Round Two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs gets underway this weekend with the Conference Semi-Finals about to begin.
The series I will be most interested in is the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. Can Darryl Sutter incorporate a similar game plan to shock the Blues like he did the Vancouver Canucks? The Blues looked great in beating the San Jose Sharks in five games and look even more dangerous in the playoffs than they did in the regular season because they are very healthy. Andy McDonald, Alexander Steen and David Perron, who all missed considerable time during the regular season, combined for 14 playoff points in five games.
As for the Kings, captain Dustin Brown was their best player against the Canucks. He led the team with five points and was very physical along the way.
Game one is Saturday night at 5:30pm on TSN. My pick is Blues in five. Here are the other events I’ll be watching:
Saturday–ATP–Barcelona Open Semi-Finals–(3) David Ferrer–ESP vs. (11) Milos Raonic–CAN–5:30am–Sportsnet One–Milos Raonic won the match of his career on Friday, defeating Andy Murray of Great Britain in straight sets in the Barcelona Open quarterfinals. On Saturday, he will try and defeat another elite player in Spain’s David Ferrer. The Spaniard is 3-0 against Raonic including a victory in the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2011. Spaniards Fernando Verdasco is playing Rafael Nadal in the other semi-final.
Saturday–MLB–Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals–11am–FOX–With the loss of Albert Pujols and an early injury to Chris Carpenter, the Saint Louis Cardinals have simply not missed a beat and continue to lead the National League Central at 12-7. One major reason for the Cardinals success has been their starting pitching, led by Saturday’s starter Kyle Lohse who is 3-0, and an earned run average of 0.99.
Saturday–NHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final Game 1–Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers–1pm–NBC–Both the Capitals and Rangers were pushed to the limit in round one, having to finish their series in seven games. Brad Richards, who won the Conn Smythe Award with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, leads the Rangers in playoff points with five. Alexander Ovechkin, who saw his regular season point total drop to 65 this season, the lowest in his career, still led the Capitals with five points in their upset over Boston. My pick is Rangers in seven.
Sunday–MLB–Boston Red Sox @ Chicago White Sox–12pm–Sportsnet One–After a very slow start to the season, the Red Sox are now on fire, winning four straight games, scoring 34 runs over that time period. David Ortiz is looking like the player he was a few years ago. So far this season he is batting .420 with 16 runs batted in.
Sunday–NHL Eastern Conference Semi-Final Game 1–New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers–1pm–NBC–Even though the Flyers are the fifth seed in the East, they have home ice advantage in the second round because of all the upsets that transpired. Don’t be stunned if the Flyers score with as much ease on Martin Brodeur as they did on Marc-Andre Fleury in round one. At 39 years of age, Brodeur hasn’t been saving the puck with the same consistency as he did earlier on in his career. The Flyers win in six.
Sunday–Western Conference Semi-Final Game 2–Nashville Predators @ Phoenix Coyotes–6pm–TSN–The Coyotes lead the series on an overtime winner by Ray Whitney of Fort Saskatchewan in game one. The Predators lost despite outshooting the Coyotes 42-24. The Predators are too good defensively and will win the series in six.
Tags: alexander ovechkin, alexander steen, andy mcdonald, boston red sox, brad richards, chicago white sox, darryl sutter, david ferrer, david ortiz, david perron, dustin brown, fernando verdasco, kyle lohse, los angeles kings, milos raonic, milwaukee brewers, nashville predators, new jersey devils, new york rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, phoenix coyotes, RAFAEL NADAL, ray whitney, st. louis blues, st. louis cardinals, tampa bay lightning, washington capitals