So, the first round is over, and it's time to look at how we did. If Buccigross can admit his shortcomings, then we at Anaheim Calling can do the same. So let's do it, Arthur. Tell us what happened that affected your predictions in the first round, and lay down some predictions for the 3 series of the Conference Semis that don't involve our Ducks.
First, I'll point out to our readers that Daniel and I don't do series predictions for the Ducks because that's 7 years bad magumbo. And Daniel remembers what happened when I said the Sabres would win the Cup during the '99 All-Star Break and when I said it was the Ducks' year to win the Cup during the 2003 All-Star Break. Although, in my defense, the Sabres still haven't lost that '99 Finals (and they better hurry up and finish those games before Guy Carbonneau dies). For our breakdown of the keys to the Ducks/Wings series, head over to the CLS mini-blog.
On my first round calls, I got my winners right 5/7 and correctly predicted a Boston sweep. However, I was VERY wrong about the Blues, and I overestimated Brodeur. Though in my defense, Brodeur was the difference in those last two games. If he focuses as the clock winds down, it's NJ in 6.
Washington-Pittsburgh: From the regular season matchups, I want so desperately to pick the Capitals. Watching Ovechkin laugh and push Crosby around while Sid is on the verge of tears-- priceless. But the Capitals had trouble last series, and they had trouble at home. Fedorov AND Ovechkin would have to take this series over. And I don't think they will.
Pens in 6.
Boston-Carolina: After the end of their series with NJ, the Canes clearly have the hockey gods on their side. Boston's Irish Catholic population might be the only thing that can combat that. I'm going to say that Cam Ward has at least one bad game, and that Chara shuts down Staal. And since you have to score to win...
Bruins in 5.
Vancouver-Chicago: I picked the Hawks in a sweep last round and Vancouver losing a in a long series. Since I got those totally backwards, you'd think I'd pick the 'Nucks right? Nope. Unless I see a 100% Mats Sundin, I say Chicago keeps rolling.
Blackhawks in 6.
Well, I was also 5/7 in my predictions, probably because we picked the same teams. Sadly, we'll do it again, although for different reasons. I'd also like to point out that I had exact matches on 3/4 of the Eastern Conference series, and was sorely let down by Brodeur. I have nothing but shock over that game 7. I still don't know how Carolina did it. As for the Blues, I just don't know where they went. They didn't look at all like the team we'd seen at the end of the year, and maybe all that youth just wilted in front of Luongo and the Sedins. So, predictions for the next round:
Boston-Carolina: My heart wants to pick Carolina: they're coming off a great upset of New Jersey, Cam Ward looks like he could steal some games and that top line with Staal and Whitney looks pretty dangerous. I love a good upset as much as anyone, but Boston has too much up front and Tim Thomas doesn't look like he's getting rattled anytime soon. Still, I think Carolina gives Boston a little bit of a scare.
Bruins in 6.
Pittsburgh-Washington: I love Ovechkin, like I'd-let-him-date-my-daughter-if-I-had-one love him. He plays a style that the league hasn't seen in years. I know everyone knocks him for celebrating too much, including me, but the kid is just exciting. Whenever he touches the puck I'm waiting for something amazing to happen. But you know what happened to Wayne Gretzky when he ran into Patrick Roy, the same thing that's going to happen in this series. I'm not saying Marc-Andre Fleury is Roy-- I'm not stupid. I'm just saying that Pittsburgh wins the goalie battle by a lot. And I think people who pick Washington are forgetting something, Kunitz used to play on a very defense-oriented Anaheim team, and that guy knows how to piss people off. If I'm Bylsma, I let Kunitz go loose all over Ovechkin. The Pens are too strong up front, and they have the experience. This isn't Washington's year.
Penguins in 5.
Chicago-Vancouver. If I love Ovechkin enough to let him marry my hypothetical daughter, then the youth movement in Chicago can date my sister. Not all of them at the same time,-- this isn't that kind of website --but Toews, Sharp, or Kane can take a shot and try to tame the shrew.* The Sedins might be the best workers in the league that don't reside in Anaheim. They can cycle on a level similar to the RPG line. It's not really their game, but I've seen them do it. Sadly, that's not going to be enough. Mats isn't 100%, no matter how much rest he's had. Mostly because he is just out of gas. Chicago is too young, too fast and they just look hungry. They had so many opportunities to fold to the Flames, but they kept coming back. Others might say that Luongo can win this series for the Canucks, but I think he's going to be blinded by the glint coming off Khabibulin's '04 Cup Ring. That's right, I said it!! The Bulin Wall is going to outduel Vancouver's darling of the pipes. Look for Luongo to give up another softy when it matters most, like he did in Vancouver's defeat at the hands of the '07 Ducks.
Blackhawks in 6.
In reference to Daniel's sister: I wouldn't call her a shrew, but I AM surprised I've never found her on "that kind of website."
Trimming The Playoff Tree 2: Bonsai Edition