NHL 2014 Playoff Picks: Round Two

Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Los Angeles/Anaheim: The Battle of California becomes a lot more bloodless. The Kings were the NHL’s best regular season possession team (56.7% Fenwick close); the Sharks were third and the Ducks were fifteenth. The Ducks were also the worst possession team to win the last round (43.6%, ahead of only Columbus and Colorado and somehow beating Dallas, who was third). With Jonathan Quick back on track (94/96 saves the past three games), this won’t be a long series. Kings in five.

Chicago/Minnesota: A Bryzygalov/Curry goaltending tandem. It’s doubtful anyone other than the Kings could beat Chicago in the West at this point, but really. Blackhawks in four.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

New York Rangers/Pittsburgh: The Rangers were my preseason pick from the East the past two seasons, plus Vigneault, Lundqvist, and the sixth best possession team in the regular season vs. the 16th, and Benoit Pouliot. I’m tempted to pick the Penguins anyway because PittsburghNew York, and the Rangers seem old and tired (although the Penguins are older by almost a year and a half on average), and Crosby/Malkin. But I won’t. Rangers in six.

Boston/Montreal: True, the Habs have won 24 of 33 playoff series dating back to 1880 or so (tabernac!) and they won Game 1 last night (running the now 37-year old Chara out against them for 32:25 as a bonus), but I think the Bruins have enough to outlast them, beginning but not ending with Rask (who is now .932, 2.05 with 4 shutouts in almost 2700 career playoff minutes). Also: Boston was the fourth best possession team in the regular season; the Habs were 22nd. Bruins in seven. But beware the Zürcher!

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