Thursday, April 7, 2016

SN's Second Round Predictions

Round two has arrived. Here are the Station Nation staff's predictions. 

ROU (1) vs. BBA (13)
Lorne: Led by Samuel Montembeault and Philippe Sanche, Blainville-Boisbriand pulled off arguably the biggest upset in QMJHL history against the very strong Val-d'Or Foreurs in round one. While the Armada magic could lead to one - possibly two - win(s) in round two, Rouyn-Noranda is loaded top to bottom. The Huskies steamrolled Drummondville and are expected to continue to roll straight through to the finals. Huskies in 5.

Kevin: After a huge upset in the first round, the Armada have been rewarded with the Huskies. If Montembeault thought he was busy against Val-d’Or than this series might require an oxygen mask for the netminder. This could get ugly as the Huskies have the most prolific offense in the league along with quality goaltending and defense. Huskies in 4.

Jamie: The fact that the Armada made it this far is amazing – but they will not be going any further. Rouyn-Noranda proved in round one that they are a dominant team, outscoring a weak Drummondville squad 33-4. There might be a tight game or two, but this shouldn’t be much of a challenge for the stacked Huskies. Huskies in 4.

SHA (2) vs. CHA (9)
Lorne: Shawinigan finished atop a relatively weak East Division but - after adding several star veterans at the trade deadline - haven't seemed to be able to get everyone on the same page. On the other hand, Charlottetown - led by Daniel Sprong, Samuel Blais and Mason McDonald - have gotten stronger as their scrappy veterans adapted to each other. An upset appears to be looming in this series. Islanders in 6.

Kevin: I'm not a fan of making too many trades and completely revamping a roster like the Cataractes did. That being said, I'm not confident that the Isles' defenders can handle the offensive players from Shawinigan. These two teams could be in for some high scoring games despite having what should be two of the better goaltenders in the league. Cataractes in 5.

Jamie: In an odd way, I was sort of impressed by Shawinigan in the first round. The ceiling could have easily caved in but they held things together and pulled through against a pesky Sherbrooke team. Charlottetown had a tough first round series, going to overtime three times against Rimouski. I’d love to see the Isles make it to the semifinals, but I think Shawinigan’s depth will be too much to handle. Cataractes in 6.

SNB (3) vs. CAP (7)
Lorne: Saint John's depth and determination was on display in a tough first round series against Bathurst. A serious leg injury to Tampa Bay prospect Mathieu Joseph will take away a key cog for the Sea Dogs. Cape Breton also comes off a tough series against Chicoutimi. The Screaming Eagles can score in bunches but team defence continues to be questionable at times.  All signs point to a real Maritimes battle. Sea Dogs in 7.

Kevin: There’s no question that the Sea Dogs have dealt with injuries/absences throughout the season - but Joseph brings more than just offense as one of the premier two way forwards in the league. This loss is massive for Saint John. The Eagles added a lot of offensive firepower at the deadline while the Sea Dogs beefed up their defense with veteran Matt Murphy. This has the makings of one of the nastiest playoff series this year with these two combining for 2,279 PIM during the regular season. I'm looking for a seven game war in this one. Sea Dogs in 7.

Jamie: If Saint John is going to win this series they need some guys to step up offensively – and do so consistently. The loss of Joseph is huge at both ends – but particularly up front. Simply put, the Sea Dogs need to find a way to score goals because this is an Eagles team that will score goals. Saint John has the better defense, but as the Daniil Miromanov show displayed, it can be broken. I just don’t have a good feeling about this series. Sorry. Screaming Eagles in 7.

GAT (5) vs. MON (6)
Lorne: Despite only one first round loss between them, neither Gatineau nor Moncton exactly dominated in the opening round. Both teams have three forward lines who can score - but the Wildcats are led offensively by superstar/superpest Conor Garland.  However, the Olympiques are deeper on the back-end. Gatineau will focus on continuing to play tight defense - especially with an eye to pound and contain Garland. Olympiques in 6.

Kevin: Moncton will get Kevin Klima back for this series but will start without defenseman Jacob Sweeney. Gatineau is as well rounded as any team in the QMJHL including the Huskies. The question mark might be their young goaltenders - but goaltending will be a question mark at both ends in this series. The Olympiques’ young netminders have played well while the Wildcats will turn to the veteran Keven Bouchard. Olympiques in 5.

Jamie: Gatineau’s offense was, for the most part, underwhelming in the opening round against a young Remparts team. They only allowed six goals though, so there were positives. As we all know, Moncton isn’t a team built around defense and goaltending, and I think that will cost them in this series. The Conor Garland show stops here. Olympiques in 6.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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