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Puck Daddy’s 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinal Staff Prognostications

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In which your friends from Puck Daddy and Marek Vs. Wyshynski select the winners for Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Our terrible, terrible Cup picks are here.

Greg Wyshynski, Editor

Capitals in 6
Flyers in 5

Blues in 7
Predators in 6

Huzzah! I picked the Blues to come out of the West, and the Blues are still alive! Pretty much no one else I picked is, but whatevs.

So I like the Blues in seven in a series that's bound to descend into nastiness. Home ice prevails. The Predators have too much depth for the Coyotes to handle, and haven't even played their best hockey yet. Unless Mike Smith swipes this, the Preds move on.

In the East, the Flyers' forecheck will wear down the Devils' defense quickly, while Bryzgalov actually excelled against the Devils in the regular season (.987 save percentage!). They'll make short work of Jersey. The Capitals are a different team than the playoff flops of the past, and they've beaten Lundqvist before. They advance to their first conference final of the Ovechkin Era.

Sean Leahy, Associate Editor

Rangers in 6
Flyers in 6

Blues in 7
Predators in 7

Good to see the Patrick Division is alive and well. In the East, we're sticking with the Rangers to continue their march to the Final. The Caps have a chance if Braden Holtby keeps playing like he's been, but the Rangers will be able to clamp down defensively and should their offense sputter, Henrik Lundqvist can carry them through.

Ilya Bryzgalov was phenomenal against New Jersey during the regular season, but he and the Flyers' defense were only overshadowed by the Pittsburgh Penguins' ineptness at keeping the puck out of their own net. They have the offense, we know that, and Peter Laviolette will fix those opening round defensive flaws before they face the Devils.

How great will the goaltending be out West? I'm fully expecting seven 1-0 games between the Blues and Kings. While Jonathan Quick will keep the Kings in this series like he's done for LA all season long, the Blues will continue their stifling defense and win every game 1-0.

The key in Phoenix-Nashville will be special teams. The Coyotes have been good on the PP and PK compared to the Predators. If Nashville can keep out of the box and take advantage of a power play or two, they'll eek their way through to the Western Conference Final.

Harrison Mooney, Associate Editor

Rangers in 6
Flyers in 5

Blues in 7
Predators in 6

Simply put, I don't think the Capitals have what it takes to get past the Rangers.

In the other Eastern Conference series, I'm not so sure that it wouldn't have been better for Marty Brodeur's legacy to go out in the first round. The Flyers are going to go at him the same way they went at Marc-Andre Fleury, and while the Devils are more defensive-minded than the Penguins, I don't think they'll be able to withstand the Flyers on full blast. Brodeur looked shaky in the first round against the Panthers. The Flyers could make him look like he needs to retire.

In the West, everything's a toss-up. We've got four, hard-working, defense-first teams and every one of these games could go into overtime locked in a scoreless tie. But I'll take the Predators and Blues to edge their opponents. The Coyotes will find Pekka Rinne much more difficult to beat in overtime than Corey Crawford, and the Blues are stronger up the middle than the Kings, in my opinion.

Dmitry Chesnokov, Senior Writer

Rangers in 6
Flyers in 6

Kings in 7
Predators in 6

Capitals' plan to get the Bruins tired and then strike late worked. It will be tougher to get the Rangers tired.  Lundqvist has a chance to be the difference maker and will probably be.  The Rangers are playing the Capitals for the third time in four years.  Third time lucky, as they say.

The Devils penalty kill was tested by the Panthers and didn't really work.  The Flyers are a lot more skilled in that component that the Panthers.  Besides, Bryzgalov's stats against the Devils in the regular season is one of the bright spots. If Brodeur plays like he did in OT in Game 7, this could go a long way though.

This series can go either way for sure, as we prepare for record overtimes and 24 hour games with the quality of goaltending on both sides.  Predators were very good against the Red Wings.  And Pekka Rinne is no Corey Crawford with all due respect.  Nashville should advance with the quality on their team.

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Ryan Lambert, Columnist

Rangers in 7
Flyers in 5

Blues in 6
Predators in 6

The Caps can obviously give the Rangers a fight but they aren't deep or well-coached enough to get past a New York team that's cavernous at every position and sticks to its systems better than all but one team still remaining. Meanwhile, Ilya Bryzgalov devours the Devils. Look it up.

Out West, St. Louis and Los Angeles will probably score about six goals between them all series, and Nashville is simply a better team than Phoenix. The former will be close, the latter won't.

Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, Fantasy Columnist

Nashville in 6
St. Louis in 5

Rangers in 7
Philadelphia in 4

The Preds are going to the Final. Both teams are well coached and have a strong defensive system that makes good goalies great. But Nashville has been doing it better for longer. And with all due respect to Ray Whitney, the only game breaker in this match-up is Alexander Radulov. And if Whitney has a problem with that, he can go see Shea Weber, standing over there by the turnbuckle boards.

Rangers in four...until I saw the Capitals play these last few weeks. As long as Braden Holtby holds up, this one will be tight. The Caps of old, which included the 60-goal version of Ovechkin, would take this one. The new Caps, in which Ovechkin is a checking-line energy player (tongue in cheek), I'm not so sure.

The Blues win in five games. Nine combined goals. Mark it.

The Flyers win in four games. Nine combined goals - each game. Mark it.

Kent Wilson, Columnist

Rangers in 6
Flyers in 5

Blues in 7
Predators in 7

In light of my terrible record through the first round, I probably should have just flipped a coin for my picks in round two.

Instead, I picked New York over Washington because I think Lundqvist will be the difference in that series. To round out the East, I think The Flyers offense will overwhelm the Devils.

In the West, the Blues should win the battle of the stingy defense/no offense over LA and Nashville will emerge victorious from the battle of the southern underdogs.

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Jeff Marek, host, Marek vs. Wyshynski

Rangers in 6
Flyers in 5

Blues in 6
Predators in 5

Welcome to the old NHL.

Yes, playoff faces may be new (only the Rangers and Flyers organizations have actually won Cups in their existence) but this second round will look closer to 2004 than 2012. Like up-tempo, skate-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, high scoring affairs? Try next door. We ain't got that here, son.

This next round (specifically in the Western Conference) will test your true mettle as a hockey fan. Wound tighter than a Billy Cobham snare drum, 6 of the 8 teams will lead with their goaltender, follow with their version of the trap, the left wing lock, the Peterborough Freeze or whatever it's being called these day and end with an attention to the specifics, detail and minutiae of shutting down shooting lanes and blocking shots that would even make Galileo blush.

Oh, except for the Philly/NJ series. Whichever teams goalie has the nerve to make a save in that one will probably win.

Elena Pagliarello, Producer, Marek vs. Wyshynski

Rangers in 6
Devils in 7

Blues in 6
Predators in 6

If we learned anything from the first round, it's that yes, Henrik Lundqvist can and will steal games for his team. Problem is, apparently so can Braden Holtby. The Rangers got tested more than they probably thought they would by the Senators, and if there's any way they get Brian Boyle back healthy at any point in the series they have to be the favourites. Although the Capitals seem to have bought what Dale Hunter is selling, I just don't know if Holtby can hold the fort and if the usual suspects will be allowed on the ice to even try to score.

I'm saying Devils not to try and curry favour with a certain blog editor/podcast host (although it doesn't hurt), but because Ilya Bryzgalov is Ilya Bryzgalov and there's (a creaking and aging) Martin Brodeur at the other end of the rink. While Giroux and Read and Couturier and Briere will get their goals, the Devils will be able to find a way to score as well. And lets face it, if it comes to a deciding game, Brodeur's still got to have the edge over the spacey one.

The Blues and Kings may be one of the lowest scoring series ever, even though the Kings, in theory, have more firepower to work with. Jonathan Quick has proved himself once again capable of winning 1-0 games, but I've got to stick with Brian Elliott and the Blues. Lets be honest here, really what it comes down to is whoever can score two goals in a game — LA has the potential, but if they haven't shown it by now why would offense suddenly appear in the next 48 hours?

When it comes to the Predators I have to admit I wasn't buying what David Poile was selling that this was Their Year. Well, I am now — Rinne has shown he's an all-world goalie and that defense can, legally or otherwise, handle whatever gets thrown at them. I fear that this could be one of those series that gets decided by one-goal games, and one goal games that are won in overtime. As exciting as that is to watch, these games could finish at 3 a.m. which isn't good for business in this business… so selfishly, I say come on Preds, score some damn goals!

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