The quarterfinals are over and the Anaheim Ducks spent over $130 million on Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to contract extensions, just to watch it all go down the toilet last week. But I’ll give Getzlaf credit, he led when they needed it as for Perry though, he was a total bust in the quarterfinals.
The Wild screwed up my playoff bracket and although it was a long shot I still believe if Niklas Backstrom never got hurt Minnesota would have knocked off the Blackhawks. Then again, Backstrom’s middle name is “injury”.
It’s OK though because if any team left in the West can knock out Chicago it is Detroit.
DETROIT RED WINGS (7) vs CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (1)
It’s an original 6 match-up and if you think back to the regular season it was Mike Babcock’s squad who almost defeated Chicago in regulation, when Chicago had that incredible streak going on. Needless to say Patrick Kane rallied the team, tied the game then won it in a shootout.
Don’t expect the same results though.
Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is finally living up to the hype and he is filling Lindstrom’s skates. He’s playing like he deserves to be captain and he is making the organization look brilliant, which is no surprise there.
As many of you already know I am a BIG believer in American born goaltenders, and that is exactly what Jimmy Howard is. The last two Conn Smythe winners were American born goaltenders and Howard could be the next.
It comes down to coaching for me in this series and I will back Mike Babcock any day of the week. He dealt with injuries all season and he still kept this young squad in line making the playoffs and knocking off the mighty Anaheim Ducks in 7.
I once used to think Howard didn’t have what it took to win in the playoffs but he has proven me wrong and he has everything it takes to win in the playoffs.
Give me Howard and Babcock in 7. Detroit Red Wings to advance in 7 games.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (6) vs LOS ANGELES KINGS (5)
It was a nail biter but L.A. got the job done against a legitimate St. Louis Blues team that could have won the Stanley Cup. I underestimated the Blues this season but at the end of the day the Kings got the job done, and for that in my opinion, will be their toughest opponent in the playoffs.
The Shark swept Vancouver but honestly, there’s no surprise there. I’ve said it since 2011 that the Sedin sisters had to go and Luongo had to stay. Obviously Vancouver is thinking the opposite but what do I know, I am just a NHL handicapper? I don’t actually bet these games for a living, right? WRONG!
THE SEDIN SISTERS HAVE GOT TO GO, WAKE UP VANCOUVER!
The Sharks have a good squad BUT they traded all of their toughness at the trade deadline and it’s going to hurt them. I said their current toughness would defeat Vancouver, and it did, but let’s be real, you don’t need much toughness to beat the Canucks. I am all about Logan Couture but they will need toughness to beat the Kings, it’s that simple.
I expect Daryl Sutter to rely on Mike Richards this series, and being a big fan of Richards I don’t expect him to disappoint. The Kings forecheck is back to form as it was last year in the playoffs and as I said earlier, it knocked off a legitimate Stanley Cup team in St. Louis. It will outwork San Jose to the point all the choking Thornton comments will stir back up on Twitter.
By the way did I mention how I’m a big believer in American born goaltenders? Jonathan Quick will represent America in the 2014 Olympics but first he will lead the Kings to the Western Conference finals.
L.A. Kings to advance in 6 games.
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