Saturday, May 16, 2009

Second Round Re-View and Conference Final Picks

The View continues to show why he is not making his living as a bookie as he was 50% on his second round picks. To recap:

Boston versus Carolina

The Pick: Boston in 5

The result: Carolina in 7

At times in this series, the Bruins showed why they were the number one seed in the East, dominating the Canes and controlling play on both ends of the ice. And at times, the Bruins were inexplicably inefficient on the offensive end and committed numerous defensive lapses. Down 3-1, the Bruins roared back to force a game 7 in Boston, but fell in overtime to the grittier Canes. Cam Ward was stellar in this series, and the Canes rode his solid goaltending to the conference finals.

Pittsburgh versus Washington

The Pick: Pittsburgh in 6

The result: Pittsburgh in 7

Arguably the most hyped series in the playoffs lived up to its billing as the Crosby/Ovechkin matchup was most entertaining. Unfortunately for Ovie, many of his teammates failed to produce in this series, notably, Green, Semin, and Backstrom. Simeon Varlamov continued his magical run through the playoffs until the deciding game 7, when it appeared the pressure finally got to him and he crumbled, allowing 4 goals before being pulled in favor of Jose Theodore. The Caps crashed with a thud on home ice in game 7 in what can only be called a total team breakdown and utter disappointment.

Detroit versus Anaheim

The Pick: Anaheim in 7

The result: Detroit in 7

This was the war that everyone thought it would be, with the offensive prowess of the Wings clashing with the grit of the Ducks. In the end, Detroit won the series with a gritty goal of their own as Dan Cleary tallied during a goal mouth scrum. There was no lack of intensity and nastiness in this series, and the Wings proved they were up to the task. At times, Anaheim was able to take the Wings off their game, but the offensive skill of the Wings prevailed. Perhaps the surprise of this series was that the Wings were able to win without offensive production from Pavel Datsyuk.

Chicago versus Vancouver

The Pick: Chicago in 7

The result: Chicago in 6

The high powered offense of the Hawks proved to be too much for the Canucks as the Hawks assaulted the Vancouver D and Roberto Luongo. Even when trailing during a game, one never had the feeling that Chicago was out of any game because of the explosiveness of their offense. Khabibulin exorcised his demons that were the Canucks, finally coming out on top in a series. The youth of the Hawks and overall lack of playoff experience was considered a negative going in to this series, but their youth and enthusiasm carried the day.

And now on to the conference final picks:

Pittsburgh versus Carolina

Cam Ward has been outstanding in goal for the Canes throughout the playoffs, and he will have to be on top of his game if the Carolina is to have a chance in this series. Carolina is a squad that personifies heart, getting valuable contributions from role players on the squad. Pittsburgh epitomizes a team with abundant star power. If this becomes a wide open, pond hockey type of series, then the Canes will get smoked. Carolina wants to make this series a grind it out contest, which favors their talent. An interesting sidelight will be the brother on brother matchup of Jordan and Eric Staal, which is the first time to occur since Phil and Tony Esposito met in the playoffs. Look for the explosive Penguin offense to take control of this series.

The Pick: Pittsburgh in 6

Detroit versus Chicago

Two Central Division rivals square off in the conference finals, and the familiarity between these two squads will be reflected in the play. I expect an explosive offensive series with the teams trading goals. The playoff experience of the Wings will be a plus for them, but it will be essential for their D to be solid. Osgood will face his biggest test in this series as the Hawks have several lines that can light it up. The pressure is going to be on the young Chicago D to be at their best.

The Pick: Detroit in 7

There you have it, the View's view of the conference finals. If you are a betting person, I would pick exactly opposite of the picks I have made.

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