30 April 2015

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Predictions

There was 16 and now we are down to eight. Eight teams remains in the pursuit of the Stanley Cup as we have reached the second round. Who will advance to the Conference Finals? Here are my predictions.

A1 Montreal Canadiens vs. A2 Tampa Bay Lightning
Carey Price continues to be brilliant in net for the Habs and he was at the point of Montreal dispatching Ottawa in six. But there is some reason for concern against this Tampa Bay team that swept them in the regular season. The Lightning struggled more than they should have with the Red Wings as Steven Stamkos did not score a goal at all and Ben Bishop was inconsistent between the pipes. Even against a guy like Price, I think the Bolts will find their groove and showcase their advantage on the ice everywhere else and win.
Lightning in 6

M1 New York Rangers vs. M2 Washington Capitals
The Rangers and Caps seem to be frequent sparring partners in the playoffs and that looks to be the same once again in this series. Washington did pull out a nice opening round series win over the Islanders but even with their front line and their excellence on the power play, they are outmanned in this series but the Blueshirts, who also like to play at a tempo they are not fond of. Braden Holtby may have to stand on his head often if the Caps want to pull the upset.
Rangers in 5

C3 Chicago Blackhawks vs. WC Minnesota Wild
This will probably be the most fun series of the Conference Semis since both teams love to play with a high tempo. Chicago is the deeper and more talented club but the Wild have more stability in net as Devan Dubnyk has been playing really well ever since he got to St. Paul. Look for him to help steal a couple of games but Chicago, in the end, will come out on top.
Blackhawks in 6

P1 Anaheim Ducks vs. P3 Calgary Flames
Here is a fun stat for you, the Flames have not won a game in Anaheim since 2004. That is a losing streak spanning 20 games. Simply put, the Ducks are the stronger club on both sides of the ice but Calgary has shown the resilience thus far with a number of late comebacks against the Canucks in the first round. That said, the strength up the middle for the Ducks will make this a short series.
Ducks in 5

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