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2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s conference finals picks

May 31, 2013, 2:21 PM EDT

2013 playoffs

PHT staffers — myself (Mike Halford), Jason Brough, Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien, Ryan Dadoun and Cam Tucker — did quite well with their Round 2 picks:

Halford: 4-0 (3-5 in Round 1, 7-5 overall)
Brough: 3-1 (7-1 in Round 1, 10-2 overall)
Yerdon: 3-1 (5-3 in Round 1, 8-4 overall)
O’Brien: 4-0 (6-2 in Round 1, 10-2 overall)
Dadoun: 3-1 (6-2 in Round 1, 9-3 overall)
Tucker: 4-0 (5-3 in Round 1, 9-3 overall)

Brough and O’Brien are crushing it overall, while special Round 2 acknowledgement goes to me (the only staffer to pick ‘Hawks in 7) and Dadoun (only one to pick Kings in 7).

As for the commenters? Kingsfan68 and chanceoffleury1 both picked the Pens in 5, and that was about it for highlights.

So, onto the conference finals we go…

Western Conference

No. 1 Chicago vs. No. 5 Los Angeles

Halford: ‘Hawks in 7

Home-ice advantage rules. The ‘Hawks have it, and for as good as the Kings have been at Staples this postseason, they’re 1-5 on the road, with their lone win coming in OT.

Brough: ‘Hawks in 7

I went back and forth on this one a few times. Ultimately, I picked the Blackhawks for two reasons. First, they have home-ice advantage. Two, they have a mobile defense that may be able to mitigate the Kings’ forecheck.

Yerdon: Kings in 6

To make this easy, I think LA steals one in Chicago and holds serve at home like they have all playoffs. Quick reigns.

O’Brien: Kings in 7

If this was a regular season series, Chicago might dominate. “Conservative” officiating will do the Kings just enough favors to eke out a close win.

Dadoun: Kings in 7

The Kings and Blackhawks are both so deep and talented but, in the end, I just can’t bet against Quick right now.

Tucker: ‘Hawks in 7

The Kings know how to win, but the Blackhawks should be at their best after the scare they went through in the second round with the Red Wings. Crawford can further solidify himself as a premier NHL goalie.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 4 Boston

Halford: Pens in 6

Worried about Boston’s back-end. Just not sure Krug and Bartkowski will handle the shift in pressure from the Rangers to the Penguins. It’s asking a lot from two guys with 35 combined games of NHL experience.

Brough: Pens in 7

I picked the Penguins to win the Cup before the playoffs started and they’ve done nothing to make me think twice, so I’ll stick with them here. But if anyone can shut down (or at least contain) Crosby and Malkin, it’s Bergeron and Chara.

Yerdon: Pens in 7

Neither team has faced someone like their opponent yet. Pittsburgh’s talent up front makes the difference in this series.

O’Brien: Pens in 6

The Boston Bruins match up remarkably well against the Penguins, but all-world firepower plus the steadiness of Vokoun equals paydirt for Pittsburgh.

Dadoun: Pens in 6

The Penguins are scoring like it’s the 1980s. This will be Rask’s greatest challenge yet and while I think he’ll look good at times, I don’t think it’ll be enough.

Tucker: Pens in 6

Goaltending is an aspect of the game the Bruins have the advantage in. But the great equalizer to goaltending is a star like Crosby. Expect a tight series but Penguins prevail.

  1. comeonnowguys - May 31, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    “Conservative” officiating will do the Kings just enough favors to eek out a close win.

    Thank you for putting it quotes.

  2. ibieiniid - May 31, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    “As for the commenters? Kingsfan68 and chanceoffleury1 both picked the Pens in 5, and that was about it for highlights.”

    lmao Halford’s the man. and chanceoffleury’s a chick (granted, she tends to give some of the more insightful and level-headed Penguins analyses). men, how did we let this happen?

    …..still not embarrassing myself by making picks. i do enough of that on other stories.

  3. pennerismyhomeboy - May 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Kings/Pens final. Kings in 6.

  4. buffalomafia - May 31, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Hawks in 5. Bruins in 6.

  5. Stiller43 - May 31, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Pens in 6, Hawks in 7

  6. devilsarethebest - May 31, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Gonna be bold and say Bruins in 6, and Chicago in 7.

  7. sjsharks66 - May 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Pens in 5 Kings in 6

  8. jhuck92 - May 31, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Wow, no one at PHT is giving the Bruins a chance. I’ll say, for sake of argument, ‘Hawks in 6 and Bruins in 7.

  9. kovodisc - May 31, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I love the fact that no one is picking the Bruins!

    I’m a B’s fan…I absolutely WANT them to win, and they absolutely CAN win but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m still skeptical about them. They played bad hockey for way too long during the regular season. The only major difference is the rest between games. Bruins seemed to struggle mightily in back-to-back games…something we won’t see any of.

    I think we will see Khudobin at least once in this series. Pens will go off for at least 6 in one of the games. Krug remains an X-factor that could swing the series in the Bruins favor. Even without the goals, he showed how comfortable and effective he can be on the ice. Can’t wait for this series!!!

    Hawks and Pens in 6. Go B’s!

    • ibieiniid - May 31, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      that’s the most mixed messages i’ve seen in a comment ever lol

      • kovodisc - May 31, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        Right!? Haha

        The more I breakdown the teams/matchup, the more I want to pick the B’s.

        This might shed some light on my thought process too…

        First round I picked Leafs in 6.
        Second round I picked Rangers in 6.
        Third round you better believe i’m picking Pens in 6 :)

      • ibieiniid - May 31, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        ohhhhhh I see where you’re goin with this. good strategy.

  10. bmscalise - May 31, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    I find it really interesting that the national media keeps suggesting that the Bruins “match up remarkably well against the Penguins.” The local media in Pittsburgh have consistently suggested the opposite – and I’m inclined to agree.

    The Pens have consistently had a harder time with fast, aggressive teams in the last 2-3 years – Philly, Isles, Toronto, and even Carolina when they are on their game. They hold up well against teams that tend to play the slower, grind it out game – NYR, Bos (in the regular season), Ottawa – even when these teams seem hypothetically better.

    Boston had a really hard time containing Toronto because of it’s speed – and the Pens are much more like Toronto than NYR – except better. I certainly think Boston has a chance, and they do have some speed and a good forecheck. I see a rough 6-7 game series. But it seems pretty clear to me that the match-up style-wise favors the Pens.

    • kovodisc - May 31, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      I know the regular season is out the window and the Pens went 3-0 against them, but the B’s showed they are capable of shutting them down/keeping it close.

      Bruin’s have showed much more speed as of late. Krejci, Paille, Seguin, Marchand are all pretty fast skaters (not saying faster than Malkin, Crosby,and maybe even Dupuis). Rangers have a better D and goalie than the Pens, and the Bruins skated circles around them at times.

      The speed of the young guys on D (Krug and Bartkowski) make things very interesting.

      Keep in mind Bergeron is one of, if not the best, defensive forward in the game, and Lucic has been an absolute animal on both ends. Mix in Chara and Seidenberg and they can definitely shut down ENOUGH of the offense to win.

      • dirt2013 - May 31, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Shutting them down ? Bruins never saw Malkin this year.Bergeron is tough and tough on Crosby for sure but Chara will be skated around by Malkin if that is the match up that Boston wants.Chara will not play 30 min. a game in this series because of the speed.

      • fpstratton - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        I totally agree. People are really selling the Bruins short. The Penguins have great firepower and talent on offense, but how good is the defense? Will Vokoun continue his strong play? Everyone is predicting the Penguins are going to reel off a six or seven goal game, but Boston might as well! Plus, a lot of the same guys who were on the 2011 championship team are still here. This is going to be a very close series.

  11. barroomhero80 - May 31, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Kings/Pens. Both in 6

  12. kingcobraman - May 31, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    dump and chase vs speed and skill go pens &hawks

  13. myroncopesflask - May 31, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Pens in 5 and Kings in 6. Pens beat Kings in 6. Malkin Conn Smythe! 1975

  14. govtminion - May 31, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Bruins in seven legendary games, Kings in six.

  15. hockeydon10 - May 31, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    As a Detroit fan it pains me to say this…

    Blackhawks in 6

    The 2nd round shocked them. They’ll play much better now.

    Boston in 7

    The Pens defense is suspect. It will be close and may as well be a coin-flip.

  16. dtob79 - May 31, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Pens in 5. Inclined to say Pens in 4.

    Hawks in 6.

    Pens over Hawks in 5. No stopping that juggernaut.

  17. ironmike778 - May 31, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Kings in 6. Pens in 5.

  18. chanceoffleury1 - May 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Kings in 7 and Pens in 6!

  19. 8man - May 31, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    I love the Bs. But I ain’t crazy about their chances in this series. How about this? Instead of players, lets get the animals these teams represent into an arena. The team with the most animals surviving wins the series. Hell, to be sporting, I’ll let Pittsburgh bring 14 penguins.

    Any takers? Huh?

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