Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: Predicting the Entire Conference Finals
With the Rangers knocking off the Capitals last night, there are only four teams remaining in the chase for Lord Stanley's Cup.
If you try to tell me that you predicted all four of these teams—including the Coyotes, Kings, and Devils—to get this far, you are lying.
The unpredictability of this year's playoffs has made this one of the most exciting years in recent history—pretty much everyone who has tried to make predictions has made a fool of themselves.
Because of this, none of these predictions mean anything whatsoever, but it is always interesting to see how everything will play out in relation to what you envision before it does.
Game 1: Los Angeles Kings at Phoenix Coyotes
This West Coast series starts out tonight at 9 pm Eastern Time.
In one of the best goalie showcases of the playoffs, Mike Smith takes on Jonathan Quick, knowing whoever yields the least amount of goals will have a shot at the Stanley Cup.
Tonight, the Coyotes will open the series with a bang at home, scoring three goals on Quick while Mike Smith stands tall.
Prediction: Los Angeles 1, Phoenix 3
Game 1: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
This is arguably the greatest rivalry in the game today.
New York just came off of a crucial Game 7 win (its second of the playoffs) against Washington on Saturday night, but will be right back at it on Monday facing a Devils team who has had somewhat of a lengthy break after knocking off a strong Flyers team in just five games.
The Rangers will have barely any time to recover after a grueling series that went the distance, and the Devils will take advantage of that, winning Game 1 in Madison Square Garden.
Prediction: New Jersey 3, New York 2
Game 2: Los Angeles Kings at Phoenix Coyotes
This game is almost a do-or-die situation for the Kings, after suffering their first road loss of the playoffs in Game 1.
They will not let this series slip out of their grasp this easily, and the Kings will roar back in Game 2 due to a terrific performance from Jonathan Quick.
Prediction: Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 1
Game 2: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
New Jersey will have now won six of seven playoff games, and the Rangers know that this game on home ice is a must-win.
Henrik Lundqvist will stand tall, holding the Devils to just one goal while the Rangers offense takes it to Marty.
Prediction: New Jersey 1, New York 4
Game 3: Phoenix Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings
The series moves to Hollywood, deadlocked at one game apiece.
Jonathan Quick will turn in another terrific performance at Staples Center, and the Kings offense will find a way to get more goals past Mike Smith.
Prediction: Phoenix 2, Los Angeles 4
Game 3: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Despite being 3-8 at the Rock in the playoffs before this season, they have now won four of five games at home.
This will be the first game of the Conference Final to go to overtime, and New Jersey—who has been great in overtime—will send the crowd home happy with a win.
Prediction: New York 3, New Jersey 4 (OT)
Game 4: Phoenix Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix has played near-perfect hockey on the road these playoffs, and will need to again in order to avoid a 3-1 series deficit in a pivotal Game 4.
This will be a terrific contest, with constant action that will keep the crowd on its heels. The teams will not be able to solve it in regulation, so the game will go to overtime.
Smith and Quick will remain perfect in the first overtime, sending the game to a second overtime, where the Coyotes will tie up the series and send it back to Glendale.
Prediction: Phoenix 3, Los Angeles 2 (2OT)
Game 4: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
The Rangers are now in a spot where they must win, as the series will either be tied up at two games apiece or the Devils will hold a 3-1 series lead after this game.
This game is critical for the Rangers, and they will do whatever they can in order to win. Henrik Lundqvist will once again come up huge in a critical situation, leading the Rangers to a low-scoring victory.
Prediction: New York 2, New Jersey 1
Game 5: Los Angeles Kings at Phoenix Coyotes
As the series shifts to the desert, both teams know that the winner will be one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.
After another terrific goalie battle, this game will go to overtime.
Early into the first overtime, Los Angeles will put one past Mike Smith, winning the game and taking a 3-2 series lead.
Prediction: Los Angeles 2, Phoenix 1 (OT)
Game 5: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
A big game in the Big Apple, as two rivals square off in now what has become a best-of-three.
Surprising everyone, New Jersey's offense will put on a show in Game 5 while Brodeur will give the Rangers nightmares despite out-shooting New Jersey by a wide margin.
Prediction: New Jersey 4, New York 2
Game 6: Phoenix Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings
In Game 6, the Kings will be determined to take the series in front of their home crowd and send themselves to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1993.
The Kings will once again lean on Jonathan Quick, but the Coyotes will throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at Quick and the Kings' defense. Los Angeles, however, will play offense themselves, earning a close victory to send them to the Stanley Cup Final.
Prediction: Phoenix 3, Los Angeles 4
Game 6: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Facing elimination, the Rangers know that to win this series, they will need to go to yet another Game 7...after winning Game 6 first.
They will be going into hostile territory at the Rock, and will need to have a great performance from Henrik Lundqvist in order to stave off elimination.
This game will go to double overtime, with the Rangers outlasting their Hudson River rivals and getting the overtime goal.
Prediction: New York 3, New Jersey 1
Game 7: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Another classic Game 7 at the Garden between these two historic rivals.
The Rangers will not disappoint their home crowd, making the game close but winning it in the end and sealing it off with an empty net goal.
Henrik Lundqvist and Co. will send their team to its first Stanley Cup Final since the memorable year of 1994, where they will face off against the Cinderella story Los Angeles Kings.
Prediction: New Jersey 2, New York 4