NHL Playoff Update
By Peter Santo
The Conference Finals and both the NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing and with it come four highly entertaining series.
In the NHL, the Rangers and Lightning are battling it out for the Eastern Conference title while the Blackhawks and Ducks duke it out in the West. Both series are coming down to the wire, with the Lightning and Ducks respectively leading 3-2.
The Lightning were able to take advantage of lackluster performances from Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and ride their hot offense and goaltending to an early lead. However, the blue shirts were not going down without a fight.
The Rangers have fought back valiantly and will look to force a game 7. But they will need another superb showing from Lunqvist and a hot offensive night to do so. Getting the puck past Ben Bishop has also proved to be quite the challenge for the Rangers.
Both teams have fought hard all series, but the Rangers have dug themselves a bit too big a hole, and the Lightning are too good to let this series slip away. I predict the Rangers will continue to fight, but the Lightning will win game 6 in OT tonight and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Now on to the best series no one is talking about, the Western Conference Final between the Blackhawks and the Ducks. Both of these teams play with styles the Bruins should model themselves after, with superb offensive talent and solid defense and goaltending to boot, they have been stalwarts near the top of the West for years.
While the Blackhawks offense has been as hot as ever, it is their goaltending that is seemingly standing in the way of their third Stanley Cup Final appearance in six years. And with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf leading the charge for Anaheim, they have taken full advantage of Crawford’s mistakes.
From the start it was clear that these teams were very evenly matched offensively and that the winner would be the team that played better in their own end. So far that has been Anaheim, and look for that to continue in games 6 and 7 (if necessary).
Kane and Toews are on fire and Seabrook has been solid defensively all season, but this is simply not the Corey Crawford we saw rob the Bruins of a second Stanley Cup in three years two years ago. Anaheim has been on the outside looking in for awhile, assembling solid teams but failing to put it all together in the postseason. That ends this year, Ducks in six.