Puck Daddy - NHL

In which your friends from Puck Daddy and Puck Daddy Radio on The Score Sirius 98 select the winners for Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can see their picks for Round 1 and the Stanley Cup Finals here.

Greg Wyshynski, Editor, Puck Daddy

Washington Capitals in 6
Philadelphia Flyers in 7
Vancouver Canucks in 6
San Jose Sharks in 7

The Capitals pick is made on the assumption that they learned a bit about protecting the puck in their Round 1 win, because the Lightning have slightly more dangerous offensive weapons than Brain Boyle and Brandon Prust(notes). Dwayne Roloson's(notes) going to have a couple of games behind the force field, but the Capitals are made of sterner stuff than in previous postseasons. They'll endure it.

The Flyers vs. Boston Bruins rematch should provide us with drama, intense physical play and remedial power play time (unless Pronger can kick-start the Flyers). Bottom line: I think the Flyers have gamers up front (Danny Briere(notes), Conn Smythe favorite) and on the blue line, and I saw too much of the Bruins undermining their own success with stupidity in Round 1. They were my pick out of the East; I don't think they survive Philly. This series will go as long as Claude Giroux(notes) wants it to.

The Canucks are going to find an offensively liberated Ryan Kesler(notes), a rejuvenated Roberto Luongo(notes) and a Nashville Predators team ready to win ugly in Round 2. The balance in the Predators' scoring is impressive, and Pekka Rinne(notes) will be better (one assumes). But Vancouver showed in Game 7 against Chicago what happens when it commits to playing well in its own zone and cranks up the forecheck, which it will at least four times in this series.

Finally, the Red Wings are going to have Henrik Zetterberg(notes) and Johan Franzen(notes) back, and are rested following their first-round sweep. The Sharks, meanwhile, had a chaotic and tiring series vs. the Kings. Recipe for defeat? Nah. The Sharks have better scoring depth than Detroit and, in this series, I predict better goaltending. It'll go long, but the Sharks will go to the conference finals. Better chance of happening: Thornton scoring another OT goal or us getting through this series without at least one War Room controversy?

Sean Leahy, Associate Editor, Puck Daddy

Washington in 6
Boston in 6
Vancouver in 6
San Jose in 7

While they might not be the flashy Capitals we were used to watching, Bruce Boudreau's new system is effective and their dispatching of the New York Rangers in five games was proof that it can work in the postseason when games get tighter. The Lightning will come into the series with some momentum after their seven game series with Pittsburgh, but the Caps are on a mission this spring. Tampa's scoring depth will give them a fighting chance and watch out if Steven Stamkos(notes) hops on Martin St. Louis'(notes) scoring train in the series.

The Bruins have been my pick in the East since September and might as well keep riding them. Does Claude Julien need to inspire any further motivation in his club as they prepare for the Philadelphia Flyers? Like the Vancouver Canucks eventually exercised their Chicago Blackhawks demon, the ghosts of last season's second round and the historic 0-3 comeback by the Flyers should motivate the Bruins enough to get by Philly. Zdeno Chara(notes) and Milan Lucic(notes) have been quiet and how long can that last? And while the Bruins' power play is dead last at 0-for-21 (someone worse than Pittsburgh Penguins? really?), even if it continues to struggle against the Flyers, even just scoring one or two goals with the extra man, it could pay huge dividends.

Like the Bruins, Vancouver was my pick in the West to not just win the conference, but win the Stanley Cup. Now that they've finally gotten over that Blackhawks hump, can Roberto Luongo and friends finally move on? They should be able to. We know the talent in their lineup, but Nashville will put up a fight. They've finally tasted the second round and Pekke Rinne still hasn't played up to his Vezina Trophy-caliber season, which should scare the bejesus out of the Canucks. But in the end, the relief of getting past Chicago should help awaken that lineup and get their minds right enough to make a deep run at the Cup.

San Jose and Detroit met at this time last year and it was the Sharks who advanced after winning the series 4-1. Another roll over? Likely not. Just when you want to count the Wings out, they regenerate and get stronger. Speaking of getting stronger, Henrik Zetterberg should be back and Johan Franzen will be rested after Detroit got plenty of time off after sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes. Both teams are getting balanced scoring and if Antti Niemi(notes) will be the key for the Sharks. He can't afford bad goals against Detroit. Same goes for Jimmy Howard(notes) who breezed through Phoenix. San Jose can bring the firepower and dramatics. Plus, Joe Thornton(notes) scored an overtime winner, that's gotta be a sign of the apocalypse, right?

Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy Columnist

Washington in 6
Boston in 7
Vancouver in 5
San Jose in 7

Washington had little trouble dispatching the Rangers, and Tampa had a lot of trouble downing the injury-hobbled Pens, so that's easy. Boston certainly had better goaltending and defense than Philly, and it seems as though the offense would have done better against Montreal had a Bobrovsky/Leighton/Boucher-quality goaltender been in net.

Vancouver is still Vancouver, having exorcised whatever demons yet remained, and it's hard to see the Preds all of a sudden becoming a Chicago-level boogeyman, especially because their leading scorer in the playoffs was Mike Fisher(notes). And concerns about the goaltending aside, it just seems like the Sharks are a better team than Detroit, as they were last year.

Dmitry Chesnokov, Puck Daddy Senior Writer

Washington in 6
Philadelphia in 7
Vancouver in 7
Detroit in 6

These Washington Capitals now have the playoff experience, playing alongside each other for some years now. What Steve Yzerman was able to achieve with the Bolts this year was, in my opinion, predictable, because of who Steve Yzerman is.  But that playoff experience and chemistry is on the Caps' side in this series.

I think the Flyers are getting used to playing without paying too much attention to who is in goal for them. They used three starters in the previous series, and this trend will likely continue.  The Bruins will surely want to take the revenge for last season's epic meltdown in the playoffs against these Flyers.  But I think the Flyers will come out on top again, especially if Pronger is as little as 50 percent effective.

I picked the Red Wings to go all the way this year before the playoffs started. With the returns of Franzen and especially Zetterberg for the second round, the Red Wings will be even better.  Sure, they're showing their age, especially in the third period of virtually every game, but they usually do enough in the first two to win the game.

Just as with the Bolts, the Predators don't have enough playoff winning experience having won just their first playoff series. The Canucks are drained after their series against Chicago, and the Predators will surely give them the run for their money. But in the end, the Canucks will likely come out on top.  Although this series could definitely go either way.

Justin Bourne, Puck Daddy Columnist

Washington in 5
Boston in 7
Vancouver in 6
Detroit in 7

Aside from the team I picked to win the Cup (Vancouver), two teams look considerably scarier than I gave them credit for heading into playoffs, mostly because I think I keep waiting for them to stop being so damn good at some point: Detroit and Washington.

They're still herrrreeeeee.

The call on the Washington series being short isn't a knock on Tampa, I just really think Washington isn't messing around this year.  From day one their focus has been on playoffs -- they'll have the war machine dialed to KILL.

The good news for the Canucks is that San Jose looks pretty darn terrific too (I'm really, really torn on my pick), so it looks likely that the Wings and Sharks can beat each other up and get softened up by the time the conference finals roll around.

Really, I could write some glowing review for all the remaining teams — I'm a big fan of "chalk," and the fact that we have the top six teams from the regular season (with two five seeds!) is going to make for some spectacular battles.

The David's of the NHL have all perished, and we're about to see some Goliath vs. Goliath heavyweight tilts.  "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!??"

Rob Pizzo, Co-Host, Puck Daddy Radio

Washington in 5
Boston in 6
Vancouver in 6
Detroit in 7

So the main question is, did one of the craziest series in playoff history help or hurt the best team in the NHL? While I believe the Preds will win Game 1 in a classic "letdown" game, I'm not changing my pick for the Cup. Use whatever cliché you want (monkey off back, exercised demons, etc), the Canucks finally beat Chicago, and I think they will use that momentum the rest of the way.

In the East, the Caps used their new defensive style to keep games low scoring, and they may be able to shut down the Lightning's offense. Also, Tampa just played three straight elimination games, and that takes more out of you than arguing with Wysh on Puck Daddy Radio.

As far as the Smythe goes, the twins hardly were the reason Vancouver won their 1st round series. Daniel does have five goals and a big series will put him right back in contention.

I'm sticking to my guns!

Stanley Cup Finals: Canucks vs. Capitals
Stanley Cup Champions: Canucks
Conn Smythe: One of the two guys who shared a womb.

Erin Nicks, Puck Daddy Columnist

Boston in 7
Washington in 7
Vancouver in 6
Detroit in 6

I'm still trying to believe in the Bruins -- it would be a lot easier to keep the faith if they could get their PP out of the starting gate. Boston went 0-for-21 in their round with Montreal, and are the second team in NHL history to win a seven-game series without scoring on the man-advantage. (The first, strangely enough, was also the Bruins, who lost a seven-game tilt in the 1952 semi-finals.) I fully expect the Flyers to push them to the limit. Meanwhile,

Washington takes a cue from the Canucks by exorcising their own demon, and will benefit from the rest achieved by quickly finishing off the Rangers. This may possibly allow Mike Knuble(notes) to return in this series sooner than expected. Of course, if the Capitals can't find an answer for Martin St. Louis, I'll live to regret this pick.

Vancouver appears ready to take the next step -- they will continue to roll. San Jose, however, showed a fair amount of difficulty in dispatching what was supposed to be an easy out against the Kings. Bad things happen when Antti Niemi is unable to keep his composure. As for up front, only one Sharks name appears in the top-30 playoff point-scorers thus far: Ryane Clowe(notes). They will not beat the Red Wings if they aren't firing on all cylinders.

Dobber, Puck Daddy Fantasy Hockey Columnist

Washington in 5
Boston in 7
Vancouver in 7
San Jose in 6

I like how the pieces are falling into place for Washington, and I while I believe that Tampa Bay has a great foundation and have built a winning culture, this year is too soon. I also get the feeling that Boston is going to have one of those postseason runs. You know, where every round is with their backs against the wall, going to seven games, eking out the win in overtime.

If I were to pick an upset this round, it would be Nashville. But I don't have the balls so I'll just take the weaselly way out by saying things like, "If I were to pick an upset this round, it would be Nashville." That way, if they win I could say "Hey, I said that!" And if they lose I could say "I picked Vancouver anyway." Awesome.

Detroit is too banged up and San Jose is getting so much from their second and third lines that the Sharks will win.

Matt Barr, Stat Nerd

That was quite a first round.  To help inform my second round picks, I put on my horn-rimmed glasses and inserted my pocket protector and took a look at how each of the eight remaining playoff teams had done against the better teams this last regular season: Against other playoff qualifiers, and then against the other seven first-round victors.

Then I picked team names out of a propeller beanie.

Tampa Bay over Washington in 7

These are a couple of pretty evenly-matched teams, no matter how you look at them.  Here's how you look at their records against playoff teams:

Tampa has given up 3.13 goals per game against other playoff qualifiers, and get this, that includes five shutouts.  So in 35 non-shutouts, you're looking at 3.57 goals per game. Dwayne Roloson had best be paying attention during this series.

But anyway, other than the goals against, the Bolts and Caps look pretty similar against good teams, as well as against one another.  So why the edge to the Lightning? I'm still going with the theory that the Caps will get the yips when adversity strikes. They may eventually make me stop going with that theory, maybe starting this round.

Boston over Philadelphia in 5

Philly's record against playoff qualifiers is funky, 21-15-7 despite being outscored overall.  There's more separation between the two in favor of the Bruins when you look at just the other second-rounders:

Both teams squeaked by inferior opposition in the first round, one with an all-world goalie and one with no actual goalie that we are aware of.  That, and the aftertaste from last year's epic collapse, ought to make the B's the class of this series. I am also confident that Coach Julien, unlike, maddeningly, Lindy Ruff, will be aware of where Danny Briere sets up relative to the net on every single sustained Flyers possession in the offensive zone, and cause his defensemen to make him not be there anymore.

Nashville over Vancouver in 6

See? The Canucks didn't just pad their regular season record against cupcakes. However, Nashville was just as productive in the face of good opposition:

I don't think the proposition that the Predators were more impressive in their first-round series than the Canucks were is very contentious, and I also don't think I'm out of line suggesting Nashville's goalie is a notch or two better than Vancouver's. I foresee a hard-fought split in Vancouver, a couple Nashville squeakers, and then two wins by the home teams. Smashville advances. Shea Weber's(notes) RFA offer sheet grows.

Detroit over San Jose in 5

Here we finally have an obvious advantage on the part of one team over its opponent in its regular season record against the better teams:

The Sharks worked harder to earn their impressive first-round win, and as talented as they've been for so many years, you have to figure that one of these years they're not going to trip up on their way to the Final.  And you have to keep figuring that. Detroit is in championship mode.  I do not believe them stoppable.

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