Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Puck Daddy

Puck Daddy’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2 Staff Prognostications

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild
.

View photo

Apr 21, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Fans celebrate after Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund (64) scored the game-winning goal in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche in game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Avalanche 1-0 in overtime. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s Round 2 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the law of diminishing returns tells us that it’ll be much less fun than Round 1!

Still, there are some great matchups in the division final round – that’s what they’re calling it these days, right? – including one historic rivalry, one battle of California, one Patrick Division throwback and one involving the Minnesota Wild.

Who wins Round 2? Our expert panelists, many of whom got Round 1 completely wrong, will tell you! Featured here are Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy editor; Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy editor; Harrison Mooney, Puck Daddy editor; Jen Neale, Puck Daddy editor; Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Puck Daddy fantasy hockey columnist; Nick Cotsonika, Yahoo Sports hockey columnist.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Series

Greg Wyshynski

Sean Leahy

Harrison Mooney

Jen Neale

Dobber

Nick Cotsonika

Ryan Lambert

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens

BOS in 7

BOS in 6

BOS in 6

BOS in 5

BOS in 5

BOS in 6

BOS in 5

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

PIT in 6

PIT in 6

PIT in 7

PIT in 6

NYR in 6

NYR in 7

NYR in 6

Greg Wyshynski: It’s possible the Bruins just turn on the steam roller, but we have a feeling the Habs take one in Boston and two at Bell Centre. But they fall short in the end. As for the Penguins, I can’t see how an offensively challenged Rangers team takes out Pittsburgh, assuming Sidney Crosby breaks out.

Sean Leahy: It's going to to be a rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Final as the Pens will continue to ride the Marc-Andre Fleury roller coaster long enough to get by the Rangers in six games. 

Pittsburgh averaged 3.5 goals per game against Columbus and that's with James Neal limited to one, Sidney Crosby failing to score and Evgeni Malkin waiting until Game 6 to open his playoff account. New York comes in with the second-best playoff defense (2.29 goals per game), but can they hold off the Penguins' offense over the course of seven games?

Habs/Bruins promises some splendid goaltender and lots of hatred on the ice and in the press box. Things are insufferable already, so once the games begin Thursday night, it'll only get worse. 

The Canadiens took advantage of a young Lightning team and quickly dispatched them in four games, thanks to big contributions from Brendan Gallagher and Rene Bourque. Facing the Bruins and trying to produce with Patrice Bergeron on the ice will be a different story for Montreal. Same for Tomas Plekanec as he attempts to keep David Krejci, who was quiet in Round 1, off the scoresheet.

No matter what happens in this series, you can probably guarantee there will be one giant flashpoint; either a controversial goal or a suspension-causing hit that will influence what direction this series goes.

Harrison Mooney: Bruins/Habs is going to be an all-out war. It's that simple. The Canadiens will likely come close, just because when these two teams meet, everything gets sort of silly, but in the end, they're simply not as good.

I'm not sold on the Penguins. I don't know how you can be. They're unbelievably top-heavy, and not just because Crosby and Malkin are such big pieces, but because they're depth is so shallow. Worse, their goaltending could go pear-shaped on them at any time. It's really unfair that we even have to make playoff picks when the Penguins are around, because you just can't predict what you're going to get out of them.

They're beatable. But I'm not sure the Rangers will be the ones to beat them. New York struggled to defend the Flyers' best guys at times in Round 1, and my thought is, if they can't handle Giroux and co., Crosby and co., who are due, are going to put up enough points to get through.

Jen Neale: All the series look like locks except for the Ducks and Kings.

Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs: With St. Louis out, the Bruins may be the best team left. On paper. But the difference between the Blues and the Bruins is the recent ring. Boston should still be standing in Round 4 let alone Round 3. Because I still trust Marc-Andre Fleury about as far as I can throw him. After a rough start, the Rangers have been flying this season. If they only had a proven 40-goal scorer, they would waltz past the Penguins in four. Oh wait - they do have one? Is he injured or something?

Nick Cotsonika: The Canadiens have two ways to get the Bruins off their game: stupidity and speed. If the Habs can make the Bruins focus on something other than hockey, if they can outskate them and create offense, they have a chance. But can they do it well enough to win four times in seven games? The Rangers are the better possession team. They don’t have Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, but they have balance. They have Henrik Lundqvist in goal vs. Marc-Andre Fleury. And winning in seven games is what they do.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Series

Greg Wyshynski

Sean Leahy

Harrison Mooney

Jen Neale

Dobber

Nick Cotsonika

Ryan Lambert

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild

CHI in 6

CHI in 5

CHI in 5

CHI in 5

CHI in 5

CHI in 5

CHI in 4

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings

LA in 5

LA in 5

LA in 5

ANA in 7

ANA in 7

LA in 6

LA in 5

Greg Wyshynski: The Wild’s goaltending questions have me worried, even if they handled the Hawks this regular season. Toews, Kane and Keith prove too much. The Kings are in juggernaut mode right now, and that’s bad news for the Ducks.

Sean Leahy: In another rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Final, the Kings and Blackhawks will dance past their semifinal match-ups and meet again. After falling behind 0-3 to the Sharks, the Kings got better as the series wore on and handed San Jose four regulation losses in a row for this first time this season. Jonathan Quick is in full playoff mode after a slow start and LA is getting balanced scoring from almost everyone. Bruce Boudreau and the Ducks may have gotten a wakeup call from the Stars in Round 1, but there's no room for error against their next opponent.

The Wild persevered and overcame four 1-goal deficits in Game 7 against the Avalanche to move on. They now face the defending champs with the possibility of Ilya Bryzgalov being their no. 1 in net from here on out. Minnesota has the potential to be a "Cinderella" here, but the net issue figures to be a problem against the Blackhawks. They'll likely put a scare in Chicago early on, but will ultimately fall short.

Harrison Mooney: For the Kings to get out of the Pacific, they had to get past the Sharks. They did that. I suspect they'll have a lot less trouble with Anaheim, who can't run with them the way San Jose could. The Kopitar line has emerged as the best defensive line in the West, and they should be able to handle Getzlaf and Perry. The Kings are stronger through the rest of the roster. Jonathan Quick is an upgrade on Anaheim in net. Drew Doughty is the best defenceman in the series. Don't let the seeding fool you. This one's not close.

It was a shame that one of San Jose and Los Angeles had to go home in the first round. It was an equal shame that one of Minnesota and Colorado had to advance. Both of those teams were first-round fodder for the West's elite, but they drew one another, and thus, got a winnable series. There are no more of those left. The Blackhawks are superior to the Wild in every way, and after finding their game against the Blues, I expect them to roll over Minnesota in short order.

Jen Neale: The season series went 4-0-1 in favor of the Ducks. It's going to come down to goaltending. Can Jonathan Quick maintain his awesome play from the last four games? The Ducks abundance of riches in net has backfired into a question-mark. If the Ducks can stifle the Kings new-found ability to score, they've got a good shot at taking the first ever Battle of Southern California.

Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs: Very impressed with how the Blackhawks came back against the Blues. They took down a team that was, in my mind, built perfectly from top to bottom. Chicago showed a lot of poise and they showed why they won two Cups recently. Battling in the second round against a team still playing musical goalies should be far easier. Duck/Kings is the series that I think will be the best of the second round. I don't like how Jonathan Quick started the last series, but much like Chicago - the Kings showed a lot of 'been there, done that' mentality. A will to win. So I can't count them out. And Anaheim is another team still playing musical goalies. Geez, I'm talking myself out of my pick here...

Nick Cotsonika: The Kings won four straight to beat the Sharks, who were legit contenders, even if they will be remembered as chokers. This team won the Cup just two years ago, and the formula is the same — control the puck, trust in Jonathan Quick. The Blackhawks beat the Wild in five games in the first round last year, and there is no reason to think they won’t mop up Minnesota in similar fashion in the second round here. The Wild has more depth than it did last year, but the Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions, have far more firepower. Corey Crawford is on his game again, too.

Ryan Lambert: Every one of these series has the potential to get ugly. I'm not sure how anyone sees a way out of this for Montreal, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, or Anaheim. The only one that should be remotely competitive is New York/Pittsburgh, but if the Rangers had any kind of luck on special teams against Philadelphia, this matchup would be viewed very differently. Everything else should be a bloodbath.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (104)