The dust has settled on Round Two, four teams remain; Carolina, New Jersey, Minnesota and LA. Looking back at my predictions, I never expect to get the games played correct but I was perfect this round picking 4 of 4 winners. Think that makes me 11-1 in the post season so far. We have some solid match ups, teams that know each other and statistically are pretty close. Yet, another holiday break may delay the start, just around the corner we will have the Cup Final. So let’s take a look at the remaining match ups.
Just like their colors match up, so do these teams. Almost mirror images of each other, if you go down each stat-line, there aren’t too many categories where one team dominates. These guys shoot a lot, they score a lot, and the puck doesn’t go in their net much. This is a perfect match up for the Eastern Conference Final.
Of the stats that stand out, PIMs is one, albeit Carolina has an unbalanced number due to a line brawl after game 4 or 5, I can’t recall. However, you can’t take PIMs against NJ, who has a power play clicking at 30% in the post season. Special teams struggle for Carolina, however, they do have 2 shorthanded goals in two series.
Carolina went up against Tampa Bay in their second round match. This was a series I thought would go to seven, I still believe that, Carolina just found a way to get that extra goal each time. Series started off with a 7-2 blowout, but Tampa bounced back in Game 2 stealing it with only 6 shots. Game 3 was a different story, these teams fought tooth and nail; ending up in OT. This was the turning point in the series. If Tampa wins Game 3, anything could have happened, however Carolina got a goal on a stretch pass while on the PK. Tampa’s momentum seemed to die with that game. Some close games the rest of the way, Tampa couldn’t seem to grab the magic that nearly got them Game 3.
New Jersey got the Rangers in their second round matchup. The Rangers jumped out early with a 3-1 win in Game 1. The Devils were able to rebound, grabbing the next three games, scoring over 3 per game. In the first elimination game the Rangers came out swinging, grabbing a 2-1 win in a pivotal Game 5. Game 6 was one for the ages. Back and forth, chance after chance, 1-1 after the end of regulation. In OT, it was more of the same, until early in the third overtime a puck was thrown on net to see a deflection by xTarasenko91_ seal the deal and send the Devils into the next round.
In Carolina, ImLxziee- still leads the way with 23 points, 10 goals and 13 assists. Right behind him is DeAdLy_xDaNgLeS with 6 goals and 14 assists. Rounding out the top four for Carolina, Tidan-16 with 14 points and xHatty12 with 9 points.
On Defense it is still LaFleuR11 with 8 points and a plus 22. Happy-Gilmore-27 has played the second most games with 6 only mustering 2 points but boasting a 5-1 record in the playoffs. In net, JPerch16 is the guy, with a .869 save percentage only giving up 1.22 goals per game.
In New Jersey, they are led by HyperDeezNutz with 15 goals and 25 points in two series. Just behind him is xTarasenko91_ the hero of Game 6, with 23 points. Rounding out the top four, you have AAli-21 with 13 points and ChobanLacot with 6 points.
On the blue line, xIBrokeTheDam leads the way with 8 points in ten games. His defensive partner, FranchiseMatty, has 6 points in seven games. In net, time is shared between Floweri30i and TheDoooooogstar each over .800 save percentage in two series. Flower is the guy, with two more games played, only letting up 1.32 goals against.
Carolina reminds me of Philadelphia from last season. Only difference is Philadelphia had a better seed. Carolina is playing with a chip on their shoulder. They have been solid in both series, I see that continuing here. It won’t be an easy series but I’m picking Carolina in 6.
This is an intriguing match-up. You have the offensive powerhouse which is LA going up against a very defensive minded team in Minnesota. What is interesting about this series is, LA has drawn the most penalties of all the teams in the playoffs. Yet have one of the worst power play percentages at 14.63%. Minnesota is killing penalties at 90%, they better hope LA doesn’t figure out their power play.
In the second round, the Wild went up against the Jets. The first four games were all decided by one goal. Two of those coming in overtime. Minnesota jumped out early to a 3-0 series lead. The Jets were able to win a shoot-out in Game 5, winning 5-4. Then as you see all too often, that rebound game the Wild blew out the Jets 4-0.
LA swept the Golden Knights (I think?) the last game seems out of order but I don’t see any other stats input. LA is dangerous, and they have built on each series, reminds me of the Syracuse run, when we got taken to Game 7 in the opening round. Then got on a tear the rest of the way. When you are scoring 3 goals a game you will very rarely find yourself on the losing end of the scoreboard.
When I normally talking about the Wild I start on defense. Rharmer3 is not finding the success he did in the regular season but that hasn’t stopped his team from winning. 7 points in 10 games with a plus 14 is leaps and bounds from the top scoring defenseman in the regular season. His defensive partner, zimDman has a better ppg but only sporting a plus 9.
Up front they are led by Mattkiinnoo with 22 points, 4 power play goals and 3 game winning goals. Rounding out the top three you have Insane_Hellfire with 17 points, 13 of those are assists and skillszy with 12 points.
In net, they have my boy ciulla19 who has played every game in net. He sports a .869 save percentage in two series throw in a shutout and a 1.52 goals against, he has been solid in net.
LA might be the most balanced team left in the playoffs. 90% of their roster has played 3 or more games. 80% has played 5 or more. They are balanced front to back, which I feel is crucial for a long play-off run.
Starting from the back, chadkillz134 is the start with 8 games played, he has a .848 save percentage and two shut outs. xEKANE_9x has 3 games played with a .800 save percentage.
On defense, you have Rbcressor and BakonBlitz with the most games played. Rbcressor has 9 points and only 4 PIMs in 10 games. BakonBlitz has 5 points and only 2 PIMs in 7 games. Mr. Utility is FFrantic_ who has 3 games played on defense with 5 points and sports a 3-0 record.
Up front you have all the familiar names, rV_Clutchz leading the way with 22 points 12 goals and 10 assists. GAMINGHAMZ at 18 points, second on the team in goals with 7. Tmills71 with 13 points and Rollerpig647 at 11 points. Finally, I have to mention FFrantic_ with 10 points on forward, bringing his grand total to 15. Nice to have a guy who can flex between forward and defense and still put up over a point per game.
I’ve been on the Minnesota bandwagon since round 1. Today is the day I get off. LA survived the scare in round one, they realized this is the playoffs, you have to bring your A game each night. In the second round they did. They are balanced top to bottom, I feel Minnesota is going to have to concede some games playing backups, which you can’t do against LA. LA in 5 because I always get the games wrong.