Eastern Conference Final
(7) Philadelphia v. (8) Montréal
Pick: Montréal in 6
Actual: Philadelphia in 5
This was a painful series to pay attention to. The Habs stopped doing what had taken them past the Capitals and Penguins. The goaltending fell flat. The offense dried up. The defence showed signs of fatigue from playing 14 games in the previous two rounds, plus having lost Andrei Markov in Game One with Pittsburgh. Maybe that’s what happened, the all-out play needed to win two rounds simply took its toll. Oh, and have I told you how much I truly hate the Flyers? This franchise has done nothing of value for hockey since 1967, its first year in existence. Broad Street Bullies. Legion of Doom. Reckless play for nearly 50 years. A truly abominable franchise. Not to mention beating the Habs in two of the last three playoff seasons. I hate this team. I give them no credit for winning this series. None. Am I bitter and biased? Damn straight. Next up: getting their asses handed to them by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Western Conference Final
(1) San José v. (2) Chicago
Pick: San José in 7
Actual: Chicago in 4
Well, so much for an entire playoff season with no sweeps. I really thought the Sharks would have had at least one win in them. Instead, again, the Sharks have gone from a strong contender for the Stanley Cup to hitting links before the Cup has been awarded. But this year is different. This year the Sharks overcame several obstacles and potential season-killers in the playoffs to make the Conference Final, where they ran into the now-prohibitive Stanley Cup favourite. And how about those Blackhawks? Jonathan Toews is on fire. Antti Niemi is doing his part to carry the team. Not like he needs to be stellar, as the Chicago offense and defence are both doing their jobs: scoring when needed and shutting down the other team’s top guns, respectively. At this point, the Blackhawks seem unstoppable. Next up: a showdown with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Since the Final starts on Saturday, I will get my picks for the Stanley Cup Final up on Friday or Saturday before the Game One begins.