2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Conference semifinals predictions

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Categories: Sports

If you heard some spine-chilling screaming coming from The Daily Gazette offices around 9:30 Friday night, that was me. My Philadelphia Flyers advanced in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a hard-fought, six-game Eastern Conference quarterfinal-round series victory against a pesky Montreal Canadiens squad.

Now, the Flyers get the New York Islanders. It’s the fifth time the two rivals will meet in the postseason. The Flyers are 3-1 against the Islanders in the playoffs, winning series in 1975, 1985 and 1987.

But the stigma of the six-game loss to the Islanders in the 1980 Stanley Cup Final still haunts me 40 years later. In particular, the Game 6 overtime loss, which made Bob Nystrom an Islanders legend when he scored the game-winning goal past a passive goalie Pete Peeters (you could have given a better effort, Pete! Phil Myre would have!), gives me nightmares.

That was the game when linesman Leon Stickle became public enemy No. 1 when he missed an offsides call in the first period that led to an Islanders goal. Had there been video review, it would have been overturned.

But I do recognize that it was the Islanders’ time back then. They won four Cups in a row and got to a fifth straight final. Now, you’re lucky if the defending Stanley Cup champion can get past the first round. Am I right, the 2019 Washington Capitals and 2020 St. Louis Blues?

As for my conference quarterfinal picks, I went 5-3. I was mediocre again. Through two rounds, I’m 9-7.

I hope to improve in the conference semifinals.

Here are my picks.

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders —
Philadelphia in 7.
Tampa Bay vs. Boston — Tampa Bay in 6.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Vegas vs. Vancouver —
Vegas in 6.
Colorado vs. Dallas — Colorado in 5.

On Twitter, follow Associate Sports Editor Ken Schott @slapschotts and Daily Gazette Sports @dgazettesports. Email Schott at [email protected] Listen to “The Parting Schotts Podcast” at https://dailygazette.com/sports/partingschotts, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify and SoundCloud.

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