I am going to be (mostly) without internet access over the next week to 10 days so I figured I would post my thoughts on the playoffs so far now as well as some thoughts on the potential second round matchups.
Moving on: Ottawa, New Jersey
Carolina-Montreal and Buffalo-Philadelphia series are still yet to be decided but as of right now I think Carolina and Buffalo are looking in good shape to move on. If that happens Buffalo will play Ottawa and Carolina will play New Jersey. I like Buffalo and New Jersey to win in the second round in that scenario. Buffalo has too much talent and skilled depth up front and I think they will be able to poke holes in the defensive play of the bottom half of Ottawa’s defense and their young forwards. And I expect Miller to match or better the goaltending that Emery provides Ottawa. I would also expect New Jersey to continue their hot streak should they happen to play Carolina in the second round. As good as Cam Ward has been he is out classed by Brodeur and the Hurricanes defense will have fits with the speed and skill of Elias, Gionta and Gomez.
In the other potential scenarios Ottawa could play Montreal or Philadelphia and I would expect they would win either of those series fairly easily. The Devils would also likely beat Philly if they should meet but if the Devils and Sabres met in the second round we would be in for one dandy of a series. As good as New Jersey has been the Sabres could definitely give them a big challenge. I’d predict the Devils to win but it could go either way.
Moving on: Colorado, San Jose, Edmonton
If Calgary wins, and I expect they will, the second round series will be Calgary vs Edmonton and San Jose vs Colorado. I think San Jose would defeat Colorado relatively easily but the Calgary-Edmonton series would be a hard fought battle that either team could win. These rivalry series are always hard to predict because you never know how each team will react to all the off-ice distractions associated with them. If I had to predict the series I would predict an Edmonton upset win over Calgary. I am just not convinced that Calgary has the offense to get it done and it is costing them against the Ducks.
If the Ducks win then Edmonton will play San Jose and the Ducks will play the Avalanche. In this scenario I think the Sharks and Avalanche would win. I hope Calgary wins though because I think the hockey world would be in for a real treat with a Calgary-Edmonton series. Of course I am sure the NHL is routing for the Ducks because of wanting the Los Angeles market represented but honestly I just don’t think the hockey would be near as interesting. I can’t get too excited by a Ducks-Avalanche series.
Ok, that is the best I can do for now. If I get an opportunity I may drop in and expand on some of this once the second round matchups are finalized but either way feel free to use the comments of this post to discuss your thoughts on the rest of the first round and the upcoming second round of the playoffs.