How's it going boys? Taking another kick at the can here as I received a lot of positive feedback on my last review and as requested....................... here is a review of the West as we near the start of Round 2! Enjoy! Round 2 Baby; Anaheim Ducks vs Arizona Coyotes Grab some bread, we're heading to the pond Anaheim is coming off of a 5 game series win vs @Shockz and his HWOOD boys. It was a hard fought series but the Ducks proved why they were the favourites heading into the previous series. Led by @CaLL Me Jakoo and @Odieeeeee, Anaheim will be looking to keep their momentum as they look to take on another Pacific rival. Anaheim's depth up front is immensely deep. Arguably the deepest in the entire league, they have what I like to call a Line 1A and a Line 1B with an avid and active "third line". There's no disputing the success of @Girgss this season, as he looks to keep the pedal to metal going into round 2. @Trobs will be the man in the middle with him as they went 2-0-0 in round 1. Not too mention there is some chemistry from the past off of the SQ team. Look for these two to build on top of their current success. @CaLL Me Jakoo ,@DeLong x 22 ,and @Yahter look to continue the lime green pride in the post season, as this Rated R crew is elusive and exciting to watch, while being very dangerous on the rush and down low. When you're 3rd line has the ability to go 2-0-0 in a playoff series, it instils confidence throughout the team. Former 1st round hero @No Regretzkys will look to keep things in check for the lethal third line. When you look at this D-core, some may be left wondering how is this feasible? Obviously we know what Odie brings to the table, but he's only one man. @Ca Na Da 4L and @xXShadillacXx are two big reasons why this teams maintained confidence in their blue line. Canada has developed into a respectable D-man who can carry that 2nd unit. Shadillac has proved any doubters wrong this season. He's had his fair share of tough match ups and with Odie as your other partner you're going to improve. They have a lot of real nice, cheap contract guys on D that have just been sticking to their system and doing what needs to be done on a nightly basis. @l Wall x 31 l has been a rock for the guys, as he came up big in a 2-1 OT W followed up with a penalty shot save, which ultimately could've allowed the Kings to find their footing and push things the distance. He tends to get better as the shots come in. His ability to read those cross crease, back door plays really makes teams switch things up, faltering some systems that have been put into play. @l V a s l is no stranger. He's won a cup recently and is more than capable of being a starter if needed. First one to the Yotes? Coming off of a Game 6 Series win over @BigJayAyotte and the Oilers, @Lehkonen x 62 and his Desert Dogs look to keep things rolling into Round 2. A lot of people were shocked on how relentless EDM was at times during the series and really gave some push back. It was definitely the most anticipated series in Round 1. The Yotes will gladly take ownership of playing the "under dog" role in this one. A focal point for Arizona has really been that third line led by @Project EBZ and his support cast of @Gilbzey and @Wesley Snip3zzz. These guys just keep finding ways to pick up a much needed win when called upon. Very impressed with their play, as all 3 like to get into a transitional tempo, by driving a lot to the net, finding that F2 driving the middle for either that open lane, or that coveted rebound. There were moments they were hemmed in their end by EDM, but they seemed to find a way to weather the storm, and put a dagger into the momentum of the opposing team with a real gritty goal going the other way. @Sitful is talented in his own right and shockingly had a remarkable season with underrated line mates @l Sakic l and @iAMoee. These boys will meet their true test in this one. Take your pick, but I'd imagine they'll go head to head with one of the two big lines for ANA. I have seen @l Sakic l and @iAMoee play enough to know that they are extremely dangerous, especially with a gifted centre between them. They thrive on getting a cycle game going when its warranted, but if the communication is there, look for @Sitful to man this top unit and really showcase what he's made of. Emphasis will be put on face off wins to gain that crucial initial possession and reserve that stamina. I really like this D-core heading into this one. It seems to be common trend with these teams. Their lower seeded guys have really come into an element and have been able to grab teams by surprise. Keeping things simple will be another key for the blue line. Having @goonderk, who is great at picking his spots and has a high succession rate when he decides to carry it in, can rub off on some of these other guys in my opinion on the do's and donts. @Joorrdan and @l GET BUSY l did a terrific job moving the puck between both and minimising obvious tendencies when breaking the puck out. What makes this D-core so underrated is their ability to reset and moving back and forth between each other with the puck, typically behind their own net in the D-zone to allow forwards to reset. Like any D-core, they will get caught on their toes at times, but seem to have a system in place that allows them to correct current matters. A career season for @LEG3NDz R41Nz and a Vezina nominee. He needs to keep the ship in order heading into this one. He will be tested like no other this series. A big question mark still lies as some goalies will crumble under the tall task at hand, while others will rise to the occasion. I'd like to think after his performance in the previous series and a couple highlight reel saves, Legend is ready for the task at hand because the boys are going to need him to bring his best, and backstop the Yotes to a big time series. Minimising his movements in the cage and challenging the shooters will be a big key to his game. Series Analysis: Forward Edge: Defence Edge: Goalie Edge: It's cut and dry for me here. Anaheim will look to take it to Arizona and run the score board up, while ARZ will look to capitalise off of turnovers. The first goal in this series will be big because that will dictate how the game will be played. If ARZ is forced to open things up it could result in an onslaught, while ANA needs their D to remain strong as some haven't been tested to their true capabilities yet until now, in Round 2. @goonderk and @Sitful need to be perfect and get their team those 2 big ones as a lot faith has been put into them. I firmly believe most, if not all the games will be those 1 goal games if both teams can follow up with their past resumes. Players To Watch: @l Wall x 31 l - He will be relied upon to come up with 1 massive performance within the first 4 games of this series if they look to close this one out in a timely fashion again. Wall hasn't really had any luck when it comes to the post season in the NHL, but he looks to fight adversity and prove why he's the go to man in between the 4 by 6 for this one. He's showed hes VERY capable of carrying the load when needed, but can the Ducks get another big game out of him? Time to find out. @Ca Na Da 4L - Will likely be blessed with playing against the ARZ top line at least once. He has shown composure throughout the season and post season, but will be needed on this second unit to really demand the puck and keep his counter parts in line. If he's able to acclimate himself to a high paced, intensified series and take charge of being the lead man on the back end without Odie, I like this teams chances. @DeLong x 22 - Al though Delong has lost interest in the game, he still needs to be respected with and without the puck. He has a shoot first mentality and looks to open things up through winding down the half boards and timing those cuts in hopes of a drive to the net sequenced play. Look for him to hang around the goal line and around the dots when the guys get going in the ozone with their cycle game. I expect Delong to elevate his game as we enter the main stage of the post season. @Lehkonen x 62 - If the match ups in game 3 and 4 can favour these guys, look for this guy to exploit some potential holes. Like most frenchies, he likes to get greasy and get pucks down low for some wraps and get some of those annoying short side shots in along the goal line. He really needs to step up and find another gear for that 2nd unit upfront. He can be hit or miss, but has the tools to get it done against a bottom 6 forward line. Lehk is underrated but the consistency needs to be there for him to reach his ceiling. @goonderk - Needs to do what any high price tagged D-man is expected to do. Take charge of the puck and the game needs to flow through him as he should be calling a lot of the shots with the puck. I think his patience could pay dividends in getting some crucial chances for his forwards, but they need to finish them. Once this guy gets a head of steam, its hard to slow him down. @Project EBZ - One of those guys that likes to get the puck to the net and catch people off guard. He's factored in on every goal his line scored in the EDM series. The key for him is to continue to use his line mates and not to get frustrated as it will take time to get a feel in that first 20 minutes of play. He loves to cause havoc in and around the net and pound pucks to the net regardless of his location in the ozone. PREDICTION: in 5 Colorado Avalanche vs Dallas Stars We'll kick things off in the Mile high state The Avs were able to take care of business vs the San Jose Sharks in another grudge match of series as both teams faught tooth and nail in this one. Ultimately, @NINETY ElGHT and the boys got the job done in 6 games. Colorados depth proved that they could over take a moderately top heavy team in the San Jose Sharks. I can't help but reiterate how deep this team is down the middle. With guys like @jared2112 , @Arctic Blur , and @rG Breezyy it's tough to match that kind of talent. Big thing with this forward core is chemistry. @rG Breezyy and @Lorenzo x 24 have played seasons prior together, and @NINETY ElGHT did a terrific job in bringing in the previous Rookie of the Year of season 30, @Arctic Blur. For me, @Lorenzo x 24 still isn't given the respect he deserves. He's extremely patient with pucks and finding the seems to open things up. Lorenzo so far in the post season has been this teams most valuable guy so far in the post season and I have no reason to believe he has no plans on slowing down. Again, this team doesn't have a third line. They damn well know every night there's an opportunity to win as they can role out a solidified front 9 that's hard to beat on the depth scale. When you're walking the walk and talking the talk, it's nothing but sweet chin music for these boys. This D-core is led by @trevwings as he had a very respectable regular season finishing in the top 10 in points while most importantly transitioning his game to the post season. Big time surprises in @Leroy Alexander and @Remi l9l as these two have just kept finding ways to get it done in the back end, while also pitching in on the score card at times as well. Most would think @ZuKe Zuchegno would be tasked with having to run it on the back end but this is a perfect example of an "all hands on deck" D-core. When you have guys willing to play either side and just filling in when needed, it allows better match ups. Al though I still think some of these guys need to make it by this round to show that their season wasn't a bluff, I do believe with the Offence in front of them, this will boast confidence in some of these guys. It's a new season so lets see what these boys are made of. Goalies have been nothing but superb led by the man himself @Tex243. Tex had a solid season and he started the playoffs on a tear against San Jose. @Tex243 is HANDS DOWN this teams MVP right now and if he continues to ride the wave he's been on, good luck scoring. Tex needs to keep this up though as many would still question the D capabilities in some areas. I don't think that first shot is usually a problem, but guys need to give him the support he needs by clearing pucks out and keeping his crease opened up so he can track down those point shots to minimize tips. Questions are surrounded on their back up goalie, but as long as the team feels confident in him, that's all that matters. Grab your fiddles boys, we're heading to Dallas The Dallas Stars are coming off of a 4-2 series win against @VVaGs82 and his Wild. Nothing against the Wild, but I believe they were honestly just playing with house money once they got into the post season and the Stars were destined to take care of business. Led by @Stifmeister x 7 and @GreasyGogan up front, it's a rather unique duo that has formulated ways to bring in some chemistry and really get things done on the score sheet. @Stifmeister x 7 in my opinion is arguably one of the BEST left wings in the game when he's on. He can almost one man show some games with the puck. He is just so crafty and relentless on the puck, most teams get sick of dealing with this guy. Supported by fellow Maritimer (not a big deal), @GreasyGogan has always been a high calibre centre when he decides to play. A lot of Gogans history just in general stems from not having any support cast on hand, but with this duo these guys are ready to get their work boots on and get to work. I'm not worried about these guys but this is when you need everyone chipping in as it can't be a one way street here. Look for @Eatchy , @I St Michel I , and @Schlemko x 17 to pick up the slack as there will be no buy outs for this series. This D-core is set up perfectly. You have you're main 3 in @BacKLuND x 22 , @Poooch , and @x TERRY x 77 who can all play either side which is a rare commodity to find. Each guy can carry one of the other 3 guys and it allows Dallas to continuously roll out a reliable pairing. The Big 3 on the back end can all move pucks and make their mark on the blue line. @Poooch hides in the shadows as he seems to be underestimated at times. I like this guys ability to hold pucks and get pucks through traffic. @x TERRY x 77 is one of the better LD in the game when he's on and focused. He's so good with the puck and making those smart dump in plays, famously the chip off the glass nearing the blue line which does wonders for the guy in simplifying things and stepping around oppositions to gain the zone. I hope Terry remembers his Crocs for this one, because I can see a lot of jumping throughout these pivotal games. #ProtectTheFeet Both @Yantzer x 84 and @CjC Cobras have held their own and are both capable of giving this team the minutes needed. There's reason to think why there could be some questions on these guys, but both have been sticking to it this post season, keeping goal margins next to nil. Based on availability given would likely dictate the starter, but only the internal group of Dallas can answer that. I'd like to think Cobra will get the nod as he showed in game 6 he can lock it down and remain focused even on a quite night which can throw some tenders off. @Yantzer x 84 is usually a sound positional goalie who likes to play similar to a "Lundqvist style" where @CjC Cobras isn't afraid to make a few spontaneous and rather un- orthodox saves but both gentlemen get it done in their respective fashions. Underrated tandem, but I like it. Series Analysis: Forward Edge: Defense Edge: Goalie Edge: Simply do to the fact in Colorados back up situation in net, I would have more confidence in the duo in Dallas. If Tex could play all 7, it's a different story. Dallas needs to be careful with line match ups. Game 3 and 4 MUST be approached properly as they have the tools to keep up, but if they can't get favourable match ups, specifically on the back end to lock down the COL top heavy Forward core, they will get into some treacherous territory. @BacKLuND x 22 is ultimately the puzzle piece. It all comes down to what this guy can give Dallas as he's going to be relied on like back in the VHL days for this one. Colorado needs to get on Dallas quick every game. Based on the personalities and tendency's in the Dallas locker room, it doesn't take much to set some of their stars off. I believe Colorado will have a strong possession game against the lines 2 and 3 vs Dallas but I know Dallas is going to hang around and try and spin those 10 min TOA to 2 min TOA games in their favour. This is why goal-tending will be the ultimate fate. She's gonna be closer then what boys are expecting. She could be going the distance in this one boys, so get your dancing shoes out and get ready to rumble. Players To Watch: @Lorenzo x 24 - Can he maintain his pace of dominance? If he finds his game right out of the gates look out. He doesn't exactly make a living off of the rush but look for him to allow his other 2 line mates to pitch in on the rushes. Lorenzo likes to get up to the top of the circles, curl and weigh his options. Be aware of the quick give and go play from the corner as well. This guy can score anywhere's. @jared2112 - An obvious choice but this guys dynamite. He can do it all and his line makes him even more potent and lethal. He doesn't demand to have the puck at all times, but he is so good at making quick with the pucks and being efficient. Jared needs to stick to his guns and take care of business, as usual. Look for constant touches from him and his 2 wingers to open things up to gain the zone. @Remi l9l - It's time to see what the man has left in the tank. He'll likely be tasked with playing against the Dallas big guns at least once, so it's interesting to see how he can transition his game to a high paced tempo. He needs to keep things simple and not get carried away in the moment as he's proven he's a rising up and coming D-man. Quick out let passes will be an asset. Time to take the big stage my man. @Stifmeister x 7 - Everything relies on Stiff taking care of business in his 2-3 designated games this series. Maintaining composure and not getting into the mentality of becoming a one man show is key. There's a time and place for it, which he can do but stick to the system. This guys made a living off of coning D-men on the blue line and taking it to the house. It's an odd shot, but hes not scared to take far out back hand flutter shots, which can catch goalies off guard. There's no book on this guy. Just pray he doesn't eat your D-man alive 1 on 1. @GreasyGogan - The greasy skid himself. He isn't the flashiest guy out there but he sure knows how to get things done. He needs to keep pace in the face off dots and really making sure he's getting back and supporting his D, as they will look to get chances off of the neutral zone turn overs. He likes that LT trigger and can draw a lot of penalties, and this is where these boys get a lot of their work done. He's a disciplined guy, who can rise to the occasion. Dallas needs him to elevate his game for this one. @x TERRY x 77 - Simple. Terry needs to slow things down and get shots on net as he is very good at walking the line and picking corners from out far. He needs to make sure he isn't getting caught as a 4th forward though as this COL will burn them. Cannot stress patience and re-grouping. Terry should be demanding the puck and opening things up for neutral cuts on the forwards. He'll make the tape to tape passes but will opt to carry and dump, as Dallas is a hard 2-3 fore checking team. PREDICTION: in 7 Remember boys; A 2 on the road, is a 10 at home. Keep your sticks on the ice and have a VERY Happy New Year! Cheers, Donny.