The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are entering the second round. The first round, depending on who you cheered for, was extremely disappointing or gave you a mental chip on the shoulder. There were no game 7 playoff matches in the first round, but multiple games went into overtime for a sudden death victory.
The most surprising news from the first round of playoff matches were the Chicago Blackhawks’ exit. They had the best record in the Western Conference going 50-23-9. A majority of national news outlets and fans thought the Blackhawks were a shoo-in to the Western Conference Finals. However, the Hawks did not win a game against the Nashville Predators and they did not score a goal until game 3.
Chicago has already started on the reboot process by firing the head coach of their AHL affiliate team, the Rockford Icehogs. This will be an interesting off-season to see the moves Chicago will make to position themselves in a deep Stanley Cup run again.
Other unexpected series losses were: the Minnesota Wild losing to the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins losing to the Ottawa Senators. The Wild had the second best record and were a hot team entering the playoffs. They were no match for the Blues and their superb defense. Even though the Bruins had the manpower and enforcers to show physical might in a game, none of their goal scorers showed up. That series ended up being a walk in the park for the Senators and it didn’t help the Bruins there were some questionable calls from the referees.
Here are the match-ups for the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
(WC) New York Rangers vs. (2) Ottawa Senators
Both defenses has been a little shaky in the first round. In this series it will be the battle of the goaltenders. The Rangers Henrik Lundqvist or the Senators Craig Anderson will make all the difference.
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (2) Pittsburgh Penguins
The Capitals showdown against the Penguins is going to be legendary.
This will be the series to watch in the second round. Which superstar will outscore the other? Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby goals from the night before will be in our Twitter feed in the morning. That’s a given.
(WC) Nashville Predators vs. (3) St. Louis Blues
Both of these teams weren’t supposed to be here, but like a surprise birthday party; here they are. These teams have great defenses and that will be their downfalls. Whichever team’s blue-line to make a mistake will likely decide the game. Grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the action if smash-mouth hockey is your thing.
(1) Edmonton Oilers vs. (2) Anaheim Ducks
There is the Oilers who are full of young guns (Connor McDavid & Co.) looking to make their presence known, and that they’re the real deal. The Ducks are veterans hungry for another Cup to bring back to California. The Ducks core needs to win one more Cup to go out in style. These 2 wills are going to clash. Whichever team that can score first and avoid injuries is going to win.
To watch any of these games, they can be found on NBC and its subsidiary networks (NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, and NHL Network).