2011 NHL playoff predictions: Final Round

NHL Playoffs 2011The NHL Playoffs are the most grueling in all of pro sports. There have been 16 teams competing for Lord Stanley’s mug, and only two have made it through the three rounds necessary to fight for it. With their win in game seven against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins will be the team heading to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Wednesday June 1. Although I picked the Lightning to win, Boston has clearly shown they have what it takes to compete, and it will be good to see an original six team in the finals against one from Canada; either way, the Stanley Cup is revisiting its roots.

This series will come down to the goalies and while Thomas is older, he’s held up pretty well and is still battling each night, including the 1-0 victory to take the series against Tampa. The Canucks have also had to rely on Roberto Luongo, he has shown these playoffs that he can handle the load and I don’t see why he can’t continue that. Hopefully a good omen, found while searching for a better Canucks photo, I came across this EA Sports NHL ’11 post on October 6, 2010 predicting Vancouver would win the President’s trophy and the Stanley Cup as well (albeit against the ill-fated Washington Capitals). Even without that EA prediction, I’ve picked the Canucks in each round and Boston in none, so I’ll have to stick with what has gotten me here and go with Vancouver to take it all in six games.

2011 NHL playoff predictions: Western and Eastern Conference Finals

NHL Playoffs 2011

The NHL Playoffs are now past the halfway point as we head into the Western and Eastern Conference Finals. The second round was a great one, though for the most part not as closely contested as the first, especially in the Eastern Conference. My predictions this time around were good with 3 out of 4 guessed correctly. Here is my 2nd round winners and losers, and below that, my 3rd round picks:

Called it: Vancouver (in 6), San Jose, Boston

Missed it: Tampa Bay

Western Conference

The Canucks managed to avoid another seven game series against the Nashville Predators and were able to put them out of their misery in six, but it was a hard-fought series against a team that never gave up and a goalie in Pekke Rinne that was tough to beat, game-in and game-out. This time around they will be going up against the San Jose Sharks who put away the Detroit Red Wings in seven, and look to be hitting their stride, finally shedding themselves of their own playoff curse. Both teams will bring it hard this series, but I think the Canucks will eke out a victory in 7.

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning

I went against the Lightning in the first two rounds, and they clearly made me look like a fool, so this time around against the Boston Bruins, I’ll take the youth over the no-quit attitude. Sure it would be great to see an original 6 team in the Stanley Cup Final but when I get the chance to boo a Northeast Division rival, I can’t pass that opportunity up. Bold, but Lightning in 5.

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