With tonights Chicago win over Vancouver, the Western Conference Finals are complete. A look back at the Western Semi’s:
Detroit vs San Jose. SN predicts: Detroit in Six. Ok, so I thought the choke artists would lose it to the playoff machine. Wrong. San Jose advances to the finals after five games. SN 5-4.
Chicago vs Vancouver. SN Predicted Chicago in 6. As much as I love a game 7 – and the fact that if the Sabres are out Iusually go for Vancouver as part of the class of ’70 hockey – this series finishing tonight is exactly what I predicted. I just didn’t realize that the goaltenders were going to take turns completly sucking in this series. 41 goals in a series. Ouch. Most goals in a series this Conf. Finals. I thought a smart defense won the Stanley Cup? Might spell disaster for Chicago if they keep letting in that many goals. But if your scoring them as well, it might not be too bad. SN 6-4.
San Jose Sharks vs Chicago Blackhawks
This series has some potential, if both teams play to the level of the finals – and play for what is on the line.
For Chicago, it would be their seventh Conference Championship since the 1991-1992 season (They have four Western Conference Banners and two Eastern Conference rings). And their first Stanley Cup since 1960-1961 (1933-1934/1937-1938 were there other wins).
For San Jose it would be their first Conference Championship and First Trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
You could say the same thing ultimately about each team in the Conference Finals [West] this year: Nothing is going to stop them from reaching the finals. The Sharks are trying to erase the stigma of failing in the playoffs, and the Blackhawks are trying to win in an era where they have rebranded the team following the “dark years”.
Goaltending is going to make up the difference in this series. The Blackhawks go into the series with Antti Niemi, a second year “rookie”, with impressive numbers and Cristobal Huet.
The Sharks go into the Finals with Evgeni Nabokov.
I can’t really say I am going with my gut feeling on this one, well, because I think it is going to be a great series; you can’t really lean on recent history, because, well neither team has a great recent history when it comes to the playoffs.
Chicago will advance to the Finals in six games.
Tags: Antti Niemi Chicago Blackhawks Clarence Campbell Bowl Cristobal Huet Detroit Red Wings Evgeni Nabogok Finals NHL Patrick Kane Roberto Luongo San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Vancouver Canucks Western Conference Western Conference Finals