Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009 Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round Two

Boston Bruins (1) vs Carolina Hurricanes (6)

After decimating their old rival the Canadiens in the first round, they'll meet another old friend from the Adams... sort of. The Bruins looked every bit like the number one seed in the first round and are looking to flex their muscles against a team that literally stole their first round series. Cam Ward was spectacular, but the Canes won two games they had no business winning in the final minutes of their series against the Devils. Their magic won't work in this series and the B's will take this one in 5 games.

Washington Capitals (2) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (4)

Don't be worried, everything's alright. That giddy little creepy laugh you hear is just Gary Bettman. He has the dream series he's been looking for and the national networks will be sure to cram it down everyone's throat, making every non-Penguin and Capital fans hate Crosby and Ovechkin even more. The series itself should be great though. Yours truly predicted a Caps comeback after going down 3-1 to the Rangers, but this round will be much tougher. The Rangers had ZERO scoring and relied on King Henry to play like a god throughout their first round series. This Penguins team can score. Caps rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov hasn't really been tested in the NHL, so its too early to tell if he's the real deal. So with the question mark in goal and the fact that the Penguins have the experience and are better built for the playoffs, I have to give the edge to the Penguins but I don't see them taking it in less than 7 games.

The eliminated teams

New Jersey Devils - Wow, when I saw how the Flyers were eliminated from the postseason, I thought "That is the worst way you can lose a series". Then the Devils had to go ahead and one up that. They were 80 seconds away from playing the Caps in the second round. However, once those 80 seconds ticked away, the Devils were no longer in the playoffs. This Devils team had all the components to make a long playoff run this spring, but nobody really played up to their talent level. The defense was bad, the offense was highly ineffective, mostly due to Cam Ward, and Marty Brodeur, "the greatest goalie in the history of the game", blew a lead at home in Game 7. It will be a long summer for the Devils who will have a lot to think about while they're watching everyone else compete for the Stanley Cup.

Philadelphia Flyers - My favorite headline from, "Penguins steal series from Flyers". Seriously? The only time the Flyers even looked remotely like a playoff team was when the Penguins didn't play their "A" game. My detailed, well thought out assessment of the Flyers is... they suck. They were dominated last year and they were dominated again this year as far as I'm concerned. They blew a three goal lead, at home, with the season on the line. There's no excuse for that. Biron was lousy again. The coaching was bad again. Richards actually played worse in this series compared to last year. Their was never any doubt in my mind as to who was going to come out on top in this series. I would've bet my house on it.

Having said that, this team isn't that far from becoming a serious contender. They need to drop the dead weight. They need to fire John Stevens and for the love of God, get a goalie already! Its been the same story for the last 20 years with the Flyers. Great team, crappy goaltending. I thought Bobby Clarke was just simply blind to this defect, but apparently the entire front office can't see this either. Personally, I hope they never figure this out, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

New York Rangers - I really can't say that I'm surprised by this. Aside from having an elite goalie, what exactly did this team have going for them and don't say a 3-1 series lead. The fact that they made it this far with this little offense is astounding. In a 1-1 elimination game, the Rangers registered exactly ONE SHOT on goal in the third period. Way to show a sense of urgency guys. This team was simply not that good. Take away Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers become the New York Islanders with older players.

Montreal Canadiens - Sorry that the 100th year anniversary of the franchise had to end with a loss to one of your most hated rivals, the Boston Bruins. But that's what you get for cheating in the all star voting. This may be the last time we see the Habs in the playoffs for a few years. They need a massive overhaul and if they're lucky maybe they'll be able to unload Carey Price on some unsuspecting team before they realize they bought a lemon. This is a franchise with a long history of success and greatness, but its time to rebuild. Just making the playoffs isn't good enough for this city or any Canadian city for that matter. Every off season it seems like they put a band aid on a bleeding gash and wonder why it didn't hold. Its time to start over, build from scratch and get back to being the Montreal Canadiens.

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