NHL Playoff Picks 2016: Round Two

Maybe next year, Bobby.

More goalies, more possession numbers, and some bonus cheating (I do honestly think the teams that won the two Game 1s that already happened will win the series).

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay/New York Islanders: Tampa is the defending Eastern Conference champions and is even without Stamkos and Stralman the better overall team, but it’s close (the Islanders were the 100-point team of the two, for any traditionalists).  The Lightning are the better possession team and Bishop has the better track record, which would normally mean Tampa, but I’m relying on Greiss (.941, 1.94 with a Game 1 win) and Tavares (18.8% shooting through Game 1, which won’t last, but career 13.2% overall and 15.5% playoffs) to remain hot.  Islanders in six.

Washington/Pittsburgh: Yes, the Penguins will score more than the Flyers, but Murray-or-Fleury will probably allow more than Neuvirth.  I’m expecting one-goal games in this series, but not a full seven of them.  Ovi’s revenge will be Caps in five.

Western Conference

Dallas/St. Louis: One of these teams has a goalie who led the league in SV% (.930) this past season and has been mostly amazing for five years (.925, 2.01, 25 shutouts).  The other has Kari Lehtonon and Antti Niemi.  The Stars’ offense is good, but not that good.  Blues in five.

San Jose/Nashville: Pekka Rinne (.915) and Martin Jones (.912) were more or less even in Round 1, depending on what you think of the quality of their competition (I think the Kings were probably better than Anaheim up front, though I picked the Ducks but not the Kings to win).  The Sharks’ power play was very good in the regular season (3rd-ranked, with a league-leading 62 goals) and has been even better in the playoffs, and I think they’re the better team overall in a matchup against a Predators team without the one differencemaker (c.f. John Tavares) they would need to neutralize that.  Sharks in five.


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