The only one I missed was the Habs which I said I hoped I’d be wrong, and I was! 10 out of 12 is pretty darn good.
Only two series to predict in Round Three.
Chicago vs LA: YIKES Two strong big teams full of talent. LA has been doing it the hard way as I think they have a few more head cases on their squad than the Hawks do.
Chicago boasts the best leader of this extra season in Mr. Toews who seems to do it all while leading. He has 10 points in 12 games, is +5 and is winning 58% of his face offs. I’m not huge on Fenwick and Corsi stats. Frankly my system for number crunching with the Habs still hasn’t been matched.
People don’t understand that with stats the number really has to tell you something tangible. Remember Ron Flockhart? He probably would have great Corsi numbers. Never could finish though.
And if a team is sitting back as Montreal did far too much of with Boston the other guys end up with the pucks on their sticks at a higher percentage. A good stat is an indicator of something tangible with a conclusion.
I mentioned to watch out for Bryan Bickell in round two and he showed up and was factor in the series win. Frankly the Hawks best players are playing their best which is one, what you want, and two what you pay them for. Corey Crawford hasn’t been a slouch either playing every game so far with a 1.97 GAA and a .931 sv%.
Marion Gaborik is on fire and playing for a contract. I think he’s also loving playing with Anze Kopitar. No Gaborik this year and frankly the Kings would probably be surfing right now. He leads the team with 9 goals and 42 shots.
Mike Richards is too young to be struggling in the play offs. Jonathan Quick hasn’t stolen a series yet. Frankly LA’s defense has issues and probably will be overwhelmed by the Hawks.
CHICAGO in SIX!
Ah the Habs. The face the very weird and confusing NY Rangers. My one year working for the Habs we faced the Messier led squad and after jumping ahead the first two game, and yes I’m darn proud of my statistical contributions; the Rangers adjusted mightily and won four straight.
How weird must Brad Richards feel? His contract most likely to be dumped after the season and leading the team with 9 points in 14 games for the low scoring Rangers? Late season pick up Martin St. Louis has 8 points.
Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are -5 for the play offs. Rick Nash has zero goals scored. The man to really be afraid of, Henrik Lundgvist has been stellar with a 1.99 GAA and .931 sv %. But he has a history of tanking against the Habs.
Montreal has been doing it with smoke, mirrors, and a freaky fourth line.
I pinged Steve Shutt and asked him how he felt his jersey was playing in reference to Dale Weise who’s been a bit of a hero for this squad.
The Hall of Famer who knows a thing or two about winning championship series shared that after playing on an Old Timer’s Tour it was discovered that he had two blocked arteries. Two stents were put in and he shared about how important it is to listen to symptoms when your body tells you something isn’t right. We also talked hockey and Habs.
Montreal star and if they don’t trade him, future captain PK Subban is leading the team with 12 points in 11 games. PK has 26 shots, 29 hits, and 16 blocked shots to add to his 25+ minutes per night.
Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher both have 9 points. Thomas Vanek has added 5 goals and I have a hunch if the Habs move past the Rangers he will be a huge factor in this series.
Max Pacioretty is starting to heat up too. Alex Galchenyuk might be back in this series; even Andrei Markov is improving with 5 assists in 11 games although he does have a -3 as does his partner Alexei Emelin. Emelin has been a monster on D with 42 hits and 35 blocked shots.
Dale Weise has 29 hits to go with his 5 points in 11 games. What Montreal is showing is that any given time any given player can and will step up. I’m not sure whether Michel Therrien is a much better coach than I thought or that the leadership in the dressing room is doing a great job. Bottom line the team now has eight games left to win to reach an immortal status that only one team earns each season.
Carey Price has had his best play off of his NHL career. He only has one shut out, but has played far better than some had predicted. Kudos to Carey and I write that as someone that has not been a huge Price fan.
For Montreal to beat the Rangers the series has be short. The longer the series lasts the more it favors NY. That being said unless NY dramatically improves or the Habs dramatically slump Montreal wins fast and hard.
HABS IN 5
Either way NHL fans are going to get a treat with some great hockey!