May 6, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23), right, is congratulated by teammates Mike Richards (10) , Matt Greene (2) , Willie Mitchell (33) and Anze Kopitar (11) after scoring a goal in the third period against the St. Louis Blues in game four of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals at the Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Blues 3-1 to win the series 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

And Then There Were Four...

Now that we’re halfway to seeing the Stanley Cup awarded, it’s time to take stock of my picks for round 2. Round 3 has begun with the Coyotes-Kings series underway at Arena in Glendale, Arizona. I had moderate success with my first round picks, so we’ll see how I did with the second round picks. I’ll also take a stab at guessing the winners of Round 3.

I chose :

Nashville over Phoenix in 6: Wrong, wrong, wrong. I actually think this was the biggest surprise. I thought the Preds could actually go all the way, they put together 4 deep lines, great D depth and excellent goaltending. Phoenix, and Mike Smith in particular, really was a difference-maker in this series.

St. Louis over L.A in 7 : Wrong again. I thought it would be close, but it actually wasn’t. I didn’t expect a sweep at all, and I thought St.Louis would have the depth to deal with the Kings. Very wrong about this one as well, but I did respect L.A. as a team so I’m not surprised they won, just didn’t think it would happen in 4.

Philly over New Jersey in 5. I guess the buildup of the win over the Pens caused an emotional letdown here. Didn’t like anything the Flyers did here, from goaltending to defence to offense. They were pretty terrible and out-hustled by the Devils the entire series. Wrong here too!

Capitals in 6 over the Rangers. I need to stop counting out the Rangers! They won this one in 7 with the help of Brad Richards despite the spectacular play of Braden Holtby.

Well, that makes me 0 for 4 and not even close. Here’s my next predictions, hoping I can do better with these.

Los Angeles over Phoenix in 7: I think it wil be close and a goaltending battle. Both teams are defensively sound, have some offensive prowess but rely mainly on the counter-attack. I like L.A here only because they seem to be showing some killer instinct. Phoenix may not be able to handle the intense pressure of the L.A forecheck either.

New Jersey vs. New York in 5. I know I said I needed to stop discounting the Rangers, but I really like the Devils in this series. They have an intense forecheck, a brilliantly playing trio of forwards in Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac

, and solid D. New York has potentially the best goalie in the NHL, but I don’t like their offensive system and I thought that the Caps did a good job demonstrating how to shut their offense down for the most part.

Enjoy the games!

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