In the first round, the Defending Big D staff made 40 predictions. Of those we got nine exactly right with the winner and the number of games. So what I'm saying is don't count on us to win you some money. But predictions are fun, especially among competitive people, so we took our shot at predicting the second round of the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs New York Islanders (WC1)
Taylor: No Stamkos, no Stralman, no problem for the Lightning, but the Islanders have enough firepower to make it a series. Islanders in 7.
Erin: The Islanders were outplayed by the Florida Panthers for most of their series while the Lightning, led by the Triplets, just owned the fading Wings. Lightning in 6
Robert: I wanted Thomas Greiss last summer, and now everyone sees why. That aside, the Bolts are still too good, and Jon Cooper can coach circles around Capuano. Oh, and is that a 50-goal scorer I hear practicing again? Lightning in 5, but it will actually go 6 thanks to a controversial Too Many Men penalty.
Wes: I'm man enough to admit I got suckered into the Red Wings round 1 narrative. What I missed was that Ben Bishop is very good, and we're probably a few years past Steven Stamkos really being "Steven Stamkos" in terms of his singular importance to Tampa Bay's offense. On the flip side, John Tavares has been watching his Jamie Benn highlights, and Griess wasn't a liability. What the heck, Islanders in 6.
David: Kucherov is lights out right now, and Drouin (despite Tampa giving up on him yet stating they didn't give up on him to save face) is producing as projected. The Islanders were actually a bad possession team in the regular season with Florida not that far behind, hence the competitiveness of their series. Lightning in 5.
Marcus: I am not ashamed to say that I probably won't watch a second of this series. I flipped a coin and it came up heads. Lightning in 6.
Ann: I picked against the Lightning in the first round and won't make that mistake again. Just looking at the possession numbers these two teams carried through the first round, the Lightning look like the stronger prospect. Although granted, the Isles faces the tougher opponent. Still. Lightning in 6.
Derek: The Lightning are still missing bodies, but their playoff experience from last season will help keep their nerves calm. John Tavares will give the Bolts nightmares, but Thomas Greiss will come back down to earth and that will be the difference-maker. Lightning in 6
Huw: Whilst I think the Islander team has the potential to make this a competitive series I'm not convinced that they are going to be able to beat the Lightning four times. Lightning in 6.
Melissa: Greiss plays well enough, but Kucherov and the Lightning don't have the same trouble scoring that the Panthers did toward the end of the first round. Tavares stays hot, but Tampa still takes the series. Lightning in 6.
Kathleen: Tavares and his team must be feeling pretty good about how Game 6 against the Panthers went down, but Bishop > Greiss, and that plus the Triplets will be the end of that. Lightning in 6.
Washington Capitals (1) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
Taylor: Pens are rolling but the Caps have the swagger and depth this season to go far. Caps in 6.
Erin: I will watch every single second of this series on mute to avoid the Crosby/Ovechkin overhype train. Pittsburgh is playing better right now, but I think the Caps have the depth that matters. Caps in 7.
Robert: Goaltending is the great equalizer, but Matt Murray has been absolutely fine so far, which dulls the edge Washington would otherwise have in net. Anyway, the Pens are rolling like no team outside of San Jose right now. Pens in 5.
Wes: Were the Rangers sneaky bad or were the Flyers sneaky good? Do we value Washington's season-long excellence or Pittsburgh's recent success? How much does the playoff series from 2009 we're about to hear a ton about matter? I think the backup bubble bursts. Caps in 6.
David: The Caps weren't paper tigers, but they weren't flesh and bone tigers either. The Pens have Crosby, Kessel, and Malking each carrying their own lines. Like the Sharks of the East, they're a team whose regular season injuries masked their true power. Pens will run this show. Pens in 6.
Marcus: Winner represents the East in the Cup Final. It is kind of hard not to love the Crosby/Ovechkin storyline (all those great NBCSN commercials!). Give me the dog. Pens in 7.
Ann: I'm still expecting the Capitals to crumble, because they always crumble. But the Pens have too lately, and someone's gotta win. I think it's going to come down to goaltending, and I trust Holtby more than the Pens' backups. (Although if MAF comes back this series that's an entirely different narrative.) Caps in 6.
Derek: The Penguins are riding a tidal wave of momentum and Matt Murray will vault his way into Pittsburgh's sports lore with a heroic performance for a rookie. The Caps will play a great series only to fall in a shocking sub-par outing in Game 7. Pens in 7.
Huw: It feels like the Penguins are beginning to put it all together whilst the Capitals, despite their regular season success, are struggling more than they should be. The Penguins' stars are going to carry this one for them. Pens in 6.
Melissa: The Penguins played the Caps well during the regular season and they continue to do so in Round 2. But even though Pittsburgh gives Ovechkin and co. a run for their money, Holtby comes through in the clutch, and Washington pulls it off. Caps in 7.
Kathleen: The Ovechkin Crew vs. Crosby and Company? The Pens are on a roll, but I'm not ready to bet against the President's Trophy winners. Holtby is a Vezina lock for a reason, but Murray will keep him honest. Caps in 6.