The Final Four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are now set to open this weekend with two intriguing matchups.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: (1) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS (4) BOSTON BRUINS
In the East, the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins take on the tough and resilient Boston Bruins. The Penguins will be heavily favored in this series, but as we have seen before, anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are several notable storylines in this series. The first is Jarome Iginla, the man who rejected the Bruins at the trade deadline when Boston thought they had him, then ended up going to Pittsburgh. Jaromir Jagr, the man the Bruins acquired after the failed Iginla trade, was very close several times to scoring in the Rangers series, so it will be interesting to see if his offense can break through against Pittsburgh. Milan Lucic compared the star studded Penguins roster with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Chris Neal, Matt Cooke, and others to the NBA’s Miami Heat. He also said that the Bruins haven’t forgotten Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard a few years ago, but says they won’t let the revenge factor ruin their chances of winning this series. Both teams have had a long rest period after vanquishing their respective opponents in five games the previous round. I think the Bruins are more than capable of taking a few games from the Penguins, but in the end Pittsburgh prevails in 6 games to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: (1) CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS VS (5) LOS ANGELES KINGS
Over on the west side, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings head to Chicago to take on the Presidents Cup winning Blackhawks. The Kings head into the matchup having won six consecutive playoff series, five in which they were the lower seed. Chicago comes in having been pushed to the limit against Detroit, but overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to win the series with a Game 7 overtime thriller. After a dominant regular season, Chicago looked shaky in the series against Detroit. Their comeback may give them some momentum, but Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has been just as outstanding as he was during the Kings title run last season. Both these teams needed Game 7 to advance to the conference finals, so I predict another Game 7 in this series, with the Kings taking home their second consecutive Western Conference Title.
Let me know who you guys think is going to win the Stanley Cup this year in the poll down below.
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