May 31, 2013, 2:21 PM EDT
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…
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.
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.
- ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk 2
- Joe Sakic’s now general manager in name too 3
- Update: Giroux out two weeks with lower-body injury 24
- Update: Crosby on ice with Penguins teammates Friday, leaves early 5
- Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’ 28
- Keeping Kuemper: Wild sign goalie to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.5M 15
- Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau 9
- Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’ 8
- Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks 28
- Leafs deny rift between Kessel and coaching staff 20
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (62)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)