2012 NHL Stanley Cup playoff predictions: conference finals
Well, that was a painful NHL Stanley Cup conference semifinal round for me. I needed the New York Rangers to beat the Washington Capitals to prevent me from going 0-for-4 in my picks.
A 1-3 mark dropped my record to 7-5. At least I'm still playing, unlike my Philadelphia Flyers.
Here are my conference finals picks.
N.Y. Rangers vs. New Jersey
A rematch of the classic 1994 Eastern Conference final. I can still hear Howie Rose, who was calling the Rangers on the radio while Marv Albert was with the Knicks, screem, "MATTEAU! MATTEAU! MATTEAU!" in that classic Game 7 double-overtime thriller.
Marty Brodeur was the Devils' goalie that night, and he is the only player left from that series still playing.
The Rangers are the top seed in the East, but have needed to win Game 7 in the first rounds to advance. I think that will cost them. The Devils are playing well, too. This could be Broduer's last shot at the Cup. He will get to play his fourth title. The pick: Devils in 6.
Phoenix vs. Los Angeles
Did anyone have these two Pacific Division rivals meeting for a chance to advance to the Cup final? I don't think so.
The Coyotes won the Pacific and took out No. 6 Chicago and No. 4 Nashville. The Kings are the eighth seed, but haven't played like it. They easily disposed of top-seeded Vancouver in five, and swept No. 2 St. Louis.
It will be a battle of the goalies between Phoenix's Mike Smith and Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick. After dismissing the Kings in the first two rounds, I may have to jump on the bandwagon. The pick: Kings in 6.