Well the West is all set up for the second round. Im gonna start by discussing Chicago and Minnesota's series. Both beat their first round opponent, as I predicted they would in my previous entries. An overview, I only caught one game in the Minny series, but to me, St. Louis looks alot like this generations San Jose from 02-12ish. All season no playoffs. Anyhow Minny made it by them fairly slick. Chicago and Nashville, went a game longer then I predict, but anyone who was watching this series could see that Chicago was laying back more or less. They knew they would win easy, and they did, well, they'll have to grab that next gear now though to get by Minny.
Goaltending: Head to Head Minny wins, Dubnyk carried his phenomenal regular season play with him into round one meanwhile Chicago had a few goalie changes against the Preds. Dubnyk gives Minnesota the obvious goaltending advantage.
Defense: Ryan Suter and the supporting Minnesota D core are a great group and can strangle any high powered offense, but at the end of the day Kieth and Seabrook have done this before, they know what it takes, they have two rings. Top 6 to Top 6 these D cores are pretty even, Chicago's can chip in alot more offense, while Minnys can choke alot of offense out of the opponent. This category is pretty close, but Im still giving Chicago the edge.
Offense: Toews/Kane/Hossa/Sharp. Doesnt get any better then that for a playoff team. Let the Crosby's and Ovechkins have the regular season trophies, these 4 guys find ways to grab another gear time and time again. They are in their prime now, and while Minnesota's frusterating neutral zone trap will be a headache for them, these guys and the supporting cast will find ways to bang home goals. Advantage, Chicago. Now thats not to discredit Minny, they have some clutch guys, and they can roll 4 lines no problem.
Series prediction. This will be a long series, likely 7 games. Expect alot of back and forth in momentum, Chicago maybe blows em out one game, and Minny storms back and beats them the next two, stuff like that.
In the end the Hawks are just winners straight up, and will take this series in 7.