NHL Power Rankings (Second Round Playoffs Edition): Rangers, Blues, Flyers, Devils
NHL Power Rankings (Second Round Playoffs Edition: St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers hot – New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers cold.
One of every seed remains after the first round. The top team in the NHL fell to the LA Kings, while the Florida Panthers almost took out the hottest team in the NHL entering the playoffs in the New Jersey Devils. The New York Rangers barely squeaked by the Sens, while the Philadelphia Flyers dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins. Such unpredictability is why you love the NHL Playoffs, like the Nashville Predators winning two in a row in Detroit. You can’t make this stuff up, but you can power rank it.
1. St. Louis Blues – The top remaining seed in the Western Conference absolutely dominated the perennial contenders they drew in the first round. They came within double overtime of sweeping the series and look sharp. They have the best system in hockey, and that defense isn’t going to suddenly slump.
2. Nashville Predators – After dominating the Detroit Red Wings, the Preds are hot. The Coyotes play a very similar style of hockey and the series will surely be tight given all the overtime games Phoenix played in the first round, but the Preds are playing very good hockey.
3. Philadelphia Flyers - It’s hard to poke too hard at the Flyers’ goalie problems over recent years after a dominant series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who many predicted to go deep into the playoffs. Still, a Bryz-aster could be imminent.
4. New York Rangers – Henrik Lundqvist is the great equalizer here. The Rangers don’t have to be good to win, they just need Hank to be good. The Caps are hot, though, and the Rangers have their work cut out for them after sleepwalking through the first round.
5. LA Kings – The Kings have one of the best goalies in hockey right now, which gives them a consistency that they’ll need against the league’s best defense all season. This series is sure to be a struggle.
6. Washington Capitals – Anytime you take out the defending champions, you’ve done well. The Caps are hot, but will their lack of depth be the deciding factor against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers?
7. New Jersey Devils – There’s a lot wrong with the Devils. The league’s best penalty kill ever got eaten alive by the Panthers and the offense struggled. Kovy looks hurt and DeBoer looks incompetent. Still, Marty Brodeur rose to the challenge in Game Seven and carried his team. This could be Brodeur’s last run at the Cup, and he could be all New Jersey needs.
8. Phoenix Coyotes – Honestly, the Coyotes could easily knock off the Preds. They’re getting clutch scoring, they’re battle-tested overtime warriors, and Mike Smith is as hot as they come. Someone had to finish last and it couldn’t be my Devils. The second round is sure to be great.
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