May 16: Matt just added his picks to our Google Doc. In they go.
Last round went pretty well, all things considered. Yeah, Montreal got nuked by injuries and a hot goalie, Boston required an historic third-period meltdown to avoid the dreaded 3-1 collapse, Pittsburgh only survived because the Islanders Pittsburghed it up themselves, and Vancouver managed to get swept in the most ironic way possible: taking too many penalties, failing to score, and screaming for Luongo to be put in net. But hey, all of us managed to do pretty well on our picks. Gerard’s clearly the big winner here.
Since there’s no rest for the weary (and because the NHL would like to finish before Canada Day), round two begins the night after a pair of Game 7s. I’m tired and sick so this is going to be super fast and superficial. Enjoy?
Clarence Campbell Conference Semifinals
(1) Chicago vs. (7) Detroit
Playoff History: Extensive, as one might expect from a pair of Original Six teams, having their last hurrah before joining separate conferences next season. The most recent meeting was four years ago, when the Wings dusted off the almost-ready-for-prime-time Hawks in five.
|1934 SCF||1941 SF||1944 SF||1961 SCF||1963 SF||1964 SF||1965 SF||1966 SF|
|1970 QF||1985 DSF||1987 DSF||1989 DSF||1992 DF||1995 CF||2009 CF|
Season Series: 4-0 Hawks, though three of those wins were in OT or the SO, while the fourth was a wee ass-kicking (7-1).
Doogie Says: I think the difference in this series is going to be down to depth: Chicago’s loaded with guys who can fill the net; Detroit has Justin Abdelkader on their top line. Both are good possession teams, both have good goalies, so over the course of a series, that extra scoring will be the difference. Hawks in six.
Gerard Says: They knocked a certain team out of the playoffs a few years back. Hawks in seven. Because Fuck Vancouver. That’s why.
Matt Says: Sorry all, got massively short notice to head to work, just settling in now, still have hardly seen any hockey this season…anyhow, Chicago in 6.
(5) Los Angeles vs. (6) San Jose
Playoff History: The Kings and Sharks met as recently as two years ago, with the Sharks holding off the soon-to-be-champion Kings en route to yet another conference finals disappointment. If you count the Seals lineage with the Sharks, however, there’s also that forty-five-year-old first-round matchup, I guess.
|1969 QF||2011 CQF|
Season Series: 2-1-1 Los Angeles, with the latter “1″ being a SOW.
Doogie Says: It wouldn’t be the playoffs if we didn’t have the Sharks getting turfed in the second round by one of the few teams that’s better than them. Kings in six.
Gerard Says: They knocked a certain team out of the playoffs last year. Kings in four. Because Fuck Vancouver. That’s why.
Matt Says: Thankfully, the dice also see the wisdom in eliminating the Sharks in 5. [Ed: I'm so tempted to change this to just plain "Sharks in five," just to fuck with you for phrasing things weird.]
Prince of Wales Conference Semifinals
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (7) Ottawa
Playoff History: A strong recent rivalry, as it turns out. This will be the fourth meeting in seven years for these two, and the first outside the opening round.
|2007 CQF||2008 CQF||2010 CQF|
Season Series: 3-0 Pittsburgh, with one of the three wins coming in the SO.
Doogie Says: The Penguins only got this far because Evgeni Nabokov is fucking terrible. Seriously, they went 47.6% FenClose/46.5% FenTied against the Islanders. Even with Vokoun, they would’ve been in trouble if the Islanders could buy a save at literally any point. Meanwhile, Craig Anderson is this year’s Mike Smith. Sens in six.
Gerard Says: Sens in five. Because Fuck Toronto. That’s why. [Ed: C-c-c-c-combo breaker!]
Matt Says: Senators in 6.
(4) Boston vs. (6) NY Rangers
Playoff History: The Rangers were the butt-monkey of the Original Six, so it’s not surprising that they seldom met up with their O6 bretheren: only nine matchups in nearly ninety years here, the last one taking place forty years ago.
|1927 SF||1928 SF||1929 SCF||1939 SF||1940 SF||1958 SF||1970 QF||1972 SCF||1973 QF|
* – Denotes two-game, total-goals series.
Season Series: 2-1 Rangers, though New York had one OT and one SO win, while Boston’s only win was in regulation.
Doogie Says: I don’t know what to think at this point. The Rangers got badly owned by possession by the Capitals, but then they made the conference finals last year with the same kitty-bar-the-door defence, thanks to Henrik Lundqvist (who, by the way, finished that series with back-to-back shutouts). On the other hand, the Bruins went shot-for-shot with the friggin’ Leafs. Even with their retoooling, I refuse to believe that the Leafs are as good as the Bruins. Some aspect of that was the Leafs being better than their regular-season stats, but some of that had to be the Bruins playing in second gear. Rask has been okay, Lundqvist has been awesome, neither team’s top line or PP can buy a goal, and both teams are coming off seven-gamers. A lot was made of the Bruins’ late-season heavy schedule, so let’s say that catches up to them, and Hank carries the Rangers back to the conference finals. Rangers in seven.
Gerard Says: They knocked a certain team out of the playoffs a few years back. Bruins in six. Because Fuck Vancouver. That’s why.
Matt Says: And for this one, we shall go with Bruins in 7.