At this point I am 6-4 in selecting the winners of th2 2010 playoffs. While its late on Saturday (I ended up being out longer today than I had planned) – here is the breakdown of the two semifinals in the East, and a look at the finals.
Eastern Conference Semis
Boston Bruins vs Philadelphia Flyers SN Predicts: Flyers in Six.
Again, I was a game off on this one, and who would have known that the Flyers would make history in advancing to the Conference Finals. Down 3 games to 0, the Flyers won four straight to become only the third team in the history of the league to achieve the feat. To make matters worse for the Bruins, teh Flyers came back from down 3-0 in game seven as well. SN record 7-4.
Montreal vs. Pittsburgh SN Predicts Penguins in six.
David knocks out goliath again, and I have to start thinking the Montreal bandwagon might be the most celebrated bandwagon this year. Think back to the last time the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, a playoff long shot – they came from behind and won close overtime games to advance and win the Stanley Cup. If they win again this year, they can have McDonalds in Montreal sell quarter-habbers instead of Quarter Pounders because they will have won the Stanley Cup 25% of the 100 years they have been in existence. SN record 7-5.
Eastern Conference Finals
In the Western Conference, the top teams are playing for the right to represent in the Stanley Cup Finals. San Jose had the best record in the Western Conference this year, and Chicago had the number two seed. A look at this years Eastern Conference Final – and you see the seventh place Flyers and the eighth place Canadiens. Not exactly a matchup made in NHL heaven, unless your a marketing director pushing the History will be Made Campaign. Its going to come down to just a few factors in this series. The first is obviously goaltending. There is a convent of nuns somewhere in Philadelphia who follow the league singing a song of “How do you solve a problem like Halak?”. If Halak continues to stand on his head, the Canadiens should easily win a trip to the finals. If the tandem of Boucher and Leighton continue to surprise people, the Flyers could be in the Finals. The Flyers are a goaltending injury away from raising a white flag and running for cover. What type of game is going to be played? If you want a fast paced, talent based game, the Habs win this series. If physical play is the norm, they become Hab-nots.
Sabrenoise predicts: Montreal in six. I think its going to come down to goaltending, and Leighton just doesn’t have what it takes to push the Flyers any further. In games where smallish Montreal is getting pushed around by bigger Philly, Halak will continue to steal the show and save the day. (Halak might be this years Man Crush for me – and if the Canadiens do make it to the finals, I already annointed him the Conn Smythe recipient.
Conference Finals action starts Sunday May 16, 2010. NBC will air the Western Conference game at 3 PM EDT, and Versus will carry the East at 7PM EDT.