Wow what a batch of Conference Semifinal matchups we just went through. The Capitals continued to crap the bed in the 2nd Round, The Rangers lost to a one man team, Nashville continued its Cinderella run through the West, and a team that literally everybody is rooting against in Anaheim continues to win!
How will the Conference Finals shakedown? Let’s see what our crack staff here at HOTSPROTSTAKES has to say about the West today, since that series starts tonight. East predictions will be available tomorrow.
@Rovitz: Predators in 6
I said way back in our first NHL Playoff Predictions that Nashville could be the underdog team that makes a deep playoff run, so no sense in not picking against them now. (Please ignore every other pick I made.)
They’re doing everything right, scoring in the clutch, getting big saves from Pekka Rinne when needed, and absolutely shutting down teams in the defensive end. The St. Louis series went six games but it never felt close or like the Blues had any real chance at winning.
Plus, they have PK Subban, who is almost impossible to root against.
This is also just as much a “Fuck Anaheim” pick as it is a real selection based on hockey knowledge. Corey Perry is a piece of trash. Ryan Getzlaf continues to have the most punchable face in the NHL, oh and Ryan Kesler is here, who would have more hate against him if he hadn’t spent most of his career toiling away in Vancouver.
But for real, back to hockey talk, the Preds have more depth across the board, better fans, are the hotter, more rested team, and I think that carries them into their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
@BrianoMobile: Predators in 6
How unbeatable do the Nashville Predators look right now? Sure with their late season surges and a comically overrated Blackhawks team in the first round, it’s not surprising to see Nashville make it this far, but they completely cakewalked through two rounds where you’d have expected something that resembles a fight.
And no disrespect to the Oilers, but if Anaheim needs seven games to get past “Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Pals” the 6 barreled assault rifle of Nashville’s offensive minded blueline passing the puck to Johansen, Neal, Forsberg, and Fisher is going to give a Carlyle coached team absolute fits. Are any of those players better than McDavid? Of course not. Are they all much better than Zack Kassian? Of course they are. When Edmonton was able to get the puck moving out of their zone with a quick outlet pass, they crushed Anaheim. And I’m no expert, but I think Nashville might be good at that too. Better, even!
Nashville has everything going their way in this series. They have the best player, the better blue line, and the only goalie capable of stealing a game if they get outplayed. Anaheim is a fine team with a lot of good, young talent but Nashville looks like a complete buzzsaw right now, and are certainly playing better than the team that just pushed Anaheim to a game seven.
@CallMeBednard: Predators in 7
There is no hotter team in the NHL playoffs than the Nashville Predators. Sweeping the perennial champions of the Midwest in round 1, and downing a talented and upstart St. Louis Blues team to get to the conference finals.
They’re gritty, relentless, and are lead by the man himself, P.K. Subban. On top of it all, Pekka Rinne is easily the best goaltender left, and was one of the best 16 at the start. I love what smashville has become, and how hostile their home environment is.
The Ducks narrowly escaped history repeating itself last round against a youth-loaded Edmonton team, and previously swept the Calgary Flames.
This is going to be a black-and-bruiser series, and I’m anticipating a lot of aggressive play, but I think the hottest team in the west moves on to their first Stanley Cup Final.