Saturday, May 14, 2016

NHL Predictions 2015-16: Round Three

Wrong again in Round Two, only accurately predicting one of four series. Two of hem went to 7 games, however, and could have gone either way, so I was very close to being right on three out of four.

Eastern Final:

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Pittsburgh Penguins:
Matt Murray is for real in nets for the Pens. Then again, so is the Bolts' Ben Bishop. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were silenced by the Washington Capitals in the second round and a big part of me doesn't see that happening again, but Tampa's depth should also be accounted for. Any team with the luxury of having Alex Killorn in its middle-six and getting to the Conference Final without playing Steven Stamkos in a single game deserves some credit, and Victor Hedman is better than Kris Letang.

Bolts in 6

Western Final:

San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues:
Here are two teams that are tired of choking come playoff time and are playing way above their heads this Spring. San Jose beat a contender in the Los Angeles Kings and a fighter in the Nashville Predators; St. Louis beat the reigning champions in the Chicago Blackhawks and the Western regular-season champs in the Dallas Stars, both times in seven games.

So it's all about finding out of the Blues will be exhausted from over-performing or if they can run on adrenaline and confidence for one more round.

I think they can. Brian Elliott is the better goalie in this series, and all respect due to Joe Pavelski, Vladimir Tarasenko's still the best forward standing in the West. Brent Burns is a force on defense for the Sharks and Marc-André Vlasic is there to actually defend, but the Blues have three top-level defenders who can actually do both at a level just under those two in Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester, with Colton Parayko also proving he can take on that type of role. And four 7.9/10s beats two 8.1/10s any day of the week.

Blues in 7

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