington hasn’t had a must win game all year and Philly has been essentially playing playoff hockey for months now. Washington is just too deep, have a great goalie as well as one of the best coaches in the game. Washington in 5.
Taylor Paniccia: Out of the three teams that were battling for those last two spots in the Eastern Conference race I believe the Capitals got the toughest matchup in the Flyers. That been said I don’t think the Flyers can beat a well-rounded Presidents Trophy team in the Capitals. Holtby is at a level no other goalie has touched this season and the Capitals offence is just too overpowered. Capitals in 5 games.
Josh Goodings: Washington in 5
Niti Krasniqi: Washington Capitals in 6.
BTI PREDICTS: Capitals in 5 is the consensus.
Tampa Bay Lightning (6) vs Detroit Red Wings (8)
Tyler Yaremchuk: This one is the least interesting out of all of the playoff series in my mind. I like Tampa Bay’s goaltending and back end more, even without Stralman. Drouin will also play a huge role in this series, if he shows up and plays well then it gives Tampa some really good secondary scoring. The Lightning had a better GA/60 in the regular season, while the Wings have a healthier forward group. Its Tampa’s goaltending vs Detroit’s offense in my opinion. I’ll take Tampa Bay to win this one is 7 seven games.
Taylor Paniccia: The Detroit Red Wings will expose a beat up Tampa Bay team and take them down in the first round even though they just barely squeaked in to keep the longest playoff streak record alive at 25 years. This is also Datsyuk’s going away party which means fortune could be in their favour. Wings in 7 games.
Josh Goodings: Tampa Bay in 6.
Niti Krasniqi: Tampa Bay in 5.
BTI PREDICTS: Tampa in 6 is our decision on this one.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs New York Rangers (4)
Tyler Yaremchuk: Pittsburgh is hot. That second line of Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel has been one of the best lines in hockey as of late. I really like the Rangers forward group, but with no McDonough their defense is suspect. Lundqvist could steal this thing, but word is Fleury could be ready for game 1 so goaltending should not be heavily favoured to either team. This really should be one of the most entertaining series from. These teams have both had really good regular seasons and know how to score goals. They rank 3/4 in GF% at 5v5. But in terms of possession the advantage goes to the Pens and it isn’t even close. Pittsburgh is top 3 in both SF% as well as CF%. Pittsburgh has that ability to dominate games and I don’t see that with the Rangers. Penguins in 6.
Taylor Paniccia: A great first round Eastern Conference matchup. The Penguins are hotter than ever and so is Sidney Crosby and when Sidney Crosby is hot the rest of the team feeds off it and produces as well. With great depth players the Pittsburgh Penguins will knock out a big, fast, New York Rangers hockey club in the first round. Penguins in 6 games.
Josh Goodings: Pittsburgh in 7
Niti Krasniqi: Fleury is concussed and a little shaky. Lundqvist could steal this one even though Pittsburgh has a better team. Rangers in 7.
BTI PREDICTS: We can’t agree here either, but Pittsburgh in 7 is our democratic choice.
Florida Panthers (3) vs New York Islanders (5)
Tyler Yaremchuk: No Halak, a beat up forward group and Hamonic isnt 100%. Florida is young and should have a lot of energy going into this series. Luongo has been great all season and Gerard Gallant has this team going every night. Florida has one of the easiest paths to the Eastern Conference Finals and they really deserve to be there. The Panthers start their run with a 4 game sweep of the Isles.
Taylor Paniccia: The Florida Panthers have a veteran netminder in Roberto Luongo who has been there done that. While I think the Florida Panthers fluked through most of the season I like this matchup for them against a weak Islanders roster. With Halak out look for the Islanders to be out as well. Panthers in 6 games.
Josh Goodings: Panthers in 7.
Niti Krasniqi: Florida in 7.
BTI PREDICTS: Panthers in 6 games in our choice.
LISTEN TO THE OVERTIME PODCAST PLAYOFF PREVIEW HERE: