Surprise! I was very close to doing a Round 1 article but decided against it. Shout out to Randy for doing an amazing job with his gutless article. I got to say, even though I was on the losing end of my series in round 1, from a viewer’s perspective I am loving the story lines going into round 2. To start I am going to breakdown the first-round series then do a little preview of our West and East round 2 matchups. Let’s goooooooooo.
Western Conference Round 1:
4th Seed Seattle Kraken (22-19-4) vs 1st Seed Vegas Golden Knights (30-11-4)
Randy’s Prediction: Knights in 6
Result: Knights in 4
The Knights were heavy favourites going into this series, they were the team to beat in the West all season long. They handled business quite easily winning games 3-1, 4-2, 3-2 in OT and a 3-0. Can’t say I am surprised on this outcome.
3rd Seed Vancouver Canucks (28-14-3) vs 2nd Seed Arizona Coyotes (27-13-5)
Randy’s Prediction: Canucks in 7
Result: Coyotes in 7
Randy called his Nucks in 7 but, in my opinion the Yotes were definitely the better team. Chad, I don’t know why you’re playing LW but please get back in the crease. Vandoos as a starting goalie is not going to win you a playoff series (with all due respect of course). Internet trouble kept Chico out of the lineup on Thursday night for a couple games which was a huge loss for his team. This is probably the reason why this series was extended this long but regardless the Canucks played their hearts out. After a few blow outs (1 for Vancouver, one for Arizona and a couple 3-0 shutouts, half of these games were decided by one goal. Vegas and Arizona will be an interesting series looking forward to seeing this play out.
Eastern Conference Round 1:
4th Seed Carolina Hurricanes (28-13-4) vs 1st Seed Pittsburgh Penguins (35-8-2)
Randy’s Prediction: Penguins in 6
Result: Penguins in 7
Cuban on the podcast called the Canes team “The scariest 4 seed” and he was absolutely correct. These Canes loved to play the body but they were more than just goons taking 3 games from your Presidents Trophy Penguins. End of the day, the Penguins top talent is among the best and the league and their Big boys came to play in game 7, Hardie scoring 4 with Bart creating most of those chances. I agreed with Randy’s prediction of Pens in 6 but props to the Canes for extending this to 7 games (pretty sure John and Frauts had internet trouble Thursday as well but still).
3rd Seed Montreal Canadiens (28-12-5) vs 2nd Seed Toronto Maple Leafs (33-11-1)
Randy’s Prediction: Leafs in 5
Result: Canadiens in 5
The Leafs going into this series were the heavy favourites, a lot of people said the Habs did not have a chance but, Reapz and the squad decided to prove all of their haters wrong. I love this Cinderella story, gives me vibes of my very first SP team I ran that beat 3 way stronger teams to make the finals. The Habs stuck to a game plan all series long with their goal of frustrating the Leafs by playing safe and smart was executed perfectly. Can the magic continue versus the Penguins?
2nd Seed Arizona Coyotes (27-13-5) vs 1st Seed Vegas Golden Knights (30-11-4)
LW- Pepsi C- Chico RW- Dangles
LD- Jags RD- Peen
LW- Semple C- Jhursi RW- Fish
LD (LW)- Adam RD- Benji
Keys to Winning:
For both of these teams I will give them the exact same advice, stop their star. This goaltending matchup is one of the best you’ll see in SP with Polar vs Choo/jhursi. Defence and forward skills are very even with stars on both teams. End of the day, if the Coyotes can take Adam out of the game, they will win, if the Knights can take Chico out of the picture, they will win. Guys like Fish for Vegas and Pepsi for the Yotes are going to have to step up and make big plays to win those games for their squad.
Prediction: Coyotes in 7 (if Vegas avail forces Jhursi in net and Buff as their #1 C) I can see them winning in less than 7
3rd Seed Montreal Canadiens (28-12-5) vs 1st Seed Pittsburgh Penguins (35-8-2)
LW- Reapz C- Serv RW- Cupi
LD- Capt RD- Slap
LW- Bart C- John RW- Hardie
LD- Dbs RD- Flyers
Keys to Winning:
Penguins: Score first
This team has the ability to dominate anyone in SP. The Leafs also were able to dominate possession and control the play vs the Habs however, only difference is they were always playing from behind. If the Penguins can score early and force the Habs to apply more pressure and take risks they will be get more grade A scoring chances. Their stars will also need to continue to make the big plays and carry the workload on offence and defence.
Canadiens: Grind, grind, grind
Pucks in deep, quick passes, taking your time if given room and capitalizing on your scoring chances is the keys to Habs success. If the Habs do exactly what they did vs the Leafs, they have a chance to book their ticket to the finals. One advantage they do have is in net, Jean has been an absolute monster averaging just under 20 shots a game and giving his team chances to win every game he’s played.
Prediction: Penguins in 6 (I think Jean is going to steal 1 game on Thursday for sure and the Habs likely take game 1 of the series)
Sp it has been an absolute pleasure, looking forward to watching the streams!
- Concussed Tommygoat