We move on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Currently, there are five former University of North Dakota hockey players playing in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Last week, five former UND players’ had their seasons ended: Blackhawks (Nick Schmaltz and Jonathan Toews), Bruins (Drew Stafford), Sharks (Aaron Dell), and Wild (Zach Parise). On an interesting note, not a single team’s first-round series went past six games.
Drake Caggiula, Edmonton Oilers – With their victory against the San Jose Sharks, the Oilers move on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after eliminating the Sharks. In six games, Caggiula has yet to record a point and he’s a plus-one.
Taylor Chorney, Washington Capitals – Has yet to play a game during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. I went back and checked the player’s logs, and Chorney hasn’t played with the Capitals since February 25, 2017. It doesn’t look like he’s going to play unless there’s an injury to one of the Capitals’ top-six defenders.
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals – During the Capitals first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Oshie has scored (3g-4a—7pts) in six games. Currently, Oshie is also the Capitals leading scorer. The Capitals defeated the Maple Leafs 4-2. Based on his play this season, Oshie could be getting a big pay raise, he’s an unrestricted free agent after the season is over.
Carter Rowney, Pittsburgh Penguins – Rowney’s Penguins eliminated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games. Rowney didn’t record a point in five games, and he was a minus-one. Rowney has found a home on the Penguins fourth line playing with former St. Cloud State Husky forward Matt Cullen.
Jordan Schmaltz, St. Louis Blues – Schmaltz has played in one of Blues first five games and hasn’t recorded a point. Last Thursday, Schmaltz was sent down to the Chicago Wolves. Schmaltz has been playing with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. The Wolves are currently tied with the Charlotte Checkers 2-2 in their first-round series. In four games with the Wolves, Schmaltz has scored (1g-3a—4pts). Below are highlights of game four between the Checkers and the Wolves. You will see Schmaltz score a goal.
Second Round Matchups
Pittsburg Pittsburgh vs. Washington Capitals – One of the more exciting matchups of the second round is the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. It will be Alex Ovechkin versus Sidney Crosby. Oshie will have a front seat to this matchup playing on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. This series will also feature Oshie and Chorney vs. Rowney.
During the regular season, the Penguins were the top-ranked offense scoring 282 goals. The Penguins had the third ranked power play scoring at 22.98 %. The Capitals finished third with 263 goals. The Capitals were ranked fourth on the power play scoring at 23.08 %. My prediction, the Capitals in six games.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers – The upstart Oilers led by Connor McDavid take on the Ducks in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This series will test your moxie and truly be a midnight hockey series. Caggiula has been playing on the top forward line with McDavid.
During the regular season, the Ducks finished 17th in goal scoring with 223 goals. The Ducks were ranked 17th on the power play scoring at 18.73%. During the regular season, the Oilers were eighth in goal scoring with 244 goals. The Oilers were fifth on the power play scoring at 22.86 %. My Prediction, the Ducks in five games.
Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues – The Nashville Predators dispatched the Chicago Blackhawks in four games and were impressive doing it. On the other hand, the St. Louis Blues relied on goaltending and tight checking to close out the Minnesota Wild in five games. It’s unknown if former UND defenseman Jordan Schmaltz will play in this series. At the present moment, Schmaltz isn’t projected in game one’s lineup. My Prediction, the Predators in six games.
New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators – There are no former UND hockey players playing in this series. On paper, this series shouldn’t be close, the Rangers were ranked fourth in goals during the regular season, the Senators were ranked 22nd. During the regular season, the Rangers were ranked 10th on the man advantage, and the Senators were ranked 24th. The Rangers have a solid goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist backing them up. My prediction, the Rangers in five games.