I know how to pick 'em, don't I? I got two losers in Game 1! But hey, that's why its best of seven, right?! I basically went 50% in the last round, so you could consult with me, or flip a friggin' coin and probably do just fine. I put my faith in the Canucks as my preseason pick, and they flopped like a fish out of water. Woulda been nice to see that one come to fruition. But the Flyers made me look like a genius, stealing back the series in seven games after being on the ropes. Montreal decided to defy the odds once again, so I'm not going against them again, but it didn't look too Cinderella-y last night. Honestly I think its a crap shoot on whoever comes out of the West is probably your eventual winner. Lets break it down a little further for you ignants...
#7 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
I don't think anyone could've predicted that matchup for the conference finals. Once again, the East proves that the seedings are meaningless. Montreal took out the top team in the League (points-wise), then went on to defeat the defending Champs to head on to the Conference Finals. Not too shabby for a team that had the worst record heading into the post. The Habs success is hinging on three things, maybe four, depending on how much you "believe." 1) They've bought into the system, and its working against the best teams in the East, 2) Their triggermen are clicking at just the right time, and its more than one guy doing it. Even though Cammalleri is stealing the show. And 3) Halak. Up until last night, a minus one game per series, this guy is a fucking machine. He's playing like he's got something to prove, and he does. Looks like Allen Walsh wasn't really just blowin' smoke up everyone's ass, he had a legitimate point as to who the starter should be. At $775k per this guy is not only a savior, he's a bargain, and he is the Contract Anomaly, (I wrote nothing about Halak). The fourth, bullshit intangible is that the Habs believe they can do it. Hell, its almost like they've already done the heavy lifting, except for that pesky Stanley Cup championship thingy.
The Flyers are another low seed, but are just proving that they have in them what everybody originally thought they had. The goaltending situation is just getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous. Gagne returning to lineup has been huge, Richards is playing like a captain, Giroux and vanReimsdyk are playing like crafty veterans, and Laviolette has been the rudder to the previously rudder-less ship. Its hard to go against the Flyers, especially after that 6-0 stomping, but I'm doing it. Like a fucking idiot. Grip Pick: Habs in 6.
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #2 Chicago Blackhawks
I think this is going to be incredible series, just because of the depth of these teams on both offense and defense. I give the slight edge to the Sharks in goal, and I have very little to say after that. The Sharks will of course need all their depth to show up, the Hawks rarely have that problem, and maybe that's the deal breaker. But I'm sticking with it, like a fucking idiot. Grip Pick: Sharks in 6.
One vs. two, seven vs. eight. I get this funny feeling like it'll either be one and eight to get through, or two and seven, I don't know why. Its no longer predictable. You've got three backup netminders in the final four, killing it right now. That's pretty fucking wild, especially considering the argument about top flite goaltenders, while the likes of Brodeur, Luongo, Miller, and Fleury are sitting at home right now, and last year's Vezina winner was riding the pine this postseason.