Canadiens in 6
Two teams that are ahead of schedule, and four wins from the Eastern Conference Finals. Last year both teams finished well out of the playoff chase while the Flyers finished dead last. This year retooled both teams are coming off strong Game 7 wins. In the regular season the Habs swept the Flyers. I do not see a sweep here, but I look for them to get the edge thanks to Rookie Goalie Carey Price, who will be the difference as the Canadiens win in six games.
Red Wings in 5
A decade ago this was the hottest rivalry on ice, as they seemed to be destined every year to meet in the Conference Finals, brawling along the way. The acrimony may not be what it used to be, but the bad blood still remains. However, while both have retooled the Red Wings are clearly the stronger team, as they swept the Avalanche in the regular season. While the return of Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote helped the Avalanche at the end of the season it won’t help them here as the Wings win this series easily in five games.
Penguins in 7
Both teams looked dominant in the first round, beating their opponents and recent playoff failures in one foul swoop. Look for the Rangers to try to take advantage of the young Penguins with physical play like they did against the Devils, but this time around the Penguins speed will be there to answer. Both teams despite their records are probably the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and could easily go on to the Stanley Cup, but only one will advance to the Conference Finals, look for it to be the Penguins as they survive in seven.
Sharks in 5
The Sharks shook off a pesky Flames team in seven games and now find themselves facing the Stars who knocked off the defending Stanley Cup Champions. In the regular season these two division rivals split eight games, but the Sharks may be happy to see them as the Ducks would have provided a much tougher challenge for them. Look for the Sharks to take control of this series early as they advance to the Western Conference Finals with relative ease in five games.