NHL Second Round Picks: Eastern Conference = AFC

Patrik Laine and the Jets are looking to upend the top-seeded Predators after dispatching of the Wild in 5 games in the opening round.

My apologies for being a day late. Don’t let that fool you into thinking I would have picked the Capitals to break through against the Penguins. The mental roadblock that will never clear is going to keep DC sports fans stuck in a Groundhog Day loop forever and ever (amen). Much like the AFC in football, the Eastern Conference is a Pittsburgh-New England theme, and just like in football, the Penguins can’t beat the Bruins, either.

Without further ado, my picks:

Penguins vs. Capitals

Okay, sorry again, I’m a day late. Either way, the Penguins are winning this series. They are in the Caps’ heads, plain and simple, and can literally flip a switch whenever they want to. Boston is the only team that can beat them, but they will at least get by the patsy Capitals. Prediction: Penguins in 6.

Bruins vs. Lightning

The Lightning won the division, but so what? The Bruins went 3-1 against them in the regular season and are the grittier, more physical team. This year looks a lot like 2013, when the Bruins nearly blew a 3-1 lead to the Leafs, then went on to the Cup (by beating the Pens in the Eastern finals, no less). It will be a good series, but won’t go the distance. Prediction: Bruins in 6.

Golden Knights vs. Sharks

Admittedly, being late to the party here means my thoughts are a little skewed by last night’s 7-0 romp. But again, I thought Vegas was the better team coming in and so I would have taken them anyway. This might be a team of destiny (until they face Boston, at least) as they have started to resemble my favorite “got hot and forgot” theory after cooling off a bit at midseason. San Jose missed its big shot in 2016, and this is Vegas’ time now. Prediction: Golden Knights in 5.

Jets vs. Predators

Maybe the best series of the four, there was a brief moment when I felt like the winner of this series would win the West. Vegas will have something to say about that, but Winnipeg and Nashville are both coming off convincing series wins in the opening round (Winnipeg more so). Winnipeg’s speed is a tough matchup for anyone, but the Preds are on a mission after coming up just short last year. I’ll go a little sentimental with the pick here. Prediction: Jets in 7.

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