Because they all have rings…GET IT?!?!?!? That’s gold. If you’re not laughing then YOU’RE the problem. Ok round 3 of the playoffs and I’m pissed. Why would I be pissed you ask? Well that’s a good question Johnny. The reason I’m pissed is because I’m a pathetic Carburner team away from being perfect on these predictions this playoff season. 11 for 12….I just HAD to trust the Carburners didn’t I? When you’re hot in Vegas, you don’t walk away from the table. When a team is incredible at awful you don’t bet them. But the Sharks were awesome at awful too so what’s a “brother to do?” as the kids would say. Anyway, I’m starring down the barrel of 14 for 15 and hitting just about everything spot on so not going to change a thing.
Eastern Conference final
#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #4 Boston Bruins
Dream matchup number 1 features the 2009 champion Pens against the 2011 champion B’s (remember that one Carburner fans?!) The biggest storyline coming into this series is Jarome Iginla and how he was almost a Bruin. Who cares anymore? To me that’s an issue between the Bruins and Flames not the Bruins and Pens. For me the biggest storyline in this series is the Bruins size vs the Pens skill. I don’t like it, but I don’t usually pick against the team that has the size advantage in the playoffs. It’s a war of attrition and if you’re using your size advantage right then you should wear down your opponent over a 7 game series. And the Bruins are red hot right now as they are still riding the momentum of their game 7 comeback win over the Leafs. HOWEVER….there are always exceptions to the rule in life and this I believe is one of them. The Pens skill is overwhelming. They have the advantage down the middle against the the Bruins, something most teams can’t do. And while Chara is far and away the best d-man in this series, there is only 1 of him (although there is a lot of that 1!) Do you match him against Crosby’s line or Malkin’s? Then you have Sutter’s line which can produce as well. The Bruins have the advantage defensively and between the pipes, but it’s not at the level that it needs to be to eliminate the Pens. I believe the Bruins can win this series, but I don’t think they will get it done.
Pens in 7
Western Conference final
#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #5 LA Kings
The President’s trophy winner vs the defending champs. It’s a sexy matchup anytime it happens in the playoffs, and the deeper in the playoffs it happens the better. The last time it happened was the 2011 opening round, Hawks and Carburners. That series didn’t exactly suck if you recall. And much like the Eastern final, this is size vs finnesse. In boxing, styles make great fights. I expect that to happen in both these conference final matchups. I haven’t viewed the Hawks as some have as this incredible power house. They have a great team, I’m a huge fan of the team, but I haven’t seen them as some unbeatable juggernaut like others have. Then again it’s not like the Kings are rolling in these playoffs like last year. Last year they made it look ridiculously easy, this year it’s been one hell of a grind. 6 grueling games against the Blues, followed by 7 grueling games against the Sharks. Had the Hawks dusted the Wings in 5 or even 6 I would love them in this series. Because while they aren’t as big or as physical as the Kings, they can play that game. But 2 things for me give the Kings a huge advantage in this series. The Hawks are good down the middle, but they can’t matchup with the Kings at center. Kopitar, Richards, Stoll (if healthy), Lewis, and if they feel like doing so Jeff Carter. So that’s a big edge to the Kings. But the biggest one is in goal. Crawford has been quietly great in these playoffs. He doesn’t get much work, but when he does it seems like they’re high quality chances. And for the most part he has shut the door. But I’m not taking him against Jonathan Quick. Quick is in that zone again and is going to make it damn tough on the Hawks. Obviously the Hawks can win this series, but they’ll really need Crawford to raise game to an even higher level. I had the Kings and Pens at the begining of the playoffs and I see no reason to change that now.
Kings in 6
Doesn’t matter what the combo will be, we will get an amazing Stanley Cup final. Big markets, big stars, experienced teams, it’s going to be great hockey from here on out, Gary is in the NHL offices right now laughing like Dr. Evil. I won’t lie, I’m pulling for it to be the Hawks and Pens, I believe that would give us exciting, high skilled, end to end action for at least 6 and likely 7 games. But again, had Kings and Pens from the start, not going to change it now.
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