The second round of the playoffs kicks off this evening, and that means that we (the BSH staff) are back and ready to make some more predictions on how these matchups are going to shake out. Our last round of predictions weren’t all perfect, but we remain undeterred. Let’s get right into it! First up, the Western Conference.
Kyle: While the upset of Vancouver over St. Louis was impressive, it’s hard to see them doing the same vs. Vegas. They have just about everything clicking, including their goaltending. I can see Vancouver making this a fun series, maybe taking it to six games, but Vegas is going back to the West Final for the second time in their three years of existence in this league. Final prediction is Knights in five.
Drew: I was very impressed by the Canucks watching their highlights, especially in their win over St. Louis to clinch the series victory. This will be closer than many predict, I’d imagine, and I’m actually taking Vancouver in seven games. I think they can take the fight to Vegas.
Maddie: I liked a lot of what I saw from Vancouver in the first round, and while that Blues team wasn’t playing to their true potential, the Canucks played them well, and I do think that they can give the Golden Knights some trouble. That said, the Golden Knights are just a much deeper and more complete team, and it’s really hard to bet against them. Knights in six.
Kurt: So ... I’m still not entirely convinced Vancouver is good. But they humbled me last round, legitimately outplaying the defending champions. That said, I think Vegas is better than the defending champions (possibly better than anyone?), so I’ll take my chances going against the Canucks yet again. Vegas in six.
Craig: I’m not convinced Vancouver is this good either, but I will give them some credit. They looked good against St. Louis and I picked the Wild and Blues to beat them in their first two series. That said, Jordan Binnington (you look nervous now, bud) and Jake Allen couldn’t save a thing. St. Louis’ differential of allowing 22 goals on an expected goals against total of 15.6 made for the second-worst differential in terms of production and expectation with minus-6.4 behind only Arizona’s minus-7.23. I think Vegas can provide a little more resistance than that and I think they’ll take the series in six games.
Kyle: The Avs are just an absolute wagon of a hockey team. Sure, their competition in round one was the Arizona Coyotes, but it was an impressive series win nonetheless. Any time you beat a team 7-1 back-to-back times in the playoffs, that’s pretty damn remarkable. If the Avs continue to get the goaltending they’ve gotten, and keep scoring at a ridiculous pace, this is going to be a short series. Dallas has a solid team that’s going to give them some headaches, but I think the Avs take it in six.
Drew: Dallas pulled off the “upset” over Calgary in the previous round, but I don’t think they stand much of a chance against Colorado. They’re absolutely rolling right now, and their young talent are blossoming into full blown superstars (if they weren’t already). Avs to sweep.
Maddie: The Stars played well through the first round, but the Avalanche were playing absolutely lights out. And granted, the Coyotes aren’t exactly an equal opponent, but the Avalanche looked like they were skating circles around them for most of the series. This team in absolutely stacked, and they’re already getting production from all over the lineup, and that obviously makes them dangerous. I think the Stars are going to give them a bit more trouble than the Coyotes did, for sure, but it’s hard to bet against the Avalanche, given their body of work throughout both the regular season and playoffs so far. Avalanche in five.
Kurt: I’ve had some kind of mental block about Colorado all season. I don’t know, I know they’re good, but for some reason believing that they’re this good has been difficult for me. Fortunately, I don’t think Dallas is nearly as good as their record indicated, and the way Colorado looked like they were playing a different sport from Arizona last round gives me some temporary confidence in them. And yes, still, Dallas sucks. Avs in five. I wanted to pick an upset in one of these two, but I want to see Avs-Knights even more.
Craig: I like the Dallas Stars and I picked them to beat the Flames, but I don’t see them beating the Avs. They got some help in the first round with Matthew Tkachuk being out for a few games, but I don’t think the Stars will catch that sort of break against Colorado. The Avalanche just decimated a defensively-oriented Coyotes’ club and although the Stars are a better version of that I just don’t see a way Dallas is going to pull this off while spending the entire series on their heels defending the Avs’ speed. Colorado in five.