Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Boston Bruins
This is why I say anything can happen in the NHL. Here we are with the Tampa Bay Lightning knocked out by the Blue Jackets by a sweep in round one. Not only was it a great choke job by Tampa but the greatest victory in franchise history for the Blue Jackets. This is round two though, and round one is in the rearview mirror. The question now becomes can they take a step further by beating a stacked Boston Bruins team. Many would say that the Jackets beat the Lightning so they can do anything. Now although this holds true, the big difference between this series and the first round is that Boston didn’t choke against the Maple Leafs and have been consistently good in the past. Something else you have to consider is that Boston has home ice and they are very good on it. They are also good in the clutch as they proved in game seven against the Toronto Maple Leafs for the past two years. Another factor playing into this is that the Jackets have been off for a while now. On top of that they are coming off the high of winning their first playoff series in franchise history. Now I am not going to take all the credit away from the Jackets. They have several pieces coming together for them very well. They have turned into a true workable team and they have proven they won’t give up. Additionally, Bobrovsky solved his choking in the playoffs problem he has had for a few years now. Still I don’t know whether that’s permanent or temporary. Taking everything into account, this will be a seven game series and the Bruins will be heading to the Eastern Conference Championship. Basically, either team could pull it off, but my reasons for the Bruins winning are the same as they were when they faced the Maple Leafs. They have better talent, they have home ice, and they have a more experienced and successful playoff goalie in Tukka Rask. If the Jackets want to pull it off they are going to need to be able to adjust multiple times, beat the Bruins on home ice once or twice, and be just as consistent and hungry as the last series. Can’t wait to see how this one plays out! Get ready for a great series!
New York Islanders vs Carolina Hurricanes
Another good matchup that is likely to be very competitive. The New York Islanders fixed the one big issue I had with them in round one, scoring. They made the Penguins goalie Matt Murray look like a fish out of water the whole series. They now have a great defense, goalie and offense. For them at this point, its cup or bust. As for the Hurricanes, they stepped up and defeated last years Stanley Cup champion in the Washington Capitals. Just like Columbus this means they can really give any team a hard time and they won’t be backing down. I can see this being a very physical series because both teams have been playing that way throughout the season and playoffs. If you want to see fights, this might just be your series to watch. WHo will be the winner? I have the Islanders in six games. Not to say that the Hurricanes won’t put up a fight because they will but the Islanders are the more complete team and the complete teams are the ones that go far. Barry Trotz is an outstanding coach and has given the Islanders life, this will help them push to a series victory. If the Hurricanes do it right, with the incredible drive that they have and if they get another couple of pieces, they could be cup contenders in the future. I will be looking forward to this series especially since its the regular seasons two of the three biggest surprises, team wise, facing off to see who is headed to the conference championship.
Note: I can make educated guesses but the thing that makes the NHL great is the you truly never know what is going to happen. So stay at your tv and be ready for the impossible. If Columbus didn’t make this known, no one ever will.