Western Conference Playoffs

Over in the Western Conference we had two series go six games each and two go to
a game seven.  Can you ask for anything better than that…I guess all the series going
to a game 7 but this is pretty darn exciting. If this is any indication of what is going to
happen in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, we are
going to be in for quite a treat.

Out West you had the Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars squaring off.  The Ducks
were too much for the Stars to handle.  The series started out as expected, Anaheim
handled their business at home, winning both contests by a goal.  But when they went
back to Dallas, the Stars blanked the Ducks in Game 3 behind excellent goaltending
from Kari Lehtonen and then won game 4 in convincing fashion. But that’s when the
Anaheim Ducks star players stepped up, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry lead the charge in
Game 5 with 3 point nights each.   Back in Dallas for Game 6 the Stars fought hard, but
surrendered the game winning goal with just over 20 seconds to go and the Ducks
finished them in off in OT.

Next there is the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, what an AMAZING series!
The San Jose Sharks were in complete control of the series up 3-0, handling in the
Kings in first two games by 3 goals and 5 goals respectively.  The series went back
to Los Angeles and San Jose takes Game 3 in OT.  Everyone, including myself, thought
the LA Kings were done.  But the LA Kings showed everyone why they won the
Stanley Cup 2 years ago and have responded with 3 straight wins.  Game 7 should
be one heck of a game.  My pick – I’m calling for Kings to do the impossible and
come back down 0-3.

What’s Next – Either way, whomever wins, it’s going to be a California show down
in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.  The Ducks are waiting patiently and getting
some much need rest.  This should be a physical series, regardless of the team that
wins Wednesday Night.  Based on my pick above I’m going with the Los Angeles Kings
in another grueling 7 game series.  The Anaheim Ducks have some questions in net,
and the Kings have one of the top goalies in the league in Johnathan Quick.
LA Kings in 7.

On the other side of the bracket you had the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues
squaring off in one of the better hockey rivalries.  The series was competitive all the way
to the end.  4 of the 6 games went to overtime and one of those was triple OT.  A hard
fought series with a lot of big hits.  St. Louis came away from the first two games with
thrilling overtime winners.  But that’s when the series took a turn.  The Blackhawks
rebounded at home winning the two games in Chicago.  Goalie Corey Crawford posted
his first shutout in Game 3 and the Blackhawks returned the overtime loss favor to the
Blues winning game 4. The Blackhawks continue to show that it’s going to take a lot to
knock off the defending Stanley Cup Champs, by winning 4 straight and advancing to
the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

The Blackhawks await the winner of the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild who
play Wednesday night in a deciding game 7.  This has been another amazing series.
Both teams have protected the home ice, in what has been a back and forth series.
Head coach Patrick Roy has been the talk of the playoffs pulling his goalie late in games
when down, with over 2 minutes to go, and it’s worked.  The biggest story of this series
is the play of young Nathan MacKinnon who is having an unbelievable post season with
10 points through 6 games.  My pick – Teams have been holding down the home ice
advantage and it will be no different tonight.  Colorado Wins Game 7.

What’s Next – The winner of the Avalanche and Wild will taking on the defending
Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. If my prediction is right above, the
Avalanche and Blackhawks should be a very exciting series.  Both teams are built on
speed and skill.  It should be a fast pace game, similar to the Red Wings and Blackhawks
series in 2013.  If the Wild should win tonight, I think it will very similar to the
St. Louis Blues series, big hits with a rough and tough kind of attitude.  My Pick –
No matter who it is I think the Blackhawks will advance to the Western Conference
Finals for the second year in a row.  Blackhawks in 6.

Make sure to get your tickets to see the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at www.TicketStub.com

Pat Gavin