Anyway, Round 2 starts tonight with Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa at 7:30 and San Jose vs. LA at 10:00, so our Semifinal picks are going up today. You can see Allison's version on her blog, My Quarter-Life Crisis. We're awarding each other one point for each correct guess in the first two rounds, two points for each in the Finals, and three for the Stanley Cup. Whoever comes out ahead (HAHAHAHA. "Ahead.") gets a hockey-related gift from the loser. So far, just like with last year, I'm winning again.
Shame on you, Allison. Canada can't claim much, but at least you guys should have hockey. If not, you pretty much get flannel shirts. And Bieber.
Here's a recap of the Quarterfinals, pretending you guys care, and a roundup of our forecasts of the Semifinals. As always, Al is in blue; mine are in red.
NUGS vs. ALLISON, ROUND 1:
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS over NEW YORK ISLANDERS
While we both called this one, I can honestly say that watching the Isles play gave me serious doubts. This turned out to be one of the most entertaining series in the entire postseason. The Isles will definitely become a force next year, thanks to John Tavares and the rest of his line. The Islanders definitely earned some respect from their fans and their opponents, and they've become a team to look out for in the seasons to come.
OTTAWA SENATORS over MONTREAL CANADIENS
Personally I don't give a shit about either of these teams because they're Canadian and I'm not, but everyone assumed that Montreal would take this and then they didn't.
Canadians are weird. They're all nice and stuff and say "sorry" all the time and then when they play hockey they beat the living crap out of each other. Also sometimes they take themselves REALLY seriously.
NEW YORK RANGERS over WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Oh, you mean the CRAPITALS????
Now that we're safely onto the Semis, I can move onto my next round of stress-inducing coronaries. So we won, but barely. I predicted six games, but we were again forced into 7. Fortunately, the seventh game barely registered and the Craps didn't even make it onto the board. It was quite sad, really. The Craps didn't even allow themselves to die with dignity- Ovechkin later had this to say about their elimination:
Ovi on refs: "Not saying there was a phone call, but they wanted Game 7. For ratings. You know, lockout, escrow, league must make profit"
I hope this year's MVP votes aren't already in. He should be traded to Philly.
Anyway, the Blueshirts won, and that's what counts. I'll no longer have to look at Holtby's smug dick face every time he makes a save. Also on the plus side, Bobby and I can be friends again.
BOSTON BRUINS over TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
It's not so much that the Bruins won, but it's that the series ended the way that it did. Tabs actually cried when Toronto got knocked off, which I completely respect because this makes her a true fan. The Leafs played an entire round, bringing in a Game 7 that resulted in an OT win for Boston.
The question remains, though- was this a result of an incredible Quarterfinal show for the Leafs, or was Boston way off their game (no pun intended)? I'm going with the latter. I'd like to believe that Toronto is on their way to becoming more of a postseason mainstay, but somehow I think they just got hot at the right time and were met with a Bruins lineup that was a little shaken up.POINT: BOTH
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS over MINNESOTA WILD
Honestly, I'm surprised Minnesota won one game. You can blame injuries all you want, but the fact remains that Chicago is the much better team. Not only would they probably have defeated any team they played in the first round, but they will more than likely win the Cup this year. The Wild, who lack effectiveness and experience, never had a chance.
DETROIT REDWINGS over ANAHEIM DUCKS
I'm especially proud of this one because everyone thought I was clinically insane for predicting that the Wings would win. Essentially, my precognition was that Detroit's crazy power forwards would prevail over Anaheim's nasty goaltending, and that turned out to be accurate. It was a great series and an intense matchup- it went to Game 7, just like I suspected.
SAN JOSE SHARKS over VANCOUVER CANUCKS
LOS ANGELES KINGS over ST. LOUIS BLUES
Honestly, this could have gone either way. The Blues were eliminated by LA last year, so I knew they would be out for blood this time around. After St. Louis took the first two in a row, I thought that Allison may have gotten this point. LA came back though, and the series went to six games. The Blues played well, and tied the series, but eventually Quick's intense goaltending skills and LA's overall defense led to their advancement.
QUARTERFINALS POINTS TALLY:
NUGS 6, ALLISON 4
NUGS vs. ALLISON, ROUND 2:
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. OTTAWA SENATORS
NUGS: PENS over SENS in 6
I totally overestimated the Pens- or underestimated the Islanders- and had them demolishing their opponents in 5 games in the Quaterfinals. While the Pens ultimately won the first round, it was an uphill struggle, with the Isles definitely outplaying them in a couple of games. While the Pens' Crosby-Malkin line is still arguably the most formidable on the ice, Fleury proved to be less than stellar in the net once again and wound up getting pulled in favor of their back-up goalie. Meanwhile, John Tavares and his Isles struck a significant amount of fear into the Pens and their fans- look for them in many more postseasons to come.
Many still seem to think that the Pens are on their way to what would be their second Stanley Cup in under 5 years. GM Ray Shero is making the correct moves, starting Vokoun in goal for tonight's first game at the Consol.
The Sens, however, are a crapshoot- did they advance due to their own athletic abilities or because the Habs played like total shit? Sorry Allison- I know you love them, but I watched a few of those games. Except for that one matchup where everyone on the ice got in a fight, which was amazing, I really wasn't that impressed.
One thing the Sens do have in their corner is their goalie, Craig Anderson, who had a 1.49 GAA and is a Vezina Trophy finalist. Also it helps that when you add a letter to their name, "Sens" doesn't come out as "Penis."
Also "Sens" and "Pens" rhyme and that's funny.
Based solely on my observations of both teams in the Quarterfinals, I'm going to give this to the Pens. However, it will go to a Game 6.
ALLISON: SENS over PENS
I'm basing this purely on my round one observations. The Pens did not destroy the Isles as I had originally predicted. Yeah, they won the series, but NYI really did put up a fight. The Sens were extremely determined during their series against my beloved Habs. They pretty much killed us. There was no mercy. Sens are coming off of a pretty awesome win, and Pittsburgh is coming off of a struggle - I'm giving this one to Ottawa.
NEW YORK RANGERS vs. BOSTON BRUINS
NUGS: MY BLUESHIRTS over STUPID BOO-URNS in 7
This is not a biased answer because I die for the Rangers and loathe the Bruins. It happens to be a formal, educated guess based on my knowledge of the sport and my observations of Round 1.
And it's also a biased answer because I die for the Rangers and loathe the Bruins.
Boston could barely get out of a Quarterfinal round vs. the Leafs. I mean, really? Everyone was predicting a sweep and they went into an OT Game 7. The Bruins are generally very good but they almost fell to a team that hasn't won anything in almost 50 years and doesn't even realize that "Leafs" isn't even a real word. Well played, Boston. Well played.
Meanwhile, my boys succeeded in giving me another stroke this year by being forced into seven games again; fortunately Game 7 against the Craps barely even registered. We totally schooled Ovenchicken and his stupid Crapitals, and we're definitely ready to take on the Bruins. If they could hardly triumph over the Leafs, there's NO CHANCE they'll be victorious against us.
What concerns me about this matchup is that in Round 1, both of us struggled to defeat teams that we should have eclipsed in six games or less. This will make for a solid Round 2, and will cue a string of small heart attacks for me.
ALLISON: RANGERS over BRUINS
Now that the Bruins have embarrassed the Leafs successfully, I can go back to hating their stupid faces and throw this one to the Rangers.
Editor's Note: Strongly agree. I was saying Boo-Urns.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs. DETROIT REDWINGS
NUGS: HAWKS over WINGS in 6
Chicago is the team in the West that most NHL fans and analysts believe have a chance to take home the Cup. They lost 12 games all season and dominated Minnesota in the Quarterfinals.
Now that they're matched against postseason stalwarts Detroit, expect at least 6 games in this series. Not only do the Redwings have a couple of unnerving forwards in Datsyuk and Zetterberg, but their defense is getting scarier as well.
The Redwings are also very familiar with the NHL postseason, having made 22 consecutive appearances. Both teams are recent Cup winners- the Wings in '08 and the Hawks in '10- so they're both used to playing to win. This will be a very competitive series, but ultimately, the honor will go to the Hawks.
LOS ANGELES KINGS vs. SAN JOSE SHARKS
NUGS: KINGS over SHARKS in 5
I have no idea how the Sharks, perennial playoff chokers, totally swept the Canucks in the first round. That was probably a mistake. Maybe they'll win one game in San Jose, but there's no way they're advancing past the Semis.
ALLISON: KINGS over SHARKS
I have no effin' clue. I really didn't pay much attention to either of these teams much. Sure, let's go LA - why not? Chicago will kill either of these teams in Round 3.
Keep in mind that there were a lot of upsets in the first round, so more than likely, we're totally wrong again. Let us know who you guys are rooting for in the comments below, and if you agree with our picks. Notice how I didn't say "disagree," because we don't care about that.