It is finally here! The second round of the NHL playoffs kicks off tonight with a match-up featuring two stellar goaltenders.
The Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes will meet tonight in Phoenix in a match up between the #3 seed and the #4 seed. Although I really want the Predators to just cruise through this series so they can make it to their first Conference Finals in franchise history, this series could be one of the most intense so far this year. Both teams boast the hottest goalies coming into the second round, with Pekka Rinne starting in net for the Preds and Mike Smith starting for the Yotes. There might not be a lot of scoring when these two teams meet, but the great saves and hard hitting hockey will be more than enough to make up for it, at least in my opinion. So hands down, tonight’s game is one to watch for any hockey fan.
The other match-up in the West features the pesky LA Kings facing off against the St. Louis Blues. This one could also end up being a goaltending shootout with Jonathan Quick coming into the series on a role for the Kings and Brian Elliot playing at the top of his game for the Blues. This series starts Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. eastern time.
In the East, the top seed Rangers narrowly beat out the Ottawa Senators last night to make it into the second round. They will now face the Washington Capitals who beat out the Boston Bruins a few nights ago to move on. This could be a very offensive heavy match-up if neither goalie steps up to play well for either team. I’m not sure how this one will turn out, but Game 1 will tell us a lot about how things might shake out in this match-up.
The other two teams meeting in the East are the five seed Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils. Again, I have no clue how this one will play out given that the Flyers wiped out the Penguins and the Devils only squeeked into the second round by beating the Florida Panthers in a double overtime thriller last night. The Flyers are a hard hitting team that can really score, but the Devils have Martin Brodeur who can be lights out on a good day and awesome on a bad day. I’d say this one could also get very physical with both teams liking to hit hard and make their presence known.
This year’s second round is full of mystery and intrigue and could be one of the best rounds of hockey I’ve ever seen. So, come on hockey gods, lets see what you’ve got. Let’s make this round one to remember.
There is one last thing I wanted to mention before signing off. I was looking at the match-ups from the East and West this morning, I noticed that all the seeds, #1-8, are present in this year’s second round. The # 2, # 3, # 4 and # 8 seeds are still in it for the West while the # 1, # 5, # 6, and the # 7 seeds all advanced from the East. I don’t know how many times this has happened in the past, but I thought I would point it out because I found it interesting.
That’s all for now,