Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 3

It's a bi-costal championship round as the Conference championship will determine just who will be playing for the Stanley Cup. My interest in watching all the games have been waining, but I'm still looking at the headlines and highlights on various sources to keep up with what's going on. I'd never expected to see these four teams in the Conference finals, but maybe it's just symptomatic of a power shift among the elite teams. The NHL must be loving this that they are in the biggest US markets. Could this turn over to ratings or an increased interest?

Western Conference

Phoenix v. Los Angeles

Could this be the Coyote's last stand as a franchise? I didn't expect to see the Coyotes this far into it, but I can understand it. Mike Smith has been another example of a hot goalie putting his team on his back. But give Coach Tippet a chance as well. He's been producing winning teams since the Dallas Stars were continual contenders. But LA has a goalie of their own. Look for Jon Quick to shut down the slightly inferior Phoenix lineup and Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to produce like they did for the Flyers.

Prediction: Los Angeles in 5

Eastern Conference

New Jersey v. N.Y. Rangers

It's two of the three teams in the largest media market in North America. The best thing that has come out of the Eastern Conference is how strong the Atlantic Division teams are. Two division rivals New Jersey and the NY Rangers have had quite the violent recent history. Coach "Torts" is still driving the press nuts. This may be Brodeur's last run in the playoffs as he might decide to go out on top with a Finals appearance. Since the Devils are a team in transition, the window of opportunity to win Kovalchuck's contract finally paying off? I'm hearing rumors that the golf courses miss Ilja around this time of year. Either way, the Devils do things their way and are just happy with it.

Prediction: NY Rangers in 7

Could we see a Los Angeles vs New York final for the Stanley Cup? I am certainly going to try to watch the finals for sure.

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