Saturday, May 14, 2011

Conference Finals Preview

Time to review the second round playoff picks and look ahead to the conference finals. Let's take a look back at the second round and my picks.

Western Conference

Predators vs Canucks

The pick: Nashville in 6

Reality: Vancouver in 6

San Jose vs Detroit

The Pick: Detroit in 7

Reality: San Jose in 7

Eastern Conference

Boston vs Philadelphia

The Pick: Boston in 7

Reality: Boston in 4

Washington vs Tampa Bay

The Pick: Tampa Bay in 7

Reality: Tampa Bay in 4

After a 7-1 first round record, the View comes back to earth with a 50% record in the second round. Once again, I prove that I should stick to my day job.

I will, however, launch out fearlessly to make my Conference final picks.

Western Conference

Vancouver vs San Jose

The explosive Canucks will look to continue their regular season success against the Sharks, where they captured 3 of four contests. The task the Sharks will face will be to slow down Ryan Kessler and continue to contain the Sedin twins, which so far in the playoffs have been held in check by their opponents. Antti Niemi is going to see a lot of pucks, and it is critical that he is at the top of his game if the Sharks are going to have a chance to win this game. For the Sharks, it is a simple proposition: on offense, get pucks to the net with traffic to make Roberto Luongo uncomfortable. If Luongo can see the puck and isn't harassed with lots of traffic, this can be a short series. The Sharks can score and have the talent to make it tough on Luongo, and they are going to have to make him move and work. The deciding factor in this series could be the play of the Sharks D, lead by Douglas Murray and Dan Boyle. If their D can keep Kessler and company in check, then the Sharks could capture the series. I think this one will go the distance, but the Sharks will fall short.

My Pick: Vancouver in 7

Eastern Conference

Boston vs Tampa Bay

I think this series will be a series that will also go the distance, as the physical play of the Bruins matches up against the speed of the Bolts. The story within the story in this one will be the play of Tampa netminder Dwayne Roloson and Boston netminder Tim Thomas. Rollie the goalie has been outstanding in the playoffs, leading the Lightning to 4-3 win against the Penguins and a 4-0 sweep of the Capitals. Roloson, the ageless wonder, will be the key for the Lightning as the Bruins will fire the puck and create traffic in front of the net. He will have to be sharp against the Bruins for the Lightning to have an opportunity to capture this series. At the other end, Tim Thomas continues to shine. Unconventional in his technique, Thomas gets it done for the B's. He will face a stern test as the Lightning have the ability to put the puck in the net. This series will hinge on the Boston D containing St. Louis, Lecavalier, and the suddenly emergent Sean Bergenheim. Tampa Bay will attempt to use their speed to counter the physical style the Bruins play. I think the Bruins will wear down the Lightning in this series and although it will go the distance, they will prevail.

My Pick: Boston in 7

This should be a fun Conference finals for hockey fans. I expect both series to be a war that will take the full 7 games to decide.

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