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Red and Black Hockey

Conference finals predictions

In this season’s playoffs, I correctly picked seven of eight matchups in the first round and three of four in the second round.  Cumulatively, I have 10 correct picks and only two incorrect.  Interestingly enough, the only series that I missed in the second round was Carolina/Boston.  As much as I love my team, I didn’t think they had enough to knock off the Bs. 

The Conference finals begin tomorrow, and it’s time to get my picks out in the open.  This time, I’ll give a little bit of analysis.

First, the West. 
I’ll pick experience over innocence.  Wings in six.  The last time the Blackhawks made a playoff run this deep, Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews were six years old.  Their roster is loaded with some very skilled, but very young players.  None of us need a refresher about Detroit’s playoff history or the age of their roster.

I’d like to see the Blackhawks pull off the upset, but I just don’t see any way.  Chris Osgood is miles better than Nikolai Khabibulin.  Of course the same should be said of Roberto Luongo, but that didn’t stop the Hawks from beating him.  In this round, the Hawks will also be facing a formidable bunch of forwards.  In eleven games played Henrik Zetterberg has 14 (6/8) while Johan Franzen has 15 (8/7).  These numbers aren’t quite Crosbian or Ovechkinesque, but it’ll be enough to strike fear into the Hawks. I do think Chicago will put up a fight, but I expect Detroit to win in six. 

Now for the exciting Staal on Staal action in the East. 
Pittsburgh has gotten some really impressive numbers out of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  In 13 game played, they have 21 (12/9) and 19 (6/13) points, respectively.  They each have had very much success on the power play, garnering 7 and 10 power play points.  Carolina’s penalty killing, though, has been outstanding this postseason.  They won’t surrender as many power play goals as did the Caps and Flyers.  I also think that the Canes will be able to keep it at even strenght terms.

These teams are pretty even if Carolina can contain Crosby.  I’d give the Penguins a slight edge for their forwards.  I’d call it even on defense.  I’d call it even behind the benches.  I’d give Carolina a slight edge in goaltending. 

The two teams split the four regular season games, with each team winning one at home and one on the road.  It promises to be another exciting series filled with overtime games and other exciting endgames.  It’ll go seven, and I’ll pick my boys to win it.  Canes in seven.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chicago+blackhawks, detriot+red+wings, pittsburgh+penguins, playoffs

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About Red and Black Hockey

David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science.  He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows.  Sometimes, all in the same day. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.