Sabtu, 01 Juni 2013

Stanley Cup and Cheesecake 2013 – Conference Finals Edition


(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) Boston Bruins

This is as absolutely amazing a final four as you could want. None of this 7th and 8th seed BS, just pretty much the top four teams (standings be damned) over the course of the season, squaring off for the right to go to the finals.

This matchup definitely seems to favor the Pens. After a shaky six games against the Islanders, they steamrolled the Senators, scoring goals in bunches and clicking at a very high rate on the power play. Boston's defense is deeper than Ottawa's, but they also play within a system and are not particularly speedy, which should rule out most of the chaos that Pittsburgh had such trouble with against the Isles.

The Bruins, who I frankly thought looked done and disinterested entering the playoffs, found another gear and dispatched the terrible New York Rangers fairly easily after their dramatic scare against the Leafs in round one, winning in the way that teams who have been there before tend to win. The Penguins are a whole different challenge, however, and the Crosby and Malkin lines figure to produce offense at a level they haven't yet seen.  Factor in the Bruins lousy penalty kill and I just can't imagine a way they manage to best the two-headed monster four times in seven tries. Or even twice. Pens in five.


(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings

This is a real battle of titans that, honestly, could go either way. Though both teams' series went the distance in round two, I think the revelation in Chicago was "Maybe the are beatable", whereas the story in Los Angeles was "Man, Jonathan Quick is really, really good!" He's gonna steal a game, and he might steal two or three.

Still, the Blackhawks showed a ton of resiliency in coming back from a 3-1 deficit against Detroit, winning win they had to, and emphatically at times. Their forwards are incredible, and if they can get rolling and score goals... especially on the road... they should be able to move on.

It's seemed all season that this was the matchup we'd see in the Western finals, and it's a series I really can't wait to watch, 'cause it's gonna be good! Kings in seven.

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