Roundtable: Litter Box Cats second-round NHL playoff predictions
The LBC crew weighs in on the second round of this year's chase for the Stanley Cup.
The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books, with the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning from the Eastern Conference and the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild from the Western Conference advancing to the second round.
A big hats off to Rat-a-Holic for taking LBC honors and winning our friendly first-round predictions contest. Rat-a-Holic picked seven out of eight series-winners and added four bonus points for a grand total of 18 points. Honorable mention goes to sterling59 and HabsCat who also went 7-1, but they came up with fewer bonus points. I led the LBC staff, going 6-2 with four bonus points, tying for second overall with sterling59 with 16 points.
Here are the official results for round one:
|Name||Series Winners||Bonus Points||Total|
|Last Rat Standing||6||3||15|
|Rob PKane McMahon||4||1||9|
|hockey in Florida||3||0||6|
Don't worry, if you didn't win or missed out on the first round, we are going back, Jack, and doing it again for this round. Just post your predictions in the comment section. You have until puck drop tonight. At that point, I will close the comment section of this article. Scoring is the same as round one, with two points awarded for each series-winner you pick. You can collect a bonus point by picking the number of games it takes for your pick to eliminate its opponent. In case of a tie, the breaker will be whoever is closer to the total goals scored in the Ducks - Flames series, so don't forget to add that with your picks.
Now members of the esteemed(!) LBC staff will lay down their picks for round two:
Montreal - Tampa Bay: Much as I love the State of Florida component - of which I've been a fan of the Left Coast since 1992 - I'm riding the Habs Train right to the final. Calling this a Montreal victory in 6. Tampa's Wednesday victory over Detroit was seriously impressive but the Canadiens are a completely different animal than today's Red Wings, and built for another level.
New York Rangers - Washington: My brother won't be happy but I'm picking the Rags in this one. Call it Rangers in 5. For fun. Also, the Isles were oh so close.
Chicago - Minnesota: Tough one here. Chicago has bobbled between elite team and not so much in recent days, but the core remains. Heart is with the Wild in 6. Because Mike Russo.
Anaheim - Calgary: Non-traditional-market fan going for...Calgary. I know, seems an obvious call going with the Ducks but I'm also all about teams we don't typically see in the postseason. Also kinda cool that Jay Bouwmeester's former club rolls into the second round. That alone seals it for me. Call it a Flames victory in 7 games. And a few overtimes on the way.
Total goals in Ducks - Flames series: Nice round number: 20. Defensive struggle for some reason.
Montreal - Tampa Bay: I might be letting my heart get in the way, but I'm going to take a leap of faith and go with the Bolts in this one. Montreal's win over Ottawa was harder than it might look on the surface and the Lightning are hot now, rallying over the Red Wings with three straight impressive wins. The Habs have the edge in goal, so hopefully the Lightning can generate enough offense to make sure the Price isn't right. Tampa Bay in six.
New York Rangers - Washington: Despite dispatching the Penguins in five, the Rangers offense didn't do too much. Have to think this time around the goals will come, which could spell big trouble for the Caps. I'd love to see Washington win this series, but they probably won't. Rangers in six.
Chicago - Minnesota: I'm over the Blackhawks. Nothing against them, they are a good team and all that jazz, I'm just ready for some new blood and I think we'll get it here. Hometown boy Zach Parise is hot and what can you say about goaltender Devan Dubnyk. A Wild victory and salary cap woes will force a reload in the Windy City this offseason. Minnesota in five.
Anaheim - Calgary: The Ducks will get a tougher test this round from the Flames, a team more offensively-potent than the Winnipeg Jets. Just like in the first round, I want to take the Flames badly, but I'll go Anaheim. I picked them to win the Cup before the season, so I'll stick to my guns. They'll manage to come through in the clutch, although I think they will get pushed hard by a rising Calgary squad. Anaheim in six.
Total goals in Ducks - Flames series: 27
Montreal - Tampa Bay: Let me get this straight: Tampa 5-0 regular season vs. Montreal and I wouldn't take them? Well regular season records all go by the way side in the post season- like Tampa's best home record, yikes. Still Tampa in 7.
New York Rangers - Washington: I'm not entirely sure why, but I am just not a big believer in the Rangers. Than again, not sure why I should believe in the Caps either. I'll go Caps in seven.
Chicago - Minnesota: The genius that I am, I didn't pick either of these teams to get this far, so what do I do with this impossible to choose match-up? Take Chicago in 7 of course.
Anaheim - Calgary: I picked Vancouver over Calgary, but I'm glad the upstart underdogs won. I think I made a comment in another entry to never bet against Johnny Hockey. Well, (in the words of Whitesnake) "here I go again." Anaheim is much better through the middle of the lineup than Vancouver was and they will not be surprised. Ducks in 6.
Total goals in Ducks - Flames series: 32
Montreal - Tampa Bay: Tampa just won a playoff series where Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov didn't score. Montreal is in trouble... Tampa in six.
New York Rangers - Washington: I've got to go with Washington in this one. Though the Rangers are good, they didn't really look all that impressive against a very depleted Penguins roster. The Capitals weren't dominant either, but they had a much tougher opponent in the New York Islanders. Washington in seven.
Chicago - Minnesota: Chicago all the way. St. Louis exposed some of Devan Dubnyk's weaknesses, and a team that's "been there, done that" in the playoffs is going to be all over it. Chi-town in six.
Anaheim - Calgary: Calgary is this year's miracle squad, but do they really stand a chance against the Anaheim Ducks? I say no. Anaheim in five.
Total goals in Ducks - Flames series: 24