Eastern Conference Round Two
#1 Washington Capitals
#5 Tampa Bay Lightning
Regular Season Series- Capitals win 4-2
It was short work, the New York Rangers. The Capitals bowled through them, breaking Henrik Lundqvist. They came back from down 3-0 in a game to take over. Their defense was choking and their offense came along exactly when it was needed. Bruce Boudreau is doing his best coaching to date.
Seven games against a depleted Penguins. That's how long it took for the Lightning to move on to the second round. It was impressive, however, the way they outscored the Penguins throughout the series and won the last three games of the series by a 13-4 margin. Could the young 'Ning be getting hot at the right time?
While once unsure, consider their case sold. The Capitals have completely bought in to the defensive system instilled by coach Boudreau and it's paying off in spades. They still have the offensive explosion when needed but their sheltering of their young, but talented, goaltender pays off. In the end they will over power the thinner Lightning.
Prediction: Capitals 4-2
#2 Philadelphia Flyers
#3 Boston Bruins
Regular Season Series- Bruins win 3-1
The Buffalo Sabres gave them a scare, they'll likely admit in private conversation. Last year's Stanley Cup runner's up were pushed seven games by Buffalo before blowing them out in the final 60 minutes of the series. The Flyers still feel they left something on the ice last June and despite using three different goalies in the first round, they intend to attempt to take it back with impressive scoring depth and experienced defense.
An overtime game seven is enough to test any team's mettle. Getting there after being down 2-0 in a series is enough to strengthen a team and perhaps push them into great things. Doing so against a rival, as the Bruins did against the Canadiens, when you have a Vezina candidate goalie like Tim Thomas backing you up every step of the way... it means the sky is the limit, and silver may be in the cards.
The two teams are playing to each others strengths and weaknesses. The offensive skill of the Flyers meets perfectly with the stout goaltending of Tim Thomas. The Flyers used a carousel of goalies in the first round, going through Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovski, and Michael Leighton. The Bruins aren't known for their scoring prowess but get it done at the right time. The powerful and skilled scoring of the Flyers should just be enough to beat the suffocating goaltending.
Prediction: Flyers 4-3