It’s Round 3! The Final Four! The Conference Finals! Winners go to the Stanley Cup Finals, and losers have all summer to say “we were this close…”
Most of us knew that it would come down to these two teams.
Series: San Jose Sharks (1) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (2)
My Prediction: Blackhawks in 6 games.
Comments: The playoffs–probably this year more than any–have established that home ice advantage doesn’t really mean anything anymore. At least not since the lockout, and especially between two teams that finish a few points apart. In this case, the Sharks only finished 1 point ahead of the Hawks in the standings.
One thing about the Blackhawks is that they seem to up their game against better teams.beating the Sharks 3 out of 4 times this year. Their 1 loss was by only a goal. However, 1 of their 3 wins was a 7-2 rout, not unlike the 7-1 beating the Sharks took from the Red Wings in Game 4 the previous round.
The point? Though highly competitive, the Sharks sometimes fall apart in games, and the Blackahwks are just the team to take advantage of that.
We got a 7th seed against an 8th seed. This is the first time such a thing has happened in the NHL playoffs (thanks, Lenny).
Series: Philadelphia Flyers (7) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8)
My Prediction: Montreal UPSETS Philadelphia in 7 games.
Comments: Who would have thought that finishing 7th would have given you home ice advantage in the playoffs? And yet, the 7th-seeded Flyers do.They almost deserve home ice anyway, considering their feat in the previous round, coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the Bruins.
And the Canadiens? Sure, no one really thought they’d make it past the best team in the league (Washington) or last year’s Stanley Cup winner (Pittsburgh). And yet they did. So, beating the Flyers doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore, does it?
I also think that Montreal will win because every so often a team that barely makes the playoffs–the Cinderella team as everyone likes to call them–makes it to the Finals. But like Cinderella’s magical night out on the town, eventually that too comes to an end.
Whoever wins the Western Conference Finals will win the Stanley Cup. There I said it. Of course they’ll have to beat the winning team from the East, but they will.