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Expert Analysis

Stanley Cup Round 2 Predictions

by Michael Finewax

Another one bites, and another one bites, and another one bites, another one bites the dust. And that sums up Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.Never in any sport, have all first-place teams lost in the first round of any playoffs (unless you go back to the days of the six-team NHL when there was only one team on top.

With that, here is how everyone at Rotoworld.com did in the first round.

Michael Finewax – 4-4

Ryan Dadoun – 2-6

Daniel Dobish – 4-4

Brian Rosenbaum – 3-5

Joey Alfieri – 2-6

Corey Abbott - 3-5

Julian MacKenzie – 1-7

Jeffrey Alfieri – 3-5

Dominico D’Amato – 2-6

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Michael Finewax

Boston over Columbus in seven games.

New York Islanders over Carolina in five games.

Colorado over San Jose in seven games.

Dallas over St. Louis in six games.

Again, I think the Columbus series is the toughest to call. If you remember in the article two weeks ago I wrote: “I mulled over the Tampa Bay series the most as I really can see the Blue Jackets upsetting the Lightning. I picked Tampa Bay but a Columbus win wouldn’t surprise me.” I like Boston and they have to be the favorites at this time for the Stanley Cup as only two of the nine teams that finished with at least 100 points, are still in post-season play. The Islanders should beat Carolina who had a war against Washington while New York easily disposed of the Penguins in four games. I think that Colorado will upset San Jose and ditto for Dallas over the Blues of St. Louis.

Ryan Dadoun

Boston over Columbus in six games.

New York Islanders over Carolina in six games.

St. Louis over Dallas in seven games.

San Jose over Colorado in six games.

I'd give Dallas the edge in terms of goaltending and they both have star power up front, but ultimately I think the Blues' depth is what will give them the edge. St. Louis just has so many threats that they remain dangerous even when Vladimir Tarasenko is on the quiet side, as was the case in Round 1. I’m still worried about Martin Jones, but I continue to believe that the Sharks will ultimately win the Stanley Cup. If Joe Pavelski is out that will be a big blow, but at least the Sharks have plenty of other stars. If Colorado wins this series, it will be at least partially thanks to Philipp Grubauer staying hot. If he cools down then this could be a slaughter. Carolina managed to take down the Stanley Cup champions, but I don't think they were the better team and I'm skeptical that they'll be able to keep this going. The Islanders are superb defensively and Robin Lehner just posted an incredible 1.47 GAA and .956 save percentage against the high-powered Penguins offense.  Columbus took down a titan in the Lightning and if the Blue Jackets want to get any further, they'll have to do so again. The advantage they have is that the Bruins are coming off a hard-fought series against Toronto while the Blue Jackets are rested, but I don't think it will be enough.

Daniel Dobish

Boston over Columbus in seven games.

Carolina over N.Y. Islanders in seven games.

Dallas over St. Louis in six games.

San Jose over Colorado in six games.

The Blue Jackets made it look rather easy against the Lightning. It wasn't. I actually like the Bruins in this one because of experience, as well as the fact they just got done playing. The Jackets might be a little rusty, while the B's are buzzing after an emotional comeback against the Leafs. This series will be a war, but a war the B's win. “The Bunch of Jerks” got it done, showing they could win on the road in a crucial game in Game 7 to sack the champs in their own barn. They don't know any better, and do not seem to get down on each other despite adversity. And look for Micheal Ferland and Andrei Svechnikov to draw back in, giving them a little more sandpaper and offensive punch. The Isles polished off the Pens rather quickly, and they have the Barry Trotz factor, but I think the first two games on the Island are a split, and after that it's a seesaw series. I am a huge fan of the hot goaltender in the playoffs, and Ben Bishop is playing as well as anyone right now. And he has the added fire playing against the organization which originally drafted him. Jordan Binnington is good, but Bishop is better, and I think the hot goaltender carries his team into the Conference Finals. The Sharks were a whisker away from being eliminated, down 3-0 midway through the third period in Game 7 vs. Vegas. But an injury to Joe Pavelski galvanized the team, they ripped off four quick goals and eventually won in OT. They'll ride that wave into the next series. I think the Avs have the slight edge in goaltender, but the Sharks have more depth up front.

Brian Rosenbaum

Boston over Columbus in 7

New York over Carolina in 7

Dallas over St. Louis in 6

Colorado over San Jose in 6

This series is really a pick'em. I'm going with the Bruins by the smallest of margins for two reasons. Home-ice advantage and the veteran leadership of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara. The Blue Jackets just one their first playoff series, and although some players like Artemi Panarin have experienced a long post-season run, the majority of Columbus' roster is untested. The New York-Carolina series is not easy to predict. I guess in the end, I just like the Islanders' overall game a little better. The only thing I worry about is that the Islanders may be a little stale considering they haven't played in 10 days. The Stars will take the Blues primarily for one reason--Ben Bishop. The Dallas netminder has been unreal this season and during the playoffs. Pekka Rinne was incredible for the Predators in the last round, and yet, Bishop outplayed him. He will do the same against impressive rookie Jordan Binnington. The Avs should take the Sharks in six because overall they are the superior team, especially if Joe Pavelski is unable to play. The Avs' weapons (Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog are far more dangerous than anything San Jose can offer up front. 

Joey Alfieri

Boston over Columbus in 7

New York Islanders over Carolina in 6

Dallas over St. Louis in 7

San Jose over Colorado in 6

This is the series I have circled. How can the Blue Jackets possibly follow up what they did in the first round against Tampa Bay? Both teams are deep and both can also play a physical brand of hockey. I expect every one of these games to be tight and I expect to see this series go seven games, too. I think Boston's experience helps push them over the edge in this one. The Islanders waited and waited and waited for their second-round opponent, but that's what happens when you sweep your series and the other two teams go seven games. Barry Trotz has the Isles playing a stingy brand of hockey and he's also getting offensive contributions from many of his best players. The Blues aren't going to be an easy out, but the Stars showed me a lot in the first round. Dallas' first line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov were unstoppable against Nashville, so I expect that to continue in this round. But they also got contributions from guys like Mats Zuccarello and Roope Hintz, too. And Ben Bishop might be playing the best hockey of his career right now. I expect this series to go the distance. It's going to be really tight. The Sharks appeared to be dead in the water after four games of their first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights, but they found a way to come back in the series and in Game 7, as they overcome a three-goal deficit in the third period before winning in overtime. Getting Joe Pavelski back would make me feel even better about my prediction. Colorado has three of the best players in the series on one line, but I feel like the Sharks are a deeper team, and unlike Calgary, they're battle-tested.

Julian McKenzie

Boston over Columbus in 7

New York Islanders over Carolina in 6

Dallas over St. Louis in 7

San Jose over Colorado in 6 

Almost nobody gave the Blue Jackets a chance in Round 1 and they throttled a serious Cup contender in Tampa. But they're coming up on a Bruins team that shouldn't take them lightly, and boasts a championship-winning core that did its job when it needed to against Toronto. Boston has a golden opportunity to come out of the Eastern Conference with the team they have now, but it won't be easy. The Islanders are coming off a series where they shutdown Sidney Crosby and company en route to a sweep. New York may have to wake up from having eliminated their first-round opponents about a week ago, but Barry Trotz's coaching will make a huge difference in this series for New York. The Sharks are loaded with star power and resolve, if Game 7 against Vegas was any indication. Joe Pavelski's health will be a talking point, of course, but the Sharks needn't rely just their captain for offense. Marc-Edouard Vlasic will have his work cut out for him trying to shutdown Colorado's main options, but I'm not sure if we talk about Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen with the same fervor we did in Round 1. Both Dallas and St. Louis are riding hot goaltenders and stellar play into the second round, but I give Dallas the edge in this series. Alexander Radulov and Ben Bishop have been warriors for Dallas, and they should be able to keep it up over a good Blues team. 

Corey Abbott

Boston over Columbus in six games 

Carolina over New York Islanders in six games 

St. Louis over Dallas in seven games 

San Jose over Colorado in six games 

Carolina will be a handful for the Islanders.  They attack offensively from everywhere and won't be looking for the pretty play.  The Hurricanes also have the defense to break down New York's forecheck.  This is likely to be a tight series, but Carolina beat a better team and rust could be an issue for the Islanders.  The Hurricanes may also be getting some reinforcements in Svechnikov and Ferland at some point during Round 2.  I don't think the Blue Jackets catch lightning in a bottle (pun intended) for a second straight series.  The battled-tested Bruins will be hungrier and they will play Columbus much tougher than Tampa Bay did.  The long layoff may also hurt the Blue Jackets more than help them.  St. Louis finished the regular season with a 24-6-4 record and they proved to be too much for the Winnipeg Jets in Round 1.  Jordan Binnington was very good for the Blues and Ben Bishop was great for the Stars, but I like the depth of the Blues more.  Having home ice-advantage and a better power play than Nashville should also serve St. Louis well versus Dallas.  This is actually a tougher pick than most because Colorado got contributions from several players when they trounced Calgary and Philipp Grubauer continued to impress in goal.  The status of Joe Pavelski is also a major question mark for the Sharks going into this series, but San Jose still has plenty of weapons offensively if he can't play.  I picked the Sharks to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final at the beginning of the year and I'm sticking with them.

Jeffrey Alfieri

Columbus over Boston in 7

New York Islanders over Carolina in 6

St. Louis over Dallas in 7

Colorado over San Jose in 6

This Columbus team reminds me a little of the Nashville squad that started the 2017 postseason by sweeping Chicago and beating St. Louis in 6 in the following round. The Blue Jackets are deep up front and have some solid puck movers at the back. They’ll go as far as Sergei Bobrovsky will take them. Barry Trotz has his team playing excellent hockey. The Islanders are structured and have just enough offense to their game to give Robin Lehner a chance every night. The Blues are the hottest team in the league. Going from dead last to upsetting the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round. St. Louis is my pick to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final. They’ll be able to make quick work of the Stars if they can expose a few cracks in Ben Bishop but Dallas’s goaltender will be able to push this to at least 6 games. A tough series to predict considering the Sharks are so much better on paper. However, San Jose uses mainly four defensemen and a long seven-game series that saw three overtime periods will be too much against the high-flying Avs. To make things worse, Erik Karlsson is battling some serious injuries and it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank. 

Dominico D’Amato

Columbus over Boston in 6

New York Islanders over Carolina in 6

Colorado over San Jose in 7

St. Louis over Dallas in 7

Columbus has had the last week off after knocking out Goliath, in the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Stanley Cup playoffs, while Boston is fresh off a Game 7 victory merely 48 hours ago. The Bruins are the highest remaining seed in the playoffs and could have home-ice advantage for the remainder of the postseason, but at times looked inconsistent against their Round 1 opponent. This should make for an entertaining series, especially from a physical standpoint, and although the Jackets won't be going 16-0 this postseason, they should still knock off the Bruins in six. Both teams surprised fans in Round 1, as the Islanders swept the experienced Penguins, and the Hurricanes beat the defending champs in seven. Both teams are riding with hot goaltending at the moment, but Carolina has scored and allowed an average of roughly 3 goals per game, while the Islanders have conceded just 6 goals in 4 games. The Avalanche players have taken the most shots per game throughout the postseason and the Sharks have allowed the fourth most. If Martin Jones provides the same goaltending as he did in Games 5-7, then the Sharks could advance to Round 2. If Jones' performances replicate those of the first four series games, then the Sharks could be out earlier than expected. This series may just end up being as entertaining as Vegas-San Jose, but I see Colorado getting the best of San Jose in this one. Both St. Louis and Dallas looked great in the first round, with timely scoring and elite goaltending. This series should go the distance and could go either way, but my gut tells me the team with home-ice will have the advantage.

Gus Katsaros

Boston over Columbus in 7

Carolina over the New York Islanders in 7

St. Louis over Dallas in 6

San Jose over Colorado in 7

I hope the Blue Jackets can conform from keeping away skilled players to playing a more grinding style against an opponent who excels using that style. “The Bunch of Jerks” are legit. They'll be challenged by the Isles, but will prevail through their ability to generate better scoring than the Penguins could muster. Strong Dallas forecheck will challenge the Blues like the Jets never did. Bishop is the Wild Card for Dallas. The strength of Colorado isn’t as deep as Vegas. The Sharks goaltending is the only point of contention. 

This is how we see it.

Boston 8 Columbus 2

New York Islanders 7 Carolina 3

St. Louis 5 Dallas 5

San Jose 6 Colorado 4

Enjoy!

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 14th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.