NHL Conference Semifinals picks

April 28, 2011 |


   After a first round full of seventh games, we can only hope that the second round can match that excitement.  Unlike in past years, all of the top seeds have advanced; so we should see the best of the best from here forward.


                                          WESTERN CONFERENCE            

           #1 Vancouver Canucks              vs.     #5  Nashville Predators 

Season series:       2                                                                          2

Top Scorers:  Daniel Sedin                                              Sergei Kostitsyn

                             Henrik Sedin                                            Martin Erat

                            Alex Burrows                                          Mike Fisher

Goalies:           Roberto Luongo                                    Pekka Rinne

      The Canucks definitely have more firepower. In addition to the Sedin’s , they have Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson to pour in goals. They were extended a tough seven games, but Pekka Rinne will have to up his game from the inconsistent performance last series to give his Preds any shot.

MY PICK:      CANUCKS in 5

          #2  San Jose Sharks                vs.        #3    Detroit Red Wings

Series:                    3                                                                         1

Scorers:     Patrick Marleau                                        Henrik Zetterberg

                       Joe Thornton                                            Pavel Datsyuk

                      Ryane Clowe                                              Valtteri Filppula

Goalies:       Antti Niemi                                                   Jimmy Howard

        I know that everyone is picking the Wings in this series, but I will go against the grain. The Red Wings had their way with the Coyotes, but the Sharks will be tougher. San Jose dominated Detroit during the regular season, so there will be no fear. Plus, Detroit is far from completely healthy and I think the Sharks take advantage of that.

MY PICK:     SHARKS in 6

                                              EASTERN CONFERENCE

        #1  Washington Capitals      vs.       #5  Tampa Bay Lightning

Series:                               4                                                             2

Scorers:        Alex Ovechkin                                         Martin St. Louis

                         Nicklas Backstrom                                  Steven Stamkos

                         Alexander Semin                                    Simon Gagne

Goalies:         Michal Neuvirth                                     Dwayne Roloson

          In a series that features some of the most talented scorers in the game, it may well be the goaltending that defines the series. You have the classic newcomer vs. grizzled veteran matchup between the pipes. Neuvirth acquitted himself well in the first round, will the pressures catch up with him. Both goalies will face well-oiled machines coming at them. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Arnott, St. Louis, Stamkos, Lecavlier. It’s more like an all-star game a regular matchup. I think this will be the premier series of the round.


        #2  Philadelphia Flyers       vs.    #3   Boston Bruins

Season:              1                                                              3

Scorers:    Claude Giroux                                  Milan Lucic

                        Danny Briere                                David Krejci

                          Mike Richards                            Patrice Bergeron

Goalies:            Brian Boucher                          Tim Thomas

       This series will feature hard hitting and conservative play. Both teams will try to play it close to the vest and not give up many scoring opportunities. The Flyers got by Buffalo, but still can’t be 100 percent sure what to make of their goaltending. That will be tough against Tim Thomas, who got a lot better after a tough start to the last series. The Flyers have been bolstered by the recent return of Chris Pronger, while Boston now ill have revenge on its mind. I think the Bruins will erase the bad memory of last years debacle after being up 3-0.

  MY PICK:   BRUINS in 5