2011 NHL Playoffs – Round 2: Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators

Well if i knew this series was going to take place a week ago I would say Vancouver in 4, but we all saw how they almost blew a 3 game lead last round. But to be fair, teams 4 thru 8 in the Western Conference were pretty much all the same anyway, so dwelling on Chicago being the #8 seed isn’t completely warranted.

So, with that said this series is going to be decided by Roberto Luongo and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, both of whom are up for the Vezina Trophy this year.

Prediction: If Luongo gets his head out of his ass, I’d say the Canucks will move on in 5…… or 6 if Rinne stands on his head one night.

Detroit’s Winged Wheels vs the San Jose Sharkies

Once again, these two western conference power houses meet, making this THE SERIES to watch for the second round. Both teams are pretty much dead-evenly matched offensively, with all three lines having consistent, solid production in the first round. Detroit put up at least 4 goals in all four of their first round games, while San Jose was able to orchestrate one of the greatest comebacks of all times in their game #3. The only real difference between the two here is that Detroit put up their 1st round numbers without the help of Henrik Zetterberg who will be returning for the second round.

When it comes to defensive play and goaltending, Detroit has the edge. While to date Jimmy Howard has only proven to be serviceable at best, its who is surrounding him that gives them the edge. Having Nicklas Lidström (one the greatest defensemen of all time) and Pavel Datsyuk (whose up for his 4th straight Selke Trophy) in front of you makes your goaltenders job just a little bit easier.

Dan Boyle is a "Man's man"

As for the Sharkies, Niemi’s first round performance was a hell of a long way away from the 2 shutout, .910 save percent average. and 2.64 goals against average playoff performance he gave Chicago last year. Being pulled twice in three games (with one of the times being in the first 10 minutes of the game), having .864 save percent, and averaging a 4.00 goals against, up against an inferior team in the Kings.

That does not bode well for the Sharks.

To make matters worse, Neimi doesn’t have much support from the defense in front of him, since the San Jose defensemen are really forwards in disguise.

I’m looking at you Boyle

Prediction: Wings in seven. Sorry sharkies, but better luck next year.

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