Round 2 Results

The Conference Finals start on Thursday. I'll have my picks up by then.

East

#1 Buffalo vs. #6 NY Rangers
Prediction
Sabres in 7

Results
Sabres in 6

The way this series was going, I had a feeling that the first team to win a road game would win the series. Both teams held serve on their home rinks through Game 5, and with the exception of Game 1, every game in the series was decided by one goal. That put the pressure in Buffalo to win Game 6 at Madison Square Garden, especially after the Sabres were :08 and one Chris Drury goal from losing Game 5. Jaromir Jagr played the most inspired post-season hockey we've seen from him since his days in Pittsburgh, but the Sabres found a way to stay one step ahead.

#2 New Jersey vs. #4 Ottawa
Prediction
Senators in 6

Results
Senators in 5

Hey, Lou! Guess what? Your system isn't so automatic that any old fool can coach it. Not that Claude Julien would have helped against a Senators team that just keeps building momentum. The goaltending match-up turned out backwards: Ray Emery brimming with confidence, and Martin Brodeur getting beaten glove-hand way too often. Scott Gomez boosted his free agent value with his scoring touch, but a lack of scoring depth hurt the Devils.

West

#1 Detroit vs. #5 San Jose
Prediction
Sharks in 6

Results
Red Wings in 6

For the first time in years, Detroit showed some killer instinct in the second round. After losing Game 1 at home, they bounced back. Taking Game 4 in San Jose gave them all the momentum they needed. Even an uncharacteristic soft goal that Dominik Hasek let through to give the Sharks the first goal of Game 5 didn't make a difference in Detroit's attitude. The Sharks, on the other hand, couldn't get out of the Wings' slow, steady grip. San Jose couldn't find the grit down the stretch, and allowed Detroit to out-hustle them.

#2 Anaheim vs. #3 Vancouver

Prediction
Canucks in 5

Results
Ducks in 5

So much for sticking with my original picks. Score, Canucks. You have to score. Your power play can not be that pathetic. Your top lines can not cruise through the offensive zone. You can not hang your goaltender out to dry. Game 5 would have been a 7-1 bloodbath, not a 2-1 double-overtime thriller, if Roberto Luongo hadn't played lights-out. At least until Rob Niedermayer interfered with a Canucks player on the boards. Then Luongo finally let his guard down, too busy complaining to the refs to notice that brother Scott had just fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line. But the rest of the team let Luongo down long before Luongo let them down.

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