Next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to start today with the number one and number five teams from each conference squaring off for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Our Hockey Playoffs Pool gets back in the action too, after a two-day layoff. Kartin has a huge 23 points lead thanks to going perfect through not only the opening round but now round two as well. That is damn impressive.
However, with 15 points earned for each of the Conference Finals series, and 20 points up for grabs for picking the Stanley Cup Final winner, it isn’t carved in stone he’s going to win this thing. We have some entries backing Chicago to hoist the Cup, and one Kings and one Bruins entry within striking distance of the top three.
In the East, Pittsburgh Penguins host the Boston Bruins. Where I live in central Ontario, and in close proximity to southern Ontario, some less than scientific polling found on one side people are pulling for the Bruins because it shows well for the Toronto Maple Leafs that the team that barely edged them out made it all the way to the finals. On the flip side, some people are just pulling for the dastardly Bruins to finally get the boot out of the playoffs. I’m in the latter camp by a wide margin. This will be a tough series though, so Penguins in 7 is my pick.
Over in the West, Chicago Blackhawks host the Los Angeles Kings. Did you realize the last four Stanley Cup winners are the last four teams standing in this tournament? And of course you know the Kings are the reigning champs, and with good reason. Jonathan Quick is nothing short of amazing. The Blackhawks fought back hard to get past the Detroit Red Wings after more or less cruising through Round 1 (although Minnesota Wild did give them a run for their money on a game-to-game basis).
I picked the other series to go seven games and yet, I find this one a much tougher one to call. Lets go with Chicago, in 7. If the Kings had home ice one would almost have to take them and their perfect record in L.A., but Jonathan Toews seemed to light a spark in that Detroit series and they’ve got more scoring power overall.
As predictable as it sounds, lets see the two #1 regular season teams in the finals. Should be some great hockey – no matter what Damien Cox says – leading up to that.