All right, so I’m a little late on posting this as the first game has already happened. What can I say, I was discouraged by my abysmal picking from the previous round (only 1 of 4), but I still say in two of the games the Rangers were robbed by obscenely bad calls that directly impacted last minute goal scores that would have pushed said games in to over time. But you can’t dwell on the past, and things are what they are, so lets move on to the semi-finals.
Pittsburgh Penguins v. Philadelphia Flyers
The battle for Pennsylvania is alive and well. This is one of those rare epic moments in a rivalry. Since neither team can compete directly against one another in the Stanley Cup game this year, this is as close as it comes. Pittsburgh keeps astounding me, defying odds, and playing like a team with a lot more experience than they have. Outstanding goaltending and entire lines of players who are getting it done on the score sheet. Whatever I thought of them early in the season, they really are the real deal. Philadelphia spent the off season putting together a real team – not just picking up great players, but picking up great players who fit in the system they were looking to establish and it has paid off. Biron was a wild-card. His past performances have been streaky, but in Philly he seems to have found the chemisty Buffalo fans long had hoped he would achieve. He still strays a little far from home, but he has a cast of defensive characters who are more than capable of picking up the slack. Philly is a physical team that uses big bodies to generate traffic for their prolific snipers. Daniel Briere leads Philly with 8 playoff goals and is showing no sign of slowing down. This could be the best seven game, end to end, series to be seen in the playoffs in the last decade. It’s too bad I’m not a fan of either team (I downright despise Philly, and Pittsburgh drives me crazy mostly because I am sick of hearing about Sidney Crosby like he’s the second coming of Christ), but this is shaping up to be some amazing hockey. I’m going to have to go with my gut on this one and pick Pittsburgh in 7.
Western Conference Championship
Detroit Red Wings v. Dallas Stars
Yes, they’re already a game in to the series, but even if they weren’t it wouldn’t change the fact Detroit is not going to fall apart like they have in so many playoffs in the past. This is a team on a mission. The best team in the regular season, and they are looking to be the best team in hockey when all is said and done. With Osgood playing the way his in net they might very well do just that. Most of Dallas’s success against San Jose came from Marty Turco holding his own while the Sharks did everything they could to screw themselves. Bad turn overs, stupid penalties, and missed opportunities galore. It was a case of not so much Dallas winning as it was San Jose losing. The Stars aging players are starting to show signs of fatigue. A lot of the chemisry they rode in to the playoffs has all but evaporated. They are a team on the ropes and baring a stunning game two performace I’m saying Detroit takes this series in five.
There you have it. A Detroit Red Wings v. Pittsburgh Penguins cup game. Not since it was a Detroit v. New Jersey have I cared less. Actually, any combination of the remaing 4 teams is less than interesting too me, but I’ll watch anyway, because even if I don’t care who wins it should still be a fun ride.