#1 Washington Capitals vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning
Capitals win series 4-2
After beating the New York Rangers four games to one in the first round of the NHL playoffs, the Capitals showed off a new defensive look that has never been seen before. Superstars like Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Semin have all bought into this defensive system which was implemented by coach Bruce Boudreau. With good goal tending in Neuvirth and one of the best forwards in the NHL, the Caps look to roll over the Bolts. The Lightning had to hold onto their star goalie Dwayne Roloson to beat the fragile Penguins in a game seven. The Lightning have a balanced offense with St. Louis, Stamkos, Gange, and Lecavalier but even with this strong offensive presence the Lightning will still fall short in this series.
#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #3 Boston Bruins
Flyers win series 4-3
The Philadelphia Flyers for some reason or another always seem to win in the playoffs. For the Flyers, it does not matter who is in between the pipes because they always manage to light up the score board. With playoff experience, the Flyers know what it takes to win. Danny Briere is going to be the key to offensive success for the Flyers. Even though 8 different players have scored for the Flyers in the first round, which illustrates their offensive depth, Briere is the key factor. The Bruins on the other hand just had one of the toughest series against their rival the Montreal Canadians. The Bruins are going to need to match up to the physicality of the Flyers which I am sure they can do. With Tim Thomas in net, anything is possible but if the Flyers were able to light up Ryan Miller I believe they will do the same to Thomas. Despite the goalie issues in Philly, the Flyers will find a way to advance.
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs #5 Nashville Predators
Canucks win series 4-2
Despite accumulating the most points this season, the Canucks let a 3-0 lead slip into a game seven against the defending Stanley Cup Champions the Chicago Blackhawks. After winning a thriller in overtime, the Canucks advanced but barely. Even though they almost lost in that game seven, I believe the Canucks will come out with something to prove against the Predators. With the Sedin twins leading the way, scoring should not be a problem even when facing a stellar goalie in Pekka Rinne. Luongo on the other hand, showed he can be a little shaky, but after his game seven performance he is back to his old self. The Predators do have hard working tough players in Shea Webber, Mike Fisher, David Legwand, and Jordin Tootoo but the Canucks will prove to be too much for Tootoo and his Predators. If the third line plays the way they have been playing for the Predators, they have a shot to give the Canucks another scare.
#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #3 Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings win series 4-3
San Jose will be looking to send home the Wings for the second straight season starting with game one tomorrow night. The rested Red Wings will be looking to keep their winning ways up against the Sharks after sweeping the Yotes. The key factor to this series is going to be ability of the Red Wings to control the puck, Datsyuk and his gang. Datsyuk, arguably one of the best professional hockey players in the world will have to put everything on the ice during this series to defeat the Sharks. With Franzen coming back healthy,that will certainly help the Red Wings in this series but with a questionable Zetterberg, role players on the Wings will need to step up big time this series. The San Jose Sharks have maybe one of the most dynamic offenses in the playoffs. If they want to send the Wings packing, they will need to light up the lamp quite often to keep the Wings from advancing.
Written by Connor Healey