Penguins in 5
In rallying to beat the top seeded Capitals after trailing three games to one, the Candiens needed a super human effort from Goalie Jaroslav Halak, who allowed just one goal in each of the final three games, while stopping 131 shots. If the Habs are to upset the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins, Halak will need to duplicate this feat. If he were to do that it will be the best two round performance in Stanley Cup history. Not that he can’t do it, but the ask will be even harder as the Penguins are finishers unlike the Capitals, winning the Cup and going to the Finals the year before you learn how to put teams away when you get ahead and that will make the difference here.
Red Wings in 6
For a team with a history of playoff disappointments like the Shark the last team they want to see on the opposite end of the ice is the Detroit Red Wings. Where the Sharks have strong regular seasons and can’t make it out of the second round, the Red Wings know nothing but success as they came within one game last season of winning a second straight Stanley Cup. These same Red Wings have been the best team in the NHL in the second half climbing from the ninth place on the playoff bubble to fifth place. The Wings have also won three of four from the Sharks, and you see the Sharks have a lot to overcome and for a team that always seems to fail in big spots it’s a near impossible task.
Bruins in 7
In beating the Devils, the Flyers were able to out-physical the Devils who at times were careless with the puck. The Bruins with the imposing Zdeno Chara will be much harder to push around. In addition the Flyers will be coming in with two key players limping after Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter sustained foot injuries, and the Bruins have allot of things in their favor. However, the Bruins goal scoring issues could be problematic as they often go under long dry spells, putting pressure on Goalie Tuukka Rask. Things could get better for the Bruins if Marc Savard who has not played since March 7th with a concussion can return and provide an emotional spark. This series can go either way but with Chara being the deciding factor give the edge to Boston.
Blackhawks in 7
Last season the Canucks came in the favorites when these two teams met in the second round as the Blackhawks rallied to win the final three games and win the series in six games. This season the Blackhawks will be the favorite, can the Canucks return the favor? Certainley these two teams can give each other problems as the Blackhawks have the top defensive player on the ice in Duncan Keith, with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews able to provide the scoring, while the Canucks having sccoring champ Henrik Sedin, who along with twin Daniel give the Canucks a dynamic duo that works with a unqiue telepathy. The Canucks are also strong on defense with Goalie Roberto Luongo, this series is a toss up, but in the end it will be the Blackhawks who surive a tough seven game battle thats to the home ice edge.