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The Mass Media

NHL Conference Final Predictions

We certainly had no shortage of drama in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. With two tremendous seven-game series and an absolute shocker of an upset, the second round is certainly where business began to pick up. I mean, who thought that the Penguins would have been able to knock off the president’s trophy-winning Washington Capitals? In six games, no less. That was for sure the wildest moment of the second round, which says a lot considering there were two great seven-game series with San Jose vs Nashville and St. Louis vs Dallas. We also saw Tampa Bay dispose of the Islanders in five games (which I predicted wrong). So that being said, here is what to expect from the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.
Eastern Conference Finals
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
This series should be fun. You look at the rosters and see that Tampa Bay has a clear advantage in net and on defense, but the Penguins have a scary offensive attack. The Lightning have some great weapons, but without Stamkos, they don’t measure up against Pittsburgh. The other advantage that the Pens will have is momentum. As if the Penguins weren’t already on a tear from mid season when Crosby heated up, they certainly have to be flying high now after knocking off the team everyone picked to come out of the east. With all of those things considered, I think the Penguins will take this series in seven games and head back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Their momentum is undeniable, and the Lightning have been waiting a week to play.
Those things, combined with Pitt’s offensive attack, should combine for a fatal blow for Tampa, like it did for Washington.
Western Conference Final
San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues
The Blues and the Sharks are the two teams that impressed everyone in the first round. San Jose eliminated the Kings in five games, who many had picked to go back to the Cup Finals, while the Blues exercised their personal demons by defeating the defending Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks in an epic seven-game series. They then went on to once again play in a seven-game series against Dallas, while San Jose went the distance with Nashville. Both of these teams have had their mettle tested and have proven that they can get big wins in the postseason. Roster wise, they match up well. Both sides have great offenses; the Blues have the advantage on the blue line, while the Sharks have the advantage on offense. Picking between the two, I give it to the Blues in seven games. I feel that they have been more sound in all areas and improved with each series, while the Sharks struggled more in the second round. San Jose has struggled to get to the Finals, and I think a younger and better-coached Blues team will continue that trend.