Thursday, April 26, 2012

Seasons in the Sun 2nd Round NHL Preview

If the 1st round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was not awesome enough, they are going to play another round.  The second round features many new faces, but some familiar foes.  The round will only feature one team from the original six, the New York Rangers.  The second round should be a blast though, so many close series.  Season in the Sun hopes to improve on our 4-4 record from the first round.

No messing around here though, let's get into some analysis about the teams, and the match-ups that we will be seeing in the next round.  If you are not familiar with the NHL playoff rules, all the series are 7 games in all rounds.  Also, what they do is that the bracket is always reloaded so that the highest seed team will play the lowest seed team.  What does that mean?  Well, you know March Madness, teams play in a bracket format when you could have a lower seed play a lower seed in the second round.  In the NHL, both lower seeds would be separated to play higher seeds, so you see the difference?

Let's start off in the Western Conference:

St. Louis Blues (2) vs Los Angeles Kings (8) - Can the Kings pull off another miracle upset?  Its going to be much harder, the Blues are playing very good hockey.  The Blues also have a coach, Hitchcock, that won a Stanley Cup when he was with the Dallas Stars.  He has really turned this franchise around, and they are playing at a very high level.  Both teams have great goal-tending, as we touched on this topic in the first round, Quick for the Kings, and Elliott or Halak for the Blues.  We here at Seasons in the Sun sadly think that it is time to start buying into the Blues.  The Blackhawks were also a #2 seed when they won the cup in 2010.  If the Blues win the Cup they would continue the trend of a Central Division team winning the Cup every two years.  Seasons in the Sun likes the Blues in 6.

Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs Nashville Predators (4) - Another series will great goal-tending, you have Mike Smith on Phoenix, and Rinne on the Predators.  It will make it really hard for the offenses to get going in this series.  This should be a very tight, and very close series; very low scoring as well.  Both teams have been in the playoffs, the last couple of years and have tasted defeat with younger players.  Both Weber for Nashville and Doan for Phoenix are getting toward the end of their careers in the NHL, and both will be gunning for the Cup.  Both are very skilled, and great team leaders.  This is the best Nashville team that they have had since the franchise started, the same can be said for the Coyotes since they moved from Winnipeg.  Season in the Sun likes the Predators in 7.

Eastern Conference:

New York Rangers (1) vs Washington Capitals (7) - This will be a hard series to handicap because like the last series, the Rangers look better on paper and should win the series.  The Washington Capitals are coming off a big upset, will we see an emotional letdown?  We think the same question could be asked of the New York Rangers.  The Rangers were one game away from having the best record in the NHL this year.  The Rangers style though has kept opponents in the game, which leaves them vulnerable to upsets and defeat.  We would like to think that the Capitals are better than Ottawa, and they have Alexander the Great.  Seasons in the Sun likes the Rangers in 7.

Philadelphia Flyers (5) vs New Jersey Devils (6) - The Flyers are coming off a 6 game series with the Pen-goons and the Devils are coming off a 7 game series against the Panthers.  The question has to be did the Flyers pick up any rust being off almost a week longer than the Devils.  We really like the Flyers right now at Seasons in the Sun.  Giroux has really stepped up his game, and his leadership for the Flyers this year.  The Devils while they are a great team, we just do not feel like they are on the Flyers level right now.  The Devils will have to cool off the NHL's hottest power-play in the playoffs.  I think the task is too much for the Devils.  Seasons in the Sun likes the Flyers in 5.

Well there you have it, hopefully it will go better than the .500 mark that we set in the first round.  Last Saturday, Seasons in the Sun watched 10 hours straight of NHL playoff hockey and it was great.  The day was capped off by a Toews aka Captain Serious goal in OT against the Coyotes.  I have been watching so much hockey that I am afraid that if the TSA is watching or tapping into my cable they might think that I am a Canadian immigrant living in the US.  Hahaha, that was a joke, have a great one!

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