Oh Hayden, you’re awesome.
2nd Round Matchups
Anaheim vs LA
This will be a physical, exciting series. LA is coming off 4 straight W’s to stun a very solid San Jose team, and Anaheim is coming off a late, 2-goal, Game 6 comeback OT win to knock off Dallas. Both squads are resilient. They’re virtually in the same city. I think Anaheim is really good, but LA is just hot right now. And Jonathan Quick is Jonathan Quick.
LA in 6
Chicago vs Minnesota
Minnesota is gritty. Chicago has serious firepower and the toughest D-core in the league. I think the games will be close, I think each one will be a battle, but I think Chicago will just be too much for Minny. And Kaner. Nearly impossible to bet against Kaner. (greatest goal celly ever?)
Chicago in 5
Boston vs Montreal
Fascinating, fascinating series. One of the oldest and most passionate rivalries in hockey, if not sports. Boston is the undisputed best team of the regular season; the most points, the Presidents Trophy, the most consistent. The only thing against them is that they’re in the — widely considered — weaker Eastern Conference, which isn’t their fault. However, Montreal had the B’s number this year, taking the season series 3-1. I think most are predicting Boston in a hotly contested, tight, physical series.
I think Boston is the better team, but my gut tells me the Habs are going to pull this out. Maybe Price stealing a couple games; maybe several posts from the B’s; maybe Lucic gets multiple 5-minute-majors for ball spearing. Who knows. But I think we’re all seeing this as a tight one.
Montreal in 7
Pittsburgh vs New York Rangers
It’s tough to bet against a team that has the best player in the world and, quite possibly, the second best player in the world. Crosby and Malkin are absolute game-changers, and they’ve won a Cup recently (2009) and seriously contended for several others. Letang seemed to be back to his previous Norris Trophy Finalist form in Pittsburgh’s Game 6 in Columbus. If his game continues on that path and Fluery isn’t awful, Pittsburgh looks good. Like when Tiger hits fairways and makes putts; you just can’t beat him.
But they haven’t been particularly consistent, and I think New York is a better team than Columbus. They play a similar game in a lot of ways; gritty, well-rounded, physical. Hank could easily steal a few games and St. Louis and Nash could easily heat up. I think this is the most versatile series, but the Rangers have Dom Moore and I (with a hint of a bias) love Dom Moore.
New York in 7