Conference quarterfinals come to a close
After a couple game 7s tonight, the Flyers and Sharks advance to the Eastern and Western conference semi-finals respectively.
The Flyers dumped the Caps on an OT goal by Joffrey Lupul, his first of the playoffs. They'll meet the Canadiens in the next round. Before Montreal was taken to a game 7 in their series against Boston, I would have given the edge to the Canadiens. But both teams seem plagued by inconsistency, so it could be a toss up. I'll go with CANADIENS IN SIX. If the Flyers win, the city of Montreal will burn. Heck, it may burn if they do win.
In the West tonight, the Flames crumpled after allowing four unanswered goals in the 2nd period. The story of the night, though, is 2 goals and 2 assists from Jeremy Roenick to lead the charge for the Sharks, his first points of the post-season. Coach Ron Wilson sat Roenick for game 6. Styles must have gotten the message loud and clear because the old man clearly stepped up his game. San Jose moves on to face Dallas, who are hot hot hot after eliminating the defending Stanley Cup Champion Ducks. Unlike Anaheim, San Jose won't hit themselves out of position. Dallas can't simply wait for the Sharks to make the same mistakes. My pick, STARS IN SEVEN.
Tonight's games decided the other two match ups as well.
The Rangers will face the Penguins in the East's other semi-final. This is the match up I wished for. Let's hope I'm not wrong. Both teams are well rested so it should be an exciting, fast-paced series. I predict RANGERS IN SIX. What, did you think I'd pick the Pens?
Back in the West, the Red Wings and the Avalanche will meet for the sixth time since 1996. (That's as far back as hockey-reference.com has stats for.) Colorado has the edge 3-2 in series wins during that time frame. Detroit has made the playoffs for 17 consecutive years, winning three Stanley Cups, but have had little to show for their efforts in recent years. I think the Red Wings finally understand that the Stanley Cup is much more pleasurable than the President's Trophy. As with Nashville, Detroit will take the path of most resistance but ultimately defeat Colorado. RED WINGS IN SEVEN.