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SemiFinal Playoff Predictions

My second round predictions went pretty well.  I went 4-0.  I cannot claim that there wasn't a degree of luck involved.  This is especially true when you consider that two series went seven games and had game seven decided by one goal (in one case in overtime).  Combining this with my 6-2 record in the first round, I have a 10-2 record so far.  Thus I am guaranteed to get a 2/3 success rate in the playoffs and that would require three incorrect predictions in the remaining series.  

The remaining four teams are the last four teams to win the Stanley Cup.  I suppose that helps explain the predictability of things so far. 

Here are my predictions for the semi-finals:

Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Boston Bruins.  Pittsburgh has been the best team in the league in the second half of the season.  They bulked up for the playoffs by adding Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray.  They have solved their goaltending issues by playing Tomas Vokoun in goal.  This team has been getting better as the season has gone on and it will be hard for anyone to beat them.  I don't think Boston is up to that task. 

Chicago Blackhawks defeat Los Angeles Kings.  Chicago has significantly more talent than LA at forward and at defence and that is why I| make this pick.  The question mark is goal.  Jonathan Quick has been the best goalie in each of the last two playoffs.  He is good enough to steal this series.  I don't think Corey Crawford is good enough to steal a series.  Despite goaltending, I pick Chicago here.  Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa all could be better players than any forward Los Angeles can offer.  There are too many good players on the Hawks for them to likely be stopped here.

Thus I am predicting the last two teams to win the Stanley Cup to lose and the third and fourth most recent to win.  When you think about it that way, it calls these predictions into question.

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They have solved their goaltending issues by playing Tomas Vokoun in goal.

I find it refreshing that you didn’t add some caveat about how Tomas Vokoun is a nobody, journeyman backup and the Penguins need to put Fleury back in and hope he stops sucking if they want to win a series. All the national analysts and writers seem to think that for reasons I don’t quite understand.

Posted by larry on 05/30/13 at 12:22 AM ET

awould's avatar

I agree. Vokoun is a good goalie on a team that doesn’t need a great goalie.

Posted by awould on 05/30/13 at 12:50 AM ET


He is a good goalie and his pedigree is somewhat underrated, however, even Pens fans have to feel somewhat shaky. To me Voukon hasn’t consistently looked solid all playoffs and is prone to more than his share of juicy rebounds. Fortunately he has a great team in front of him, and neither of the clubs the Pens have beat so far are on their level, but it might be a different story with Boston…

I’d say Pens in 6
Hawks in 5

Posted by Chris M on 05/30/13 at 10:17 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Vokoun has the second best saves percentage in the playoffs so far (behind Quick).  He has not looked spectacular but his numbers are very good.  That is familiar to the Vokoun of old.  He consistently put a very good saves percentage - for a few years he had the best saves percentage over that period in the league - but he never looked as spectacular doing it as some other goalies.  Couple that with the fact that his best years occurred out of the media capitals in Nashville and Florida and he is regularly overlooked. 

Vokoun clearly was an elite goalie in his prime.  Over the last couple years he has done little to show that he still is, but he wasn’t ever clearly given the starting goalie job on his team to show us what he could do. 

It is still possible that given a chance he could show he is still an elite goalie.  I am certainly not convinced that he will, but there does remain a shot.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 05/30/13 at 01:00 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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