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May
13

2012 NHL Playoffs: Pierce’s Conference Finals Predictions

A playoff bracket with Pierce's predictions for the 2012 NHL conference finals winnersIt’s been an unpredictable road to get here. Nearly every team that was picked as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup has been eliminated. The Kings continued their headhunting mission as they swept the St. Louis Blues, the second best team in the West during the regular season. The Coyotes continue to be the resourceful underdogs their team name proclaims them to be, showing the Nashville Predators who the real predators are. The Devils shocked everyone by making quick work of the Philadelphia Flyers. And the New York Rangers managed to move past the Washington Captials after a long, hard fought series.

With a fifty percent success rate on the last round, that means I’m bound to get at least one of these two series correct. Right?

Eastern Conference:

1.New York Rangers vs 6. New Jersey Devils
The Rangers are the last remaining favorite from the start of the post season. But it hasn’t been an easy road for them to get here. They have gone to two game sevens already, but they have found a way to manufacture those wins and get to the finals. They have been a solid team in the net and in front of it, not allowing many high scoring games. The same cannot be said of the Devils.

The Devils had probably the easy matchup in the first round in the Florida Panthers, and they barely managed to win that series. They did well against the Flyers, but that was a young team that hadn’t gotten arrogant after beating the Penguins. The Devils met a team that was not as solid defensively or in net as the team they are facing this time around. I mean, honestly, who lets Ilya Kovalchuk stroll up to the front of the net.

Claude Giroux, that’s who.

The Rangers are going to be much better about locking things down and they are going to take this one.

NEW YORK IN 6

Western Conference:

1.Phoenix Coyotes vs 8. Los Angeles Kings
This is going to be the exciting series of the conference finals. There are a lot of emotions involved in this one. No one would have picked wither of these teams to be here at the start of the post season. For Phoenix this is the first time they’ve ever been here as a team. For the Kings, it is the first time since a guy named Wayne Gretzky was on their team. Yeah, I’ve never heard of him either. They say he was okay back in the day.

Unlike in the East, neither of these teams has ever hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup in triumph. For veterans like Shane Doan, who has been with the Coyotes for his entire career, that’s a pretty big deal.

Oh by the way, these are division rivals. As if there wasn’t enough drama added into the mix.

Both teams have incredible goaltending, strong defense, and an offense that is making sure they win games with a comfortable margin. And neither team faced any weak teams to get here. The Kings eliminated the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues, while the Coyotes were busy taking out the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators. So um yeah, they both totally earned their place in the conference finals.

These teams are evenly matched and both want the Cup badly, and I think you’re going to see that in the series. Either outcome will be an historic one. While the logic in my mind is seeing one outcome, my gut is telling me another. I’m going to have to go with my gut.

PHOENIX IN 7

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