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NHL Stanley Cup Conference Finals

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Scott Newman
Scott Newman

 The heat is on as we are now into the NHL conference finals. The first and second seed made it from the west. While out east the seventh and eighth seed surprised everyone making NHL history for this rare occurrence. Now it’s time to let the best teams go through to the Stanley Cup final. What surprises are in store for this most important round?

1. San Jose Sharks 51-20-11 - 113 points vs. 2. Chicago Blackhawks 52-22-08 - 112 points
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks disposed of the tired looking Red Wings in 5 games. This helped shrug off their tag as one of the biggest post season flops each playoffs as they advanced to the western conference final. They do not seem to be firing on all cylinders yet with big question marks surrounding the top line players. However, the depth of the Sharks scoring is unquestionable as well as the playoff experienced players. They will need to call on all of their powers in facing the young, fast and strong Blackhawks.
Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks played the bully against the Canucks taking them out in 6 games. The confidence that was shown in this team was very apparent. They look ready for this indeed. Toews & Kane are really leading this outfit and making everything possible to free up the rest of the team. The Sharks are the last western team standing in the path. It seems fitting that these two teams were the most dominant of the conference almost the whole regular season. This should be a great matchup with plenty of scoring.
Top Scorers:
SharksJoe Pavelski 9G 6A 15P, Dany Heatley 2G 9A 11P, Joe Thornton 3G 8A 11P
BlackhawksJonathan Toews 6G 14A 20P, Patrick Kane 7G 8A 15P, Patrick Sharp 5G 9A 14P
SharksEvgeni Nabokov 2.43 GAA .910 SV% 1 SO
BlackhawksAntti Niemi 2.57 GAA .910 SV% 2 SO
The Sharks will really need to get it all together to beat the Blackhawks. The teams are well matched as they both have great scoring depth, goaltending and quality special team units. The coach’s will really need to play smart against each other as bad penalties could really give away games. Chicago Blackhawks in 6 Games
7. Philadelphia Flyers 41-35-06 - 88 points vs. 8. Montreal Canadiens 39-33-10 - 88 points
Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers are on a miracle run, this is the best way to describe it. They have dealt with injuries to their goaltenders and key players. Scraping into the playoffs in the last day of the regular season, virtually rolling the devils, and then surprising everyone by completing a 7 game victory over the Bruins. They were 3-0 down then took them to 3-3 to force the seventh game. Then they were down 3-0 after the first period and still found a way to win becoming the third team in NHL history to do this! Timely scoring, Simon Gagne returning to the lineup and belief is what I see in this team. They are ready for this series against the equally remarkable Canadiens.
Montreal Canadiens
The Habs have been very busy this playoffs. They are the other huge talking point of the post season. Dispatching the President Trophy winners Capitals and then the defending Stanley Cup champion’s Penguins both in seven games. So, how much heat can this team take? They are the eighth seed of the east on an incredible run. Goaltending, blocking shots, timely scoring, penalty killing are some of the biggest attributes for this team. They truly believe in themselves and the Bell Centre is the loudest place in the playoffs. The matchup with the seventh seed Flyers is perfect as both of these teams achieved so much to get there.
Top Scorers:
FlyersMichael Richards 5G 12A 17P, Daniel Briere 7G 8A 15P, Chris Pronger 4G 7A 11P
CanadiensMichael Cammalleri 12G 6A 18P, Brian Gionta 7G 5A 12P, Scott Gomez 1G 10A 11P
FlyersMichael Leighton 1.54 GAA .940 SV% 0 SO
CanadiensJaroslav Halak 2.42 GAA .930 SV% 0 SO
One of these worthy teams must leave the post season. It will be an interesting series as both teams accomplished so much in the run getting this far it now is a question of who wants it the most and is there enough gas in the tank. Whatever the outcome, the best team will emerge. The Habs fans will not let up as this is an incredible opportunity. The Flyers fans are surprised to be here but now have huge expectations. Philadelphia Flyers in 6 Games

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