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Fearless Forecast of the NHL Playoffs - Conference Semifinals

After a mediocre first round, our Insider tries to improve his projections.
Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 5:49 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
Fearless Forecast of the NHL Playoffs - Conference Semifinals

Here’s hoping you didn’t bet the house on my predictions for the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Although I wasn’t incredibly far off, like my grandfather used to tell me all the time, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

I went 4-4 in the first round.

To recap:

I picked Pittsburgh in six and they won in six. Yay Me.

I picked Ottawa in six and the won in five. Genius!

I picked Washington in seven, but they lost in seven. So, close!

I picked Boston in five, and, well, let’s just say I sweated out that victory.

Out west, I picked Chicago in five, and they won in five (this doesn’t sound so bad…)

I picked Anaheim in six, they lost in seven. Yeah, that one hurt a little.

I picked the Canucks in seven, they got swept. (Wait a minute, I did say it wouldn’t surprise me if the Sharks won... Did you hear a boom? What? No. Why? No grenade. So it doesn’t count!)

I picked St. Louis in seven. The lost in six. (I did say I was waffling back and forth on this pick and – Zip it!)

So, that’s it. Four to the good. Four to the bad. I cost you the vig.

And now, I’m going to frustrate you further with four new picks. Hopefully I can be better for you.

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh vs. 7. Ottawa – The Pens are too good to lose this series, but at some point their goaltending woes (Tomas Vokoun isn’t going to get it done into June) and their suspect defense is going to cost them. It’d be fun if it was the Sens pulling that upset because I love their perseverance and a possible Jason Spezza return could make it interesting, but I just don’t think they have enough. Penguins in six.

4. Boston vs. 6. New York Rangers – I secretly came into the postseason planning to predict Boston wins the Cup. But there’s something not right about this team right now. Hey, they deserve mad props for what they did last night against Toronto – which shows you can never count them out, but the Rangers are not a good matchup for them. New York is a team that thrives much in the same way the Bruins do. And really, how good has Henrik Lundqvist been so far? Two weeks ago I would have said Bruins in six. Now, I’ve changed my mind. Rangers in seven.

Western Conference

1. Chicago vs. 7. Detroit – When I was up in the Detroit area a few weeks ago, there was panic in the streets that the Wings might not even make the playoffs. Now look at them. Beating Anaheim was no easy task. And the sleeping giant has been awaken. Also, Jimmy Howard has really impressed me so far in the playoffs. Still, Chicago is a complete team skater-wise, and while I think Cory Crawford will eventually be the chink in their armor, it won’t come here. The Red Wings will be game, and challenge Chicago, but the Hawks advance. Blackhawks in six.

5. Los Angeles vs. 6. San Jose – This, friends, is the most lopsided matchup in the second round. The Kings played like Stanley Cup champions the past four games in knocking off a very tough St. Louis team. Jonathan Quick is looking Conn Smytheish again, and the rest of the Kings are buying into the notion of a repeat. With the makeup of this team, I’m not sure I want to doubt them just yet. The Sharks are happy to be here. Kings in five.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 63 19 46 5 65
C. Giroux 62 18 41 2 59
W. Simmonds 63 25 18 -1 43
M. Streit 63 8 32 -4 40
B. Schenn 63 12 23 -5 35
S. Couturier 63 12 16 1 28
M. Del Zotto 51 8 17 -5 25
M. Read 63 6 18 -9 24
M. Raffl 48 14 4 6 18
V. Lecavalier 45 7 10 -8 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 7 .926 2.25
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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