NHL Conference Finals Preview

We are so close to the Stanley Cup.  Which means the last week of school, which means Finals.  A lot of finals.  Sports and school.

Anyways, here’s previews for the West and East Final, which begins tonight with Game 1 of Penguins-Lightning.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

What an unprecedented East Final.

The Penguins pulled off a massive upset in the 2nd round, beating the President Trophy winners in six games on an OT goal.  It was a fantastic series.  One of the few where I’m not sure if the best team won…

Tampa Bay beat the Islanders, which wasn’t shocking whatsoever.  Its fair to say this will be a test for the Lightning.

I think this series is going to be very contradictory.  A lot of things will make sense and a lot won’t.  I think both teams will have a game where they massacre the other.  I think there will be a 3OT game at some point.  Why?  They’re both so evenly matched.

Tampa Bay’s biggest problem heading into this series will be their offense, and if they are able to keep up.  This will be the series they will miss Steven Stamkos (Although, reports today say he might be back soon).  However, Tampa Bay has gotten great production out of their key players, unlike Pittsburgh, where guys on lower lines have produced more their stars.

If I’m the Lightning, I trust my defense if guys like Nick Bonino and Ian Cole are Pittsburgh’s most productive guys.  Ben Bishop is a fantastic goalie if anything gets through the D.

Matt Murray has gained my trust as a goalie.  He will have his hands full with a crafty and speedy offense like Tampa Bay’s, but Pittsburgh’s strong defense and Murray’s own improvement should somewhat contain Tampa’s offense.

I think this is overall a low-scoring series, but Tampa Bay’s craftiness on offense and star-power (thats producing) is too much for the Penguins.

Pick: Lightning in 7

St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks 

*Jaws music*

Be afraid everyone!  Be very afraid!

I’ve been calling a Sharks Cup run ever since they beat the Kings in the first round, and now, they’re only four wins away.

I think this is dangerous series for St. Louis.  Nobody really expected them here.  Usually, thats a good thing.  But this is a team that has trouble at the end of games and much worse goaltending than their opponent.  I think it goes against them.

San Jose is on fire.  I was talking to a friend of mine today, who actually has the Sharks going all the way.  He reminded me that momentum can never be underrated in hockey.  It carries.  That can only help San Jose.

San Jose is scoring an insane amount of goals, and against good defenses too.  Plus, Jake Allen and Brian Elliot are probably the worst goalies they’ve faced this postseason.  I expect the Sharks to continue their rampant goal-scoring.

It will be tough for the Blues to keep up.  And even if they do, who says they’ll keep the lead?  The collapses went both ways in the Dallas series, but St. Louis has the history of it behind them.  Advantage: San Jose.

Its clear by now San Jose is the better team.  I’m excited for the Cup, in which we’ll probably lose to Tampa Bay in like five.

Pick: San Jose in 5