The second round is set, here are the match ups
Nashville Predators vs Phoenix Coyotes
St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings
Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
Coyotes Dman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been outstanding in the post season and his emergence will be a factor in the series against Nashville.
The Blues balanced attack is also going to be a factor in their series as Andy McDonald and Patrick Berglund lead the Blues with eight and seven points. With plenty of support from Alex Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo etc.
The Flyers have prolific offense but the performance of Ilya Bryzgalov will dictate their fortunes.
The rangers and Caps will find themselves in close series yet again and the goaltending battle between hot rookie Bradon Holtby and Vezina nominee Henrik Lundqvist will be the difference.
My first round predictions went 3/5 so hope my second round fares better:
Nashville wins in six
St. Louis wins in seven
Philadelphia wins in four
Rangers win in six
I recently wrote an article on potential NHL expansion - relocation - and realignment (read it here) and on Thursday the city of Markham approved finances for the construction of a new 20,000 seat arena to begin construction. The possibility of a second NHL franchise in the GTA is getting more and more inevitable.
The Habs GM search continues, the most recent candidate is Doug Risebrough.
Roberto Luongo update: TSN's Darren Dreger reports four of the teams on Luongo's trade list are Chicago, Florida, Tampa, and Toronto. Dredger comments the current rivalry between the Canucks and Hawks makes it unlikely they could come to terms. Dreger also notes given Luongo's age and term remaining on his contract the return will be low and infact the Canucks may be required to take back a significant cap hit as well and mentions Toronto's Mike Komisarek as a possibility. I would add center Tim Connolly to that list as well.
The Boston Globe suggests that what I commented on yesterday about Tim Thomas potentially being available is a real possibility. Thomas is 38 years old and has one year remaining at $5 million. On July first his no-movement clause will expire. Perhaps it is time to move Thomas to allow Tuukka Rask to assume the starting position and use his cap relief to address roster needs elsewhere.
If Daniel Alfredsson has played his last NHL game it will be a shame. At 39 years old his All-Star season showed he still has the speed and skills to be an elite player in the NHL. However, off-season back surgery last summer and having sustained two concussions this season, you have to respect if he decides to walk away from the game with his health in tact as much as it is.
Devils Legend Martin Brodeur will see the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a long time. Rookie of the year nominee Adam Henrique scored two goals in game seven including a double overtime series winner. If this is Brodeurs last hurrah it would be great to see him go out on top, with the Stanley Cup held high.
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