SECOND ROUND PREVIEW
Pekka Rinne is sitting in 7th among the 2nd round starting goalies with a .909 sv% but that isn't to say he has played poorly. The Preds haven't given up too many shots and most of the goals Rinne has given up were nice plays or temporary defensive lapses. Also, as I already covered, one of the goals allowed should not have counted. Take that goal away and his sv% jumps to .916. That just shows the low sample size we have to work with through just six games of action against the same team. If Rinne stumbles, Juuse Saros might be the strongest backup in the playoffs.
We will have a nice difference in styles as we see Rinne do battle with Connor Hellebyuck who's calm, cool, and collected demeanor has been welcome for the Jets. He also got yanked in Game 3 but finished off with back-to-back 30 save shutout performances. This should be a fun series to watch
Considering how well Rinne and Hellebyuck were playing, it's impressive that their matchup could be completely overshadowed by Marc-Andre Fluery and Martin Jones. In the first round, the Sharks allowed 4 goals in their 4 game sweep of the Ducks. The Knights allowed 3 goals in their 4 game sweep of the Kings. Overall, Fleury and Jones combined to stop 155 of the 162 shots they faced. They both faced more than 30 shots per game and allowed 1 or less goal per game. In short, expect a ton of shots, a ton of saves, and a ton of overtimes. Fleury topped Jonathan Quick in a heavy-weight slugfest. Jones bested John Gibson. Another drastic difference in technique will be on display as Fleury used his speed to fly around the net in the first round and Martin Jones put together a technical masterpiece and still ended up seeing over 30 shots per game. This is going to be a ton of fun to witness. Get your popcorn ready.
This is an interesting series as both teams faced tougher competition than anticipated in the first round. Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning were able to move on from the Devils in 5 games but the high scoring lightning power play was stifled over the final three games of the series and each game was a tightly contested battle of willpower from both goalies. Vasilevskiy had some large gaps in shot attempts but never lost focus and never allowed his team to slip to the underdog Devils.
Rask and the Bruins jumped to a 3-1 series lead and put up goals on a porous Frederik Andersen but couldn't hold their own in games 5 and 6. They hit the scoreboard hard in game 7 but this team, including Rask, is going to have to be much more consistent if they want a chance against the Lightning in this series.
It's Deja Vu all over again as the Pens will Face-Off with the Caps in the second round for the third year in a row. Two years ago it was Murray, last year it was Fleury, and this year it will be Murray again who will take on Braden Holtby who has gotten flack for his performance in the series the past few years. Holtby is on fire heading into the series, single-handedly turning the first round against the Blue Jackets. Meanwhile, Murray struggled a bit in the final two games of the series. In the first four games, he looked like one of, if not the top goalie in the playoffs. In the final two, he looked like possibly the worst heading into the second round. If Holtby keeps up his play, the Pens are going to need Murray to play more consistent, otherwise the Caps may finally get over the hump this season.