Saturday, May 17, 2014

NHL Playoff Predictions, Round 3

I was 4/4 in Round 2, but this one will be problematic - on one side at least.

New York Rangers versus Montréal Canadiens:

Luck of the draw, I guess, but one I've been looking forward to since the playoffs began. Henrik Lundqvist will look nothing like the King Henrik we've gotten used to, and Carey Price at the opposite end of the ice will look imperial himself, for the simple fact that Lundqvist just cannot seem to stop the puck when it's shot from the stick of a player wearing the bleu-blanc-rouge, and if Price played the Rangers 82 times a year, he'd have the wins and shutouts records already and seven Vezina trophies. Add my current pick for the Conn Smythe trophy - and reigning Norris trophy winner P.K. Subban - and a team effort that saw all forwards registering at least a point in a 4-game sweep in the first round, and the confidence of just having ousted the President's Trophy-winning Boston Bruins, plus the ghosts of the Old Forum, and the Rangers never had a chance. 7-1, 6-4, 5-3, 8-0.

Habs in 4.

Los Angeles Kings versus Chicago Blackhawks:

This one's problematic. I don't see the Hawks winning it in 5 like they did last year. If they do win, though, they will not repeat as champions, because they're the type of team the Habs can beat; if the Kings come out on top, they will demolish Montréal in the next round. My favourite Canadian goalie Corey Crawford is more stable and regular than his counterpart, Jonathan Quick, but Quick is the best in the world under pressure. If Quick decides the puck's not going in, you can throw 75 pucks at him, it won't get past him; if he's off his game, though, you can score 5 or 6 in the same period. The same can be said for the Kings in general: as they have shown against the Anaheim Ducks, if they decide to play a puck-possession game, the other team just won't get to touch the puck. At some point, they had held the Ducks to just 8 shots in 57 minutes of play spread over two game. But I respect the reigning Champs too much to dismiss them. It smells like fate for Montréal, so something will happen to make the Kings lose, maybe an injury to Marian Gaborik or Anze Kopitar.

Hawks in 7.

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