Four of the five of us picked the Ducks, no one had Detroit in a sweep, only Pat had Sharks in six and every one of us picked Vancouver in much less than needing overtime of a game seven, so.... I guess we're not that good at this. Luckily we've brought Taylor aboard to bring up our percentages with her expert prognostications. Here are our second round predictions as the Canucks take on the Predators and Sharks and Wings face off....
Brandon Bibb: After they finally dispatched of the Blackhawks, there seems to be two schools of thought on what kind of impact this series win will have on Vancouver. On one hand, they did vanquish an arch-nemesis, thereby, lifting tons of emotional baggage off their shoulders.
On the other, they came within a Patrick Sharp point blank chance on an early OT power play of becoming the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead. And the last time they were pushed to the limit in a first round series, the Dallas Stars taxed them enough in 2007 that Anaheim was able to dispatch the Canucks in just five games the following round.
And the Predators game is predicated on outworking their opponents. I'm going with my gut on this one simply because if there's one team I want to fail and fail miserably from this point forward, it's Vancouver.
Predators in 6.
All the DBD writers weigh in on the Western Conference semi's after the jump....
Pat Iversen: I know the Canucks played incredibly shaky hockey against the Hawks, to the point that the entire city of Vancouver almost collectively suffered a mental collapse. But I'm going to throw that out the window for this series. Even if it did take seven excruciating games, I think vanquishing the Blackhawks was a sort of exorcism for Vancouver. Roberto Luongo had to face his playoff demons again, and ultimately overcame them. So did the Canucks. Just watching the postgame celebration at Rogers Arena, you got the feeling a major hurdle had been conquered and Canucks Nation breathed a sigh of relief.
So what's to stop them from making a run now? Nashville presents a defensive challenge for any team, but Vancouver's system of constant pressure could expose some cracks in the Preds. And if there's any goalie who could match the performance of Pekka Rinne, it's Roberto Luongo when he's on his game. After eliminating the monkey (or Hawk, in this case) off their backs, I just don't see the Canucks bowing out any time soon.
Canucks in six.
Taylor Baird: For a team that steam-rolled much of the competition though the regular season, Vancouver sure did struggle to put away the series on the 8th seeded defending champs. After blowing a 3-0 series lead, it took a solid effort from Luongo (who was benched at the start of game 6) and a tight defensive game to finish the series in 7 - something that was sorely lacking in games 4, 5 and 6.
Nashville's defensive game has managed to keep the Canucks scoring to 3 goals or less in their season series. After shutting down the high-flying Ducks in the first round, and winning their first playoff series, Nashville has the momentum to propel them through the next round.
Predators in 5.
Art Middleton: It's about time they exorcized their demons and got over the mental road block that had stymied them for years huh? I mean it took them long enough and while there were moments even this year we didn't think they'd pull it off, they finally did at home much to the delight of their delirious fans.
I'm talking about Nashville of course who finally won a first round playoff series for the first time in their 12 year history. Yes the same can be said for Vancouver getting over their Chicago curse, but if we're being brutally honest we should not be surprised Vancouver is through and in all reality that series should have been over a lot quicker than game seven. I know there is the thought that Vancouver will be emotionally and physically drained, I tend to think though that the mindset will be "we didn't survive that first round just to get beaten in the second" and they will play the Preds - who will work hard but can't even come close to matching up depth wise - as such.
Canucks in 5
Brandon Bibb: Considering the teams I root for, this is a battle between the lesser of two evils. I revel in any Red Wings failure.
But right now, Detroit's got their game in high gear, fresh off a sweep of the Phoenix Coyotes. San Jose? Well, they did get some clutch performances throughout their first round series with the Kings, including a mammoth comeback from down 4-0 in Game 3 at LA.
But that also exposed an issue in net with Antti Niemi. Last year, he won a Cup with the Hawks but in not so spectacular fashion. This year, he got lit up repeatedly by a Kings squad that was playing without Anze Kopitar. So just imagine what Detroit will do to him.
Red Wings in 5.
Pat Iversen: San Jose won three out of four games against Detroit in the regular season, and outscored the Wings 12-6 in their final three meetings. If things go right, San Jose has a fair amount of positives. Perhaps Joe Thornton has finally exorcised his own playoff demons. Perhaps Antii Niemi could find the same consistency he had with the Blackhawks. Perhaps home-ice advantage will be a big factor for the Sharks.
But Detroit is well-rested (though not completely healthy), and the way they quickly kicked Phoenix out of the playoffs like an uninvited party guest who's had a little too much to drink was more than impressive. I know it's said a lot, but Detroit's veteran roster plays a huge factor in the playoffs. Perhaps San Jose has their number lately, but the grizzled Wings will find a way. Again.
Detroit in seven.
Taylor Baird: After going 4-6 in their last 10 games of the regular season, the Red Wings came in and torched the Coyotes on their way to sweeping the series. Guess the switch really can be flipped between regular season and playoffs, huh?
San Jose faced a Kopitar-less Kings team who still managed to put quite a few goals in past Antti Niemi. They managed to rally in one of the best comebacks in the playoffs from an 0-4 deficit to win in overtime. They don't ever seem to go away and they never consider themselves down and out in a game.
Although I'd love nothing more than to see the Dead Things eliminated, I'd much rather see the last Pacific division team go down in flames.
Detroit in 6.
Art Middleton: Nice try Sharks, but I'm not falling for it. I'll admit you handled that series against Los Angeles quite well and as opposed to other years, you didn't collapse when the Kings pushed back and threatened to take games and series over. I'll even admit that your game three comeback will be one of my favourite non-Stars games ever. But the fact remains that you are in fact the San Jose Sharks and thus can't be trusted in the playoffs ever. Detroit on the other hand is a team you should never pick against or count out in the playoffs and the fact that they've had such a long break to rest and regroup doesn't bode well for the Sharks.
The Sharks will make a series of it and if they do win it then I shall not be surprised. This isn't your same ‘ol choke-artist Sharks and one look at how Joe Thornton played in that series will tell you that, but in the end I just can't bet against the Wings.
Red Wings in 6
Brandon Worley: Well, here we are, the San Jose Sharks move on in the playoffs and Joe Thornton finally has a clutch goal to his credit. Now the Sharks will be taking on a veteran team that easily steamrolled Phoenix and who knows exactly what it takes to win.
Tell us what you think in the comments....