Friday, May 31, 2013
1) A rather interesting unique Conference Finals in that all 4 teams are recent Cup winners. Showing that despite the constrictions of the salary cap, good management CAN result in on ice team excellance to continue more than 1 season. These teams all have good upper management in commin so it shouldn't be a shock to see these as the NHLs Final 4. As always we will predict the winner of each series and the compenents of the matchup that brought us to that conclusion.
In the East:
Pittsburgh Penguins-VS- Boston Bruins: No other NHL team features a dynamic duo in the middle like Pittsburgh's. However while the nightmare of the Penguins' early postseason games may have been highlighted by the awful play of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, his struggles were aided and abetted by the guys in front of him. The Penguins have to withstand the pounding from Boston's rugged heavyweight forwards like Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton, and its combative middleweights, such as Brad Marchand and Gregory Campbell. The key in my opinion will be Rask and the defensive discipline of the Bruins. If they play 'their game' this actually coould be a short series. The pens have too many exploitable holes even with Vokun in goal.
Bruins in 5
Chicago Black Hawks-VS-Los Angles Kings: The defending Stanley Cup champions are no longer a surprise to anyone. The Kings play an old-fashioned, hard-hitting style in the mold of their coach, Darryl Sutter, and their aim is to dominate the areas along the boards, in the corners, and in front of the net. They have a good amount of high-end skill in their lineup, but that's probably not the side of their game the Hawks will see in this round. Detroit made a point of targeting Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and there's no reason to believe that the Kings won't continue the abuse. Kopitar is one of hockey's best all-around players, but Mike Richards is nastier and would assume the role that Henrik Zetterberg just played for Detroit. Patrick Kane is not one of the bigger Hawks and he too may be leaned on. He wasn't explosive against Detroit and could have even less room to move against L.A. Fortunately, others such as Patrick Sharp picked up the slack. Which is why I think the Hawks will prevail.
Black Hawks in 5
Monday, May 13, 2013
First The East:
Pittsburgh Penguins- vs- Ottawa Senators:I believe this series will be an absolute dog fight and would not shock me at all if the Senators do pull the upset . I still believe Pittsburgh finds a way to get it done. This has everything to do with Voukon being able to play half decent in net which is all the Penguins need in order to be a dominating team. If Fleury wasn’t such a sievev in the first round the series could have been over in 4 or 5. The Sens winning in round 1 had just as much to do with the Canadiens mentally breaking down plus getting a couple of lucky bounces and calls to go there way. Ottawa is a better more defensively sound team then the Isles which of course is all due to Craig Anderson; who could be the best goalie in the NHL right now. He does have the capability of stealing games on his own. But, I don’t think quite enough to steal an entire series.
Penguins in 6
Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers: This is a real tough series to predict as these two teams are pretty even. I do believe Boston is slightly better and warrants being the favorite. Having home ice advantage could end up being the difference for the B's. Many people have written off the Bruins thinking they played awful against the Leafs and it will now catch up to them. I’m taking the opposite approach to their mindset believing this was a terrific wake up call. This match up suits Boston better then Toronto because New York does not have the same team speed and overall offensive capability.
Bruins in 5
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings: I believe the Hawks are the most complete and best overall team in the conference if not NHL. Yes I can see Detroit giving them a bit of a test as they are a far superior team then first round opponent Minnesota Wild. But I believe the difference will be the overall team speed of the Hawk. The only reason I say the Wings have a shot here in this series is how hot they have been down the stretch getting into the playoffs then coming back from down 3-2 to the Ducks meanwhile the Hawks have been on cruise control since there winning streak at the beginning of the regular season and don't see that changing here.
Black Hawks in 5
Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks: The Kings are still the better team in this series despite the Sharks coming off a first round sweep over Vancouver. While Niemi has looked great all year for the Sharks I am still not convinced he’s an “elite” goalie like Quick, despite his ring in '10. Most of San Jose’s offensive production in Roud 1 came via the power play as long as the Kings stay somewhat disciplined and the refs allow them to play they will have a huge physical advantage. I don’t think San Jose is an awful team and should win a couple games I would strongly consider taking them on their home ice as they have been the complete polar opposite all season long, but in the end the defending champs will prevail.
King in 6