CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL (2nd Round) RESULTS
#8 Montreal defeats #4 Pittsburgh, 4 games to 3
The defending Stanley Cup Champions did not get out of the second round, as the Penguins dropped Game Seven at home. Montreal got through Washington on the wings of a 3-1 comeback and the goaltending of Jaroslav Halak. But, Montreal won a second Game Seven on the road because of more than just goaltending. A 4-0 lead early in the second period made the final game anti-climactic.
#7 Philadelphia defeats #6 Boston, 4 games to 3
It was a tale of two series. The Bruins had a 3-0 lead and held all of the cards. The Flyers' Simon Gagne came back from injury in Game 4 and finished the series with four goals in the last four games of the series, including two game-winners. Brian Boucher's luck was about to run out, losing the first three games before winning Game Four and was injured in Game Five. Michael Leighton came off the bench, back from injury, and carried the Flyers in goal the rest of the series, making history along the way.
#1 San Jose defeats #5 Detroit, 4 games to 1
San Jose has shed their labels of playoff failures after this series, making it to the Conference Finals and they got there with their stars being stars. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau had great series and Joe Pavelski continued his big play in the second season. Detroit was tired after a seven-game series win over Phoenix, but San Jose was rested and ready to go. The Sharks built a 3-0 lead and won in five.
#2 Chicago defeats #3 Vancouver, 4 games to 2
Chicago owns Roberto Luongo, especially in Vancouver. In the Conference Semifinals, Chicago has now defeated Vancouver in two straight playoffs, making it to consecutive Conference Finals for the first time since 1989-90. Chicago is young and Vancouver's defense could not keep up. The beat goes on in Vancouver with yet another playoff loss, but Chicago's renaissance continues.
CONFERENCE FINAL (3rd Round) PREDICTIONS
EASTERN CONFERENCE: #7 Philadelphia vs. #8 Montreal - PHILADELPHIA in 7 games
Flyer fans were dejected after being down 3-0 to the Bruins. They were skeptical after wins in Game Four and Game Five. After a Game Six win at home, the city was captivated. Now, after doing the very, very improbable, the city is electric. Welcome to the Conference Finals, which open Sunday in Philadelphia. Montreal has played the maximum amount of games in both playoff series so far, so I think this will go the distance. Montreal has won two Game Seven's on the road, but Philadelphia has the electricity of its fans and its city behind them. Flyers in seven.
WESTERN CONFERENCE: #1 San Jose vs. #2 Chicago - CHICAGO in 7 games
Chicago has the longest drought of any team left in these playoffs. A loss to San Jose would make it 50 years, but the Blackhawks are on their way back to prominence. Despite their cap troubles, the time is now for Chicago. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook are the stars, but Antti Niemi has played better than expected in the first two rounds. Both teams are running on all cylinders, but there is magic in Chicago. I am picking the series to go the full seven games and for Chicago to win the deciding game on the road. Blackhawks in seven.
Join me on Sports With The StatMan (#60) this Wednesday night at 9pm ET. For the full wrap on the Conference Semifinal round, listen to last week's show on the show page (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/The-StatMan).