Friday, May 13, 2011
Posted: 4 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio and Sarah Baicker
Experience may count sometimes, but apparently not in NHL playoff predictions. Tim Panaccio was a disappointing 1-3 in the second round (making him 8-4 overall), and Sarah Baicker was 3-1, bringing her combined record to 10-2.
The predicting only gets more difficult, though. Here are Tim and Sarahs choices for who moves on to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Eastern Conference semifinalsNo. 5 Tampa Bay vs. No. 3 Boston
Tim: As much as wed love to see Boston GM Peter Chiarellis Bruins make to the Cup Final, we dont think so. Even with Zdeno Chara and the suffocating defense that Boston played, their special teams are zero and the Bolts have the best power play among those teams alive Tampas transition game is flawless and while Tim Thomas has the edge over Dwayne Roloson, the Bolts have more Cup experience which they draw on right now starting with Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. No Patrice Bergeron at the start for Boston which is a factor, as well. Tampa in six.
Sarah: Honestly, I thought the Washington Capitals would have gotten their act together and taken down the Bolts last round. But Tampa is tough their star-power offense was too much for the Caps to handle, and their power play, as Tim mentions, will give the Bruins fits. But Bostons still got that chip on their shoulder (you know, from last year ) and on top of it, they win the goaltending battle hands-down. Boston is a bigger, stronger, more talented team than they were last season and theyve got the more recent playoff experience on top of it. My gut says go Bruins. Boston in six.
Western Conference semifinalsNo. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 2 San Jose
Tim: Everyone has been waiting for years for Joe Thornton to take the Sharks (Bruins, even) on his shoulders and carry them. And thats what Big Joe did in Game 7 for San Jose against Detroit. But Vancouver from the outset impressed us. Even when the Flyers were near the top of the league in January, the Canucks decimated them. Vancouver can outskate San Jose but perhaps not out hit them or out-forecheck them. Both these franchises carry unfulfilled promises from way back. Both are anxious to rid the choke label thats followed them for so long in getting to the Final. San Jose has more workers; Vancouver more finesse. Ryan Kesler is a Conn Smythe finalist at this point. San Jose in six.
Sarah: This is kind of tough. After watching the Sharks last few games, theres a lot to like about them not the least of which being Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture. But Ive believed that Vancouver was going to make the Cup Final all along, especially since, as Tim notes, they managed to crush the Flyers even when the home team was playing at the top of their game. Im going to stick with the Canucks on this one, but I think its going to be a close one. Canucks in seven.