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The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs - Semi Finals

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Scott Newman
Scott Newman

They had it all in the first round of the playoffs with upsets, sweeps, seventh games, fighting, suspension, triumph and failure. There was never a boring moment. With the NHL quarter finals done and dusted, we can now look forward to the conference semi-finals. What surprises wait this time?

Quarter Finals Analysis

What I picked / actual result : 6/8 series - 2 correct margins
Western Conference
 
San Jose vs. Anaheim San Jose in 6 (Anaheim in 6)  Detroit vs. Columbus Columbus in 6 (Detroit in 4)  Vancouver vs. St. Louis Vancouver in 5 (Vancouver in 4)  Chicago vs. Calgary Chicago in 7 (Chicago in 6)
Eastern Conference
 
Boston vs. Montreal Boston in 4 (Boston in 4)  Washington vs. New York Washington in 7 (Washington in 7)  New Jersey vs. Carolina Carolina in 6 (Carolina in 7)  Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia Pittsburgh in 7 (Pittsburgh in 6)
 
The upset : The new President Trophy holders (San Jose Sharks) had another disappointing playoffs and could not muster the Anaheim Ducks. This was by far and wide the biggest upset with the eighth seed beating the first seed convincingly.Big tick for Jonas Hiller.
The New Jersey Devils lost a heartbreaker at home in game 7 with the most tightly fought series against the Carolina Hurricanes who scored timely goals to win. This series was the closest of the round.
 
The Almost : The New York Rangers came close to beating the Washington Capitals but gave up a 3-1 lead and lost in game 7. The Rangers could not find the offence to get the job done. (I do feel sorry for the Rangers)
 
The Domination : The Detroit Red Wings well outgunned the inexperienced Columbus Blue Jackets who could not stand up to the defending champions who showed class. (My upset pick gone horribly wrong ... also could have picked the Ducks but only in my dreams)
The Vancouver Canucks were far too good for the St. Louis Blues in a mismatch. The Blues had broken their back to make the playoffs and the Canucks cruised in and shut up shop. Thanks to Roberto Luongo.
The Boston Bruins are really looking as favourites for the east by smashing the Montreal Canadiens. They didn't get out of second gear and have a lot of hockey left in B town.
 
The What If? : The Chicago Blackhawks were good enough to beat the Calgary Flames. The Flames will be bitterly disappointed as they had a roster to go deep in the playoffs but could not beat the young Hawks.
The Pittsburgh Penguins who may have felt threatened by the goal scoring menace the Philadelphia Flyers. Dispatched them in 6. They will feel good as there were no bumps along the way. The Flyers on the other hand have nothing to blame but themselves.
 
NOW FOR THE SEMI FINAL PREVIEW :
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI FINALS
 
#2 DETROIT REDWINGS vs. #8 ANAHEIM DUCKS
Don't be fooled by the Ducks for being an eighth seed after ousting the highly favoured Sharks. This Detroit team has a great balance and Chris Osgood is really proving himself this playoffs. (again) Can the Ducks do what the Dallas Stars did last post season? I don't think so.
 
Detroit clutch players : Johan Franzen  6pts Daniel Cleary 5 pts Chris Osgood 1.75 GAA .936 SV% 1SO
Anaheim clutch players : Ryan Getzlaf 8pts Scott Niedermayer 5pts Jonas Hiller 1.65 GAA .957 2 SO
Prediction : REDWINGS IN SIX (They know how to get the job done, especially at the Joe Louis Arena)
 
#3 VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs. #4 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
This will be an intriguing series matchup as there is a lot of speed, skill and goaltending in both teams. The home ice may prove to be the big advantage for the Canucks. The Hawks may outgun the Canucks offense but the masked men in this one will have the final say.
 
Vancouver clutch players : Daniel Sedin 5pts Henrik Sedin 4pts Roberto Luongo 1.16 GAA .962 1 SO
Chicago clutch players : Kris Versteeg 7pts Martin Havlat 6pts Nikolai Khabibulin 2.52 GAA .914 0 SO
Prediction : CANUCKS IN FIVE (The Canucks have been playing their best hockey at just the right time)
 
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMI FINALS
 
#1 BOSTON BRUINS vs. #6 CAROLINA HURRICANES
This will not be a walk over again for the Bruins. The Canes showed what it takes to beat Martin Brodeur's Devils in the best show of the first round. Now the Bruins stand in their way. The B's look very fearsome and have had the best season that I can remember. Both are balance and are getting great goaltending. I like this series a lot. The coaches will be huge in this one.
 
Boston clutch players : Michael Ryder 7pts Phil Kessel 6pts Tim Thomas 1.50 GAA .946 0 SO
Carolina clutch players : Eric Staal 7pts Ray Whitney 7pts Cam Ward 2.11 GAA .938 1 SO
Prediction : BRUINS IN SIX (I respect the Canes this season but the Bruins have way too much going for them)
 
#3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS vs. #4 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
This is my pick of the series as being the best to watch. The Capitals have surprised everyone by coming back and beating the Rangers (switching goalies to rookie Varlamov) with purely wanting it more. They have a roster full of strength. The Pens are the previous Eastern champions with a core ready to surge back to the final. You will expect a goal fest here as these teams have firepower. Let the best team win!
 
Washington clutch players : Alexander Semin 8pts Alexander Ovechkin 7pts Simeon Varlamov 1.17 GAA .952 2 SO
Pittsburgh clutch players : Evgeni Malkin 9pts Sidney Crosby 8pts Marc-Andre Fleury 2.39 GAA .922 0 SO
Prediction : PENGUINS IN SEVEN (Upset! Series of the round? M-AF comes out on top? Great viewing?)
 
P.S. BRING BACK NHL PLAYOFF HOCKEY SKY TV !!! (NZ)

 

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