Saturday, May 14, 2011

Round 3

The last round is a lot of what I expected...except for the sweeps...and Tampa Bay...and...well, that's the Stanley Cup playoffs!

So here we are at the semi-finals. We're down to the four *best* teams in the NHL, four formidable goalies and four cities hungry to see their team hoist the most coveted trophy in hockey. So what does round three hold? Here's my picks:

Sharks (2) vs Canucks (1)
Here are two teams that have battled hard to get where they are. San Jose is tired. Did you see them sucking wind in game 7? Niemi has been great and has had the full support of his defense, guys putting up some of the best defensive stats in the playoffs. Guys like Thorton have held them all together. Having fought tooth and nail to hold on to round 2 and squeaking into round 3, they're bound to have had their spirits buoyed. Will it be enough to get them past the exhaustion of the battle they just fought to get here?  Vancouver has had a bit more of a break and a big boost thanks to the play of resident monster, Ryan Kesler.  While the hockey world continues to discuss what they're calling the absence of the Sedin brothers, it might be worth reminding that while they have not been the scoring duo they were in the regular season, they are still certainly play makers and worthy of their first line position.  While Nashville's play was styled well to shut them down, it remains to be seen if the Sharks will be able to do the same. Offensively and defensively, the Nucks remains strong and healthy. All that to say, I'm going with the Canucks in 6.

Tampa Bay (5) vs Boston (3)
Who would have thought that these two teams would have come through the second round the way they did? Roloson continues to be lucky, if not solid, between the pipes. Thomas is superb. Have I mentioned that I just like that guy? He really caught my attention in the all star skills competition. The guy smiles all the time. He has fun and tries to make sure that everyone else on the ice is having fun too, regardless of what team they play on. So there it is, battle of the goalies. Tampa Bay has this crazy drive to win. Where did they come from anyway? Boston is much more calm, cool and collected. The things that they were weaker at, special teams for example, in round one, they pulled together in round two. These are two teams that want to win. I'm going to pick Boston in 7.

So there you have it. I'm calling for a Vancouver vs Boston Stanley Cup final.

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