Well now that round sure was intriguing! The Western Conference proved itself the more interesting half of the league with two tight compelling second round series, and well…thanks for coming out Eastern Conference. Let’s here from our two organic and one metallic prognosticators.
In third place is a man who correctly predicted both the Kings and Blackhawks victory, which brings his total to eight points is Troy!
Troy Says: Watching Pittsburgh obliterate Ottawa was tough but it just goes to show how deep this team really is. I thought Ottawa was going to be a tough and gritty opponent but not so much. Pittsburgh outclassed Ottawa and certainly deserved to win.
The other series in the East was a bit of a let down as well. I thought The Rangers would have put up more of a fight against the Bruins which come to think of it is probably why they’re looking for a coach now!
In the West it was a completely different story. Both series went to the limit and the Red Wings showed us once again that there’s something magical about this team when they get into the playoffs. In the other series the Sharks showed us that they weren’t going to be knocked down so easily. If only game 7 had been in the Shark tank they might have taken it!
Now onto the next round!
The interesting aspect of this year’s third round is that the cream has definitely risen to the top. It would be very easy to argue that the four remaining teams were the four best teams in the regular season which ironically enough is not something that happens very often. Now it gets interesting. We’re really going to get to see what each team is made of. The four remaining teams also happen to be the last four Stanley Cup winners so no one can question the determination and experience of any of the teams.
After jumping out to a commanding lead in the first round, things sputtered for our next player who, like Troy went 2-0 in the West, but 0-2 in the East, bringing his total to 11 is the Canadian $2 Coin!
In first place he went 4-0 last round and even called the Penguins 5 game series win, this edges him into first place with 12 points…it is the proprietor of this blog, Glen!
Glen Says: Well, well, well…looks like I was 4-0 last round! Way back in the first round, which started approximately 37 years ago I said that it would be the Penguins over the winner of the Blues-Kings series. Don’t click back to see who I said would win that Western 4-5 matchup, it’s not worth it. This past round has really strengthened my resolve.
Oh right the games that were actually played…the Eastern Conference was quite the dull mess as The Penguins completely outclassed the Senators and the Bruins won the battle of teams that got lucky first round match-ups by actually not sabotaging their coaches career.
But however they got here, they are here. On paper these two teams are clearly the best teams in the Eastern Conference, which may be like claiming to the soberest mayor in Canada.
The West on the other hand gave us two classic series between two geographic rivals. Sure the better teams won, but both losing teams really have something to hang their hats on. Both teams were seen as past their prime at the start of the season, and both the Sharks and Red Wings proved that they aren’t done quite yet. Remember, last year nobody took the Kings to an elimination game, and the Blackhawks did not lose three games in a row until this series.
The Kings-Hawks series is going to be melt your mind awesome, really that’s all there is to it.
What’s more exciting is that these four elite teams are all going to be in separate divisions next year, and with a new playoff format coming, it wouldn’t be shocking to see either of these matchups in the Conference Finals sometime very soon.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
#1 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs. #5 LOS ANGELES KINGS
THE BESTS IN THE WESTS
Troy Says: After having been down 3-1 in their series against the Wings I think the Blackhawks may have finally woken up. In their first round they made it through simply because….well…simply because they were playing the Wild…but the Hawks were definitely not firing on all cylinders. Not until a determined and stubborn Detroit team woke them up. In the end it still took overtime to get it done but I think Chicago will be able to use that momentum to help them in this series. On the other side of the coin the key for the Kings is obviously Quick. He can turn this series around in a heartbeat and if he steps his game up Chicago is going to find it tough. In the end though I think the Blackhawks come through.
Hawks in 6.
Glen Says: While both teams took similar paths to get here, I can’t help but think that they are heading on different paths. The Hawks needed more than seven games to beat a seven seed while the Kings seem like they are turning into the juggernaut that we saw last year. The key to this series is going to be home ice, heading into this series these teams have a combined 13-1 home record in these playoffs. Sure that may lean things towards Chicago, but if any team can sneak a win out at the Madhouse it’s the Kings who went approximately a billion and one last year on the road in the playoffs. Last round I said LA would beat Chicago in 7, I feel more confident here…
Kings in 6.
Coin Says: Blackhawks in 5
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
#1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. #4 BOSTON BRUINS
THE BEASTS IN THE EAST
Troy Says: Well the subplots leading into this series are more worthy of a soap opera than a playoff series. The Bruins were scorned by Iginla at the trade deadline and now he gets to play against them for the right to play for the cup. I doubt at this point anyone would be able to question Iggy’s decision but I bet there are still a few fans in Bean Town that may beg to differ! And I’m sure most of them will be in the arena. Shed in a completely different light we have the return of the ageless Jagr who returns to where it all started. Jagr is a completely different player then he was during his Penquins’ heydays. He has morphed himself into the kind of leader that a team like Boston needs. He’s not the scorer he was but he’s been a very valuable addition to this team for sure.
If we look at the two teams I still see Pittsburgh as the deeper group. Their only real weakness was in net but Vokoun was more than adequate against the Senators so I think they may have solved that dilemma. With goaltending no longer a question the Penguins are a monster and I don’t think they’re going to be stopped in this series. They are too deep and too skilled.
Penguins in 6.
Glen Says: This series hasn’t even started and I’m already tired of hearing about Iginla choosing the Pens over Bruins, Jagr playing in Pittsburgh, and the whole Cooke-Savard thing. Sure these are all incredibly compelling sidebars but I just hope they don’t detract from the absolutely unreal hockey we are going to see.
Compared to their counterparts out West, its seems like both of these teams had a pretty easy ride. Oddly though, I think that the team that beat up on the two lowest seeds in the Conference had a tougher road that the one that had to go through a division rival and the best goalie in the world.
As I said in my preamble/gloat-fest the Bruins are almost here by default. They struggled with a vastly inferior Leafs team then got matched up against a Rangers team that just plain quit. It’s funny to think that if Patrice Bergeron didn’t turn into a beast in Game 7 against the Leafs, that Claude Julien almost certainly would have been fired, but yet here he is only four wins away from playing for the Cup again.
But the Bruins really haven’t played like an elite team, since outside of 10 minutes against Toronto, they really didn’t have to. The Penguins didn’t have to be elite against Ottawa, but they did anyway. The Pens seem to be firing on all cylinders and I think that they have the horses to outlast and outclass the Bruins. I haven’t been all that impressed with the B’s, so let’s go out on a limb here.
Penguins in 5.
Coin Says: Penguins in 5
Troy Says: Penguins over Hawks in 7
Glen Says: Penguins over Kings in 6
Coin Says: Penguins over Hawks in 6