Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
As soon as the first round ends, the second has already begun. I made some predictions, some right and some wrong. Let’s review and hit the new, after the jump.
Grading the First Round – Atlantic Division
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings (Wild Card)
Prediction: Bruins in 6
Actual Result: Bruins in 5
While the Red Wings got off to a good start, taking the first game of the series, the Bruins took care of business the rest of the way. They again look like a team that can make it to the finals, especially in the weak Eastern Conference, due to their defensive depth and a number of players who play big when it counts.
(2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (3) Montreal Canadiens
Prediction: Lightning in 7
Actual Result: Canadiens in 4
It appears I got this one about as wrong as I possibly could. Ben Bishop could not save his team once the playoffs came around, and the Habs are set for another meeting in the playoffs with their longtime, and long-hated, rivals in Beantown (I am referring to it as “Beantown” because I know that people from Boston do not, and I don’t really like the Bruins).
Grading the First Round – Metropolitan Division
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild Card)
Prediction: Penguins in 4
Actual Result: Penguins in 6
The Blue Jackets put up a lot more of a fight than I thought they would, but their spunky underdog thing wasn’t the real takeaway of the series—the real takeaway is that the Penguins really don’t have any good players besides Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
(2) New York Rangers vs. (3) Philadelphia Flyers
Prediction: Flyers in 7
Actual Result: Rangers in 7
This series was a tossup and could have gone either way. Typical of me, I picked the wrong way. In choosing coin flips, I suppose I am a Sublime song.
Eastern Conference Average Grade: C+
Grading the First Round – Central Division
(1) Colorado Avalanche vs. (4) Minnesota Wild (Wild Card)
Prediction: Avalanche in 7
Actual Result: Wild in 7
Another seven game series, another wrong pick from yours truly. Turned out the Avalanche, like the Blues, were a regular season team.
(2) St. Louis Blues vs. (3) Chicago Blackhawks
Prediction: Blackhawks in 5
Actual Result: Blackhawks in 6
This series played out for the Blues exactly as it did last year, with overtime wins in the first two home games (goals scored by Alexander Steen and Barret Jackman, as in 2013), followed by the loss of four straight to a team that is just, overall, more talented and more prepared for playoff hockey. The Blackhawks are a well-run organization who drafted well, and whose stars play their best when it counts, and I as a St. Louis fan am sick of it, though I can’t fault them one bit. Who I can fault: any St. Louis Blue not named Vladimir Tarasenko.
Grading the First Round – Pacific Division
(1) Anaheim Ducks vs. (4) Dallas Stars (Wild Card)
Prediction: Ducks in 5
Actual Result: Ducks in 6
Like the Blue Jackets, the Stars put up more of a fight than anyone thought they would. Unlike the Penguins, the Ducks still look great and deep and like they can make another run. Now that the Blues are out of it, they’ll be the team I root for so Teemu Selanne can win another Cup. That means the Beantown Bruins or the Blackhawks will win it again.
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (3) Los Angeles Kings
Prediction: Kings in 7
Actual Result: Kings in 7
LOLSharks. When I thought this series would go to seven games, I pictured teams alternating wins, rather than the Sharks going up three games to none, getting cocky, and blowing it in a manner even worse than they normally do. You can’t count out Jonathan Quick and the Kings come playoff time, but more than that, you can’t count in Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks.
Western Conference Average Grade: B+
Overall Average Grade: B-
Round Two Predictions – Atlantic Division
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (3) Montreal Canadiens
It’s hard to tell if the Canadiens really are as unstoppable as they looked in the first round, because the Lightning didn’t put up much of a fight this go around. But if Carey Price is hot, and the Bruins can’t score, the Habs could make the upset in a bunch of close, hard-fought games. That’s the way I’m leaning.
Prediction: Canadiens in 7
Round Two Predictions – Metropolitan Division
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (2) New York Rangers
Had the Flyers been going up against the Pens, I would have chosen them, because they seem to know how to get under their in-state rivals’ skins, and the Penguins have looked vulnerable despite their one seed and first round victory. I don’t think the Rangers have it in them this time either. Hey, I was wrong last time, that means I’m supposed to be right this time. Right? Probably wrong.
Prediction: Penguins in 6
Round Two Predictions – Central Division
(3) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (4) Minnesota Wild
The two “underdogs” made it to the second round, though I doubt anyone was taking the Blues to beat the Blackhawks come playoff time. Not even the biggest homers in St. Louis REALLY thought they had a chance. The Wild, on the other hand, were a legitimate upset. They look good, but the Blackhawks have done all this before.
Prediction: Blackhawks in 5
Round Two Predictions – Pacific Division
(1) Anaheim Ducks vs. (3) Los Angeles Kings
The two Los Angeles-area teams face off in the playoffs in what should be a hell of a series. Both of these teams have plenty of Cup winners on their rosters, with the Ducks superior offensively and the Kings superior in goal. You know what they say about hockey playoffs, though—the team with the goalie is the one that takes it.
Prediction: Kings in 7
That wasn’t nearly as bad as most of my predictions go. Let’s see if I can do much worse this time around.