The Final Four: 10 Bold Predictions For The 2010 NHL Conference Finals
We have seen 49 games of post-season hockey in 2010 thus far.
Most of those games, if not all of them, have been truly and strictly entertaining.
We have been witnesses of one of the most incredible upsets in sports history, and one of the most incredible chokes in sports history.
We have seen or at least think the New Jersey Devils are still regretting the Ilya Kovalchuk trade.
The San Jose Sharks overcame their choking nightmares by getting to the second round. The Detroit Red-Wings defeated the city of Phoenix in a fantastic series that went the distance.
The Vancouver Canucks overcame the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. Chicago defeated Nashville in six games.
The Montreal Canadians produced one of the biggest upsets in hockey history by defeating the Washington Capitals. The Flyers won their series against the Devils in a short five game series. Pittsburgh defeated Ottawa and Boston defeated Buffalo.
In the second round, another massive upset was formed when the Canadians ousted the defending cup champions Pittsburgh in seven games.
San Jose beat the Red-Wings to make it to the final four and the Blackhawks defeated the Canucks for the second straight season in the second round of the NHL Playoffs.
Oh yeah, and the Philadelphia Flyers became just the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, against the Boston Bruins.
So yeah, I'd say it's been one heck of a playoffs so far, and the best part is that there are still two rounds to go!
Jaroslav Halak Will Record a Shut-Out
Jaroslav Halak has been key to Montreal's run for the cup.
In the first round against the Washington Capials, Halak was lights out especially in games five, six, and seven.
He is finally starting to get some help from his offense but Halak is also due now to record his first-ever post-season shutout.
Thornton, Heatley, & Marleau Will All Get a Point In Game One
The 'Big Three' were all on the verge of once again being victims of a post-season choke.
However, in the second round, San Jose's 'Big Three' came alive (or at least Thornton and Marleau did) and I don't see them looking back.
I predict them to come out firing against the Blackhawks and they will all register at least one single point in game one.
TSN Will Still Be Talking About Sidney Crosby Next Week
NHL's golden boy was eliminated from playoff contention by the Montreal Canadians earlier this week.
But something tells me that even though the Cup Semi-Finals will be going on, TSN will still find a way to talk about Sidney Crosby, (it'll probably be Pierre McGuire who talks about him).
We Will See Two Overtime Games Between San Jose and Chicago
This series is as tight as ever. The top two teams in the Western Conference battling it out.
I won't be surprised to see at least two games enter extra frames.
We Will See Three Overtime Games Between Montreal and Philadelphia
The title is called 'Bold' predictions after-all.
I predict three whole games in the Montreal-Philadelphia series will go to overtime.
At Least One Star Player Will Be Injured
The Injury bug is due to hit at least one team in the Final Four.
Granted that Montreal is already without Andrei Markov, at least one of the following 10 players will be injured in the Conference Finals:
Jonathan Toews (CHI)
Patrick Kane (CHI)
Dustin Byfuglien (CHI)
James Van Reimsdyk (PHI)
Kimo Timonen (PHI)
Dany Heatley (SJ)
Patrick Marleau (SJ)
Ryan Clowe (SJ)
Tomas Plekanec (MTL)
Brian Gionta (MTL)
Every Team Will Win A Game On The Road
Both the East and West finals series are as tight as ever.
There is a great chance that both series go the distance and I predict that all four teams will find a way to win at least one game on the road.
Fans Will Continue To Hate The Referees
I feel like this has been the worst playoffs ever for referees.
Almost every single game I've watched I've seen fans complain about the refs and the calls that were made (and not made). I have no doubt that that will continue.
The San Jose Sharks Will Defeat The Chicago Blackhawks
Many are against this prediction, but I have full confidence in San Jose that they can oust Chicago in the Cup Semi-Finals.
Prediction: San Jose in Seven.
The Montreal Canadiens Will Defeat The Philadelphia Flyers
I am actually more on the fence with this one than I am with the San Jose-Chicago series.
I truly am probably 50-50 with this series, but since I have to pick one, I'll say that Jaroslav Halak will be to hard to beat for the Flyers and the Habs will win it.
Prediction: Montreal in Six.