Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions - Round 3

I don't know if the Penguins are considered to be as a "shocking upset", but they did seem to upset a lot of Capitals fans and mainstream media personalities as well. It's amazing what the Penguins have been doing, because it's been without their top two stars. Crosby is 3g and 7a for 10p in 11 games played. Malkin is 3g and 6a for 9p in 10 games played. This is not going to get either of these players Conn Smythe considerations for playoff MVP. I don't think this is sustainable now that they've gone this deep into the tournament. We here are going to wait and see how the team adjusts to the next challenge.

As for the San Jose Sharks, It's Stanley Cup or bust with them. Their beards can't get any bigger than they are - or can they? Their elder statesmen have to ride off together because if they don't, then surely they are going to reconstruct the roster without them.

The excitement must be really huge in Southern California this year as well as the possibility of Blues fans seeing a Finals appearance in 49 years.

Let's break it down a little further below:

Western Conference

St. Louis v. San Jose
St. Louis now got it in their heads that they can be world beaters and fight off the best teams in the NHL. The Blues haven't been to the Stanley Cup finals, but they've gotten to the Conference finals back in the Gretzky days. I'd expect to see a real tired group of players with the Sharks and Blues to play a slow prodding Game 1. They've extended their playoff games to playing 14 games already. They're beat up. Both of them. I'd give the edge in goaltending with the Blues. Allen and Elliot are a great tandem, but just makes the old truism still relevant: "Having two starting goaltenders means you 'aint got one". Look for Thornton and Pavelski to cram a few goals out through their sheer force of beard will. I'm rooting for Jaden Schwartz to get to the finals considering all he has gone through.

Prediction: Blues in 5

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh v. Tampa Bay

I'd say that the Lightning team is only the second team that truly threatens to derail the Pittsburgh Penguins hot playoff run. Matt Murray has been playing above his pay grade for months now in Fleury's absence. They've created somewhat of a controversy, but Coach Richards has indicated that he's going to go with the "hot hand". But then, when will Fleury get a chance knowing full well he's their number one guy and having not been in a game for months is not good. He could be very rusty the next time they need him. Tampa's goalie doesn't have this problem. Bishop is 8-2 with a .938 GAA. Look for Drouin to extend his desire to be the "next one" in Tampa. He wants to be treated like a franchise player, so NOW is the time to show it. I don't think the 'Bolts have the kind of depth that the Penguins have in Defense. Victor Hedman is their true #1, but other than that, they've got average NHL talent there. The Penguins will move the puck out of the zone quicker with Maatta, Letang, and Daley.

Prediction: Penguins in 6

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