A continuing feature this month leading up to October 1 is a process of elimination to determine my Stanley Cup prediction. Last week, I crossed Anaheim and Pittsburgh off my list, and two more will be eliminated here. To refresh your memory, here are the 4 remaining teams:
Here’s a look at two potentially great conference finals match-ups…
Vancouver vs. Calgary
This fierce rivalry north of the border would be taken to another level in a potential conference final matchup. The last time these two met in the playoffs, they had en epic 7-game series… and I wouldn’t expect anything less. In my bracket, Calgary would have beaten San Jose and Detroit; Vancouver took down St. Louis and Anaheim. Brent Sutter & company would be drained from their two series, and already lack offensive firepower past Iginla and Jokinen. Vancouver, on the other hand, counters that with solid team defense and 3 lines that can put the puck in the net. I feel like this will finally be Luongo’s year that he succeeds in the playoffs. Really good offensive depth ultimately advances the Canucks to the Cup Finals.
The pick: Vancouver in 7
Philadelphia vs. Boston
Philly-Boston has potential to be more than just the Winter Classic matchup. This would be a rock ‘em, sock ‘em series for sure. Both teams are kind of similar – great defense and forwards with offensive flair. In my bracket simulation, I’ve got Boston beating Ottawa and Washington on their way to the 3rd round; Philly eliminating Montreal and Pittsburgh. This is a tough prediction, as I like both teams’ chances to make it to the finals. But if this is going to be a rugged series, you have to go with Chris Pronger and the Flyers. They’re not called the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ for nothin’! There are also two trends to watch here: 1- Pronger went to the finals in the first year with Edmonton and Anaheim. 2- The road team in the Winter Classic has gone to the finals each of the last two years. Philly advances to the Cup Finals.
The pick: Philadelphia in 6
Next Wednesday I will reveal my Cup winner… it’s down to Luongo & the Canucks against Pronger & the Flyers!!
Jokinen appears likely to return for Pens
10 minutes ago