Candiens in 6
Fierté des Canadiens. That is all I can say about the amazing run of the Habs in the 2010 playoffs. How are they here in the Conference Finals they faced the President Trophy winner, and trailed 3-1. The faced the reigning Stanley Cup Champions and trailed 3-2. They won two seventh games on the road. They shut down the two biggest stars in the game today Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, all while barely making the playoffs. At 39-33-10, the Canadiens lost more games than they won in the regular season when you add regulation losses and overtime losses. The Flyers were not much better in the regular season and with both teams posting 88 points, neither team would have even qualified for the playoffs in the Western Conference, or if the NHL simply too the best 16 teams into the playoffs instead of the top eight in each conference. Well now with #7 and #8 seeds both are just four wins from the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canadiens got here with the hot goalie Jaroslav Halak, and the hot goal scorer Michael Cammalleri. The Flyers who became just the third team to comeback after losing the first three game of a seven game series are banged up and playing with a fourth string goalie. Looking at those odds you have to love Halak and the vibe the Habs are giving off to keep it going on to the Finals.
Sharks in 7
If ever there was a series was a tossup it is this one. The Sharks are the more veteran team that has more on the line, as after years of playoff disappointment they are four wins away from reaching the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Meanwhile just a few years ago the Blackhawks were a team that dropped off the radar, being outdrawn by a local AHL team. The Blackhawks are no doubt now a team on the rise and with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both 22 years old they likely will be a force in the Western Conference for years to come. The Sharks main star Joe Thornton is 31 and coming into the latter half of his career, he may never have a better opportunity to lift Lord Stanley high over his head. Ultimately defense and goaltending could be deciding factor. The Blackhawks with Duncan Keith have a slight advantage here, but when Evgeni Nabokov is on top of his game he is one of the top net minders in the league. You can almost flip a coming for this one, but in the end it will be the Sharks pulling out a tight one in Game 7 at the HP Pavilion.