A few weeks ago, I wrote about who to root for in the playoffs since the Philadelphia Flyers were out of it. Well, the hockey gods have responded and given us an awesome first round. So, who do we like in round two? Who should you, a Flyers fan, be actively rooting for since we….and you may not have heard this…are not in this year. There are also a lot of former Flyers you can root for, including Carolina coach Rod Brind’amour.
And before I begin. I have to say this to the Boston Bruins fans………..
Oh yeah. That felt good. Kinda feels like when Tom Brady lost the perfect season right. Yeah. You thought you had it. You had the parade already planned out. That one will sting for a long, long while. Anyways….onto the matchups.
Carolina Hurricanes vs New Jersey Devils
This should be an easy one. Two Metro Division rivals. You may not like the Canes, but you probably hate the Devils. And while the Devils did dispatch the New York Rangers (thank you), they are still the Devils. I feel the winner of this series will represent the Eastern Conference in the finals.
Carolina, if all things were fair, should win this hands down. However, they lost Andrei Svechnikov before the playoffs began and Teuvo Teräväinen has been out with a broken hand. But this is something I love about hockey. He should be back in the second round against the Devils playing with a broken hand.
Former Flyer Shayne Gostisbehere has yet to register a point and he is a -2. Likewise, for everyone who thinks you need a top notch goalie to win a Stanley Cup, let me remind you that Antti Raanta won a cup last year in Colorado and is doing fine in NC. Just saying.
Root for Brind’Amour’s boys. Canes in 7.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers
Somehow, someway the Leafs always end up choking in the first round. This is the first time that the Leafs moved onto the second round since they met the Flyers in the semifinals in 2004. That was the year the Flyers lost the Eastern Conference Finals to John Tortorella and the eventual Stanley Cup winning Lightning.
The Leafs have a team that is built to win. They made a lot of trade deadline acquisitions. This should be their year. But………..
That’s what Boston thought. And a pesky bunch of former Flyers led by Nick Cousins, Alex Lyon, Radko Gudas, and Sergei Bobrovsky took down the biggest, baddest team in NHL history. And the best part is that they did it in overtime in Boston. This is a team that was down and out and roared back.
There is something about Florida that just seems scary. They are clicking at the right time and there is always that one team every year that makes a run like that. Florida will take this in 7.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars
Much like with Carolina-Jersey, whoever wins this series will probably go onto the Stanley Cup Finals. You have two teams that are loaded and doing well. This is going to be an ugly, ugly series. They will fight and push each other to the brink.
If you want to watch good hockey, this is going to be it. It’s going to be a series drug out. I think Dallas has a bit of an edge in net, but I give the advantage here to Vegas. They have the experience of going deep in the playoffs most years. I think they have that playoffs run in them. Vegas in 6.
Edmonton Oilers vs Seattle Kraken
The Oilers are the Western Conference’s version of the Leafs. Somehow, they always manage to screw it up in the playoffs. Just like the Leafs, they are built for a deep run. And you know the NHL would be just loving an Edmonton-Toronto finals. For them, that would be a Yankees-Dodgers, Cowboys-Steelers, Celtics-Lakers sort of event.
And then there is Seattle. A team in it’s second year. A team that was terrible last year. A team that has as their coach, Dave Hakstol. He couldn’t cut it here. And yet his team took down the defending champs.
This is a dangerous series for Edmonton. They will be looking past them to the winner of Vegas/Dallas and overlook Seattle. If that happens, that’s when the Kraken can do some damage. Then Edmonton will panic, play stupid and lose the series.
While I still think that is a distinct possibility, and I still think that the Kraken will give them fits, I am thinking the Oilers will win in 6.