Anaheim Calling Staff Playoff Preview - Conference Semifinals

Here's to both teams falling flat on their faces. - USA TODAY Sports

Just because the Ducks are out doesn't mean we're not still paying attention.

[Ed. Note: Apologies for the delay, you might have noticed the site was a little wonky yesterday, and it took a little while to compile all of this. But rest assured, all picks were made prior to any of the series starting. -CK]

Well the Ducks couldn't quite pull it off, but that doesn't mean we here at Anaheim Calling aren't going to keep chugging along with our Playoff Predictions game. With one round complete let's see how we scored the first time out. Scoring: 5 points for getting the winner correct, 5 extra points for getting the number of games right, none for getting the games right but the winner wrong.

Eastern Conference

Jen

SK

Robby

Daniel

Jer

Derek

Kristen

Chris

Kyle

(1)PIT vs. (8)NYI

10

5

10

5

5

5

10

5

10

(2)MTL vs. (7)OTT

10

0

5

0

0

5

0

5

0

(3)WSH vs. (6)NYR

5

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

(4)BOS vs. (5)TOR

5

0

5

5

5

0

0

5

5

East Totals

30

10

20

10

10

10

10

15

15

Western Conference

Jen

SK

Robby

Daniel

Jer

Derek

Kristen

Chris

Kyle

(1)CHI vs. (8)MIN

10

5

10

10

10

5

5

5

5

(2)ANA vs. (7)DET

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

(3)VAN vs. (6)SJ

0

0

0

0

5

0

5

5

0

(4)STL vs. (5)LA

5

10

5

10

10

0

10

5

10

West Totals

15

15

15

20

25

5

20

20

15

Round Totals

Jen

SK

Robby

Daniel

Jer

Derek

Kristen

Chris

Kyle

East Total

30

10

20

10

10

10

10

15

15

West Total

15

15

15

20

25

5

20

20

15

Grand Total

45

25

35

30

35

15

30

35

30

Yep that means your current leader is none other than Jen herself, trailed closely by Chris, Robby, and Jer.

1

Jen

45

2

Robby

35

Jer

35

Chris

35

5

Daniel

30

Kristen

30

Kyle

30

8

SK

25

9

Derek

15

So now for our look at the second round:


Eastern Conference

Jen

SK

Robby

Daniel

Jer

Derek

Kristen

Chris

Kyle

(1)PIT vs. (7)OTT

OTT in 6

OTT in 6

OTT in 6

OTT in 6

OTT in 6

PIT in 7

PIT in 5

PIT in 7

PIT in 6

(4)BOS vs. (6)NYR

NY in 5

NY in 7

BOS in 4

NY in 6

NY in 7

NY in 6

NY in 6

BOS in 7

BOS in 5

(1)Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7)Ottawa Senators

A lot has been made of this series since the gruesome incident this year in which Matt Cook severed Erik Karlsson's Achilles' Tendon with the blade of his skate. Whether or not it was on purpose is now completely irrelevant however, as miraculously Karlsson returned to the Senators' lineup just ten short weeks later and has already made a significant impact. Easily one of the best scoring defensemen in the NHL, Karlsson played a huge part as the Senators more or less wiped the floor with the Montreal Canadiens. The Penguins on the other hand looked extremely suspect in their first round matchup with the New York Islanders. On paper that series should have been over in four games. However, despite their offense scoring four or more goals in every game that series, their defense looked extremely porous and their goaltending was borderline laughable. Ottawa is a much better team than the Isles were and if Pittsburgh doesn't correct some serious issues, the trade deadline's big-spenders could be in for a very disappointing exit.

-"Even though Ottawa is better than expected and Pittsburgh is worse, I still want to see a Pens/Hawks Final." - Chris
-"Sens are scary good. Crosby whines-a lot. Malkin looks confused. Alfredsson gets bitch-slapped cuz he still deserves it. Fleury gets traded." - SK
-"God wants Ottawa to win. He healed Karlsson, now probably Spezza. He keeps trying to injure Sid." - Jen
-"Assuming Bylsma plays his $2 million goalie instead of his $5 million, the Pens' offensive juggernaut will be able to keep up with their defensive mediocrity." - Derek
-"Matt Cooke and Erik Karlsson shock the hockey world by doing... absolutely nothing to each other." - Kyle
-"C'mon, someone has to throw them a bone." - Jer
-"Wolverine gets his revenge, upsetting Cooke and the Pens. Down Goes Brown haz a sad." - Robby
-"I like Bryan Murray and dislike the Penguins so this was easy." - Daniel
-"All together now: Doesn't Iggy deserve it?" - Kristen

(4)Boston Bruins vs. (6)New York Rangers

Both of these teams were forced to play seven games in their previous matchups, the Rangers blowing the Washington Capitals apart at Verizon Center in D.C., and Boston with a dramatic comeback from 4-1 down to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime. Both are arguably tired, beat up, and will immediately have to get back at it as their journey for the Cup continues. The Boston Bruins are tough, gritty, and physical, but have proven weak to speed and good puck movement. Tukka Rask has been good in net, but not spectacular. Likewise for the Rangers, they've proven they can put up some offensive numbers with superstars like Rick Nash and Brad Richards in the lineup, but they too have proven weak to aggressive defenses that give them little room with which to work in the offensive zone. Both teams seem to have an advantage over the other making this a particularly interesting series to predict. NBC doesn't care, however, as it's one of two matchups in this semi-finals that features two Original Six squads (read: their ratings darlings) going head-to-head. Expect to hear this series being discussed at the intermissions of every game in every other series this round... and perhaps the next one too.

-"No idea why I'm picking Boston here. The tiebreaker should go to Lundqvist but I guess I believe in Seguin and Marchand starting to score." - Chris
-"Lundqvist's locks are nothing compared to Selanne's, but that's ok. Seguin cries - a lot. Chara gets bitch-slapped." - SK
-"To win in the playoffs, you need a hot goalie. Hank is both hot in the hockey-sense and the not hockey-sense." - Jen
-"Boston has a fantastic D corps, but the Rangers' is better. Boston has a goalie capable of stealing games, but the Rangers' actually does steal them, rather than just show the potential to do so." - Derek
-"The words "Original Six" get thrown out so many times that NBC's broadcasts turn into another Dexter's Lab "Omlette du Fromage" scenario." - Kyle
-"Neither of these teams can get it done in less than 7, apparently." - Jer
-"Boston doesn't mess around and just obliterates the Rangers." - Robby
-"If Boston had their hands full with Toronto NY will be a bigger problem. King Henrik deserves a shot at glory." - Daniel
-"If it wasn't for a spectacular Leafs collapse, the Bruins might be golfing with us. On the other hand, the Rangers seemed to become a more cohesive hockey team as their QF series progressed." - Kristen

************************

Western Conference

Jen

SK

Robby

Daniel

Jer

Derek

Kristen

Chris

Kyle

(1)CHI vs. (7)DET

CHI in 5

CHI in 6

DET in 7

CHI in 5

CHI in 5

CHI in 7

CHI in 4

CHI in 6

CHI in 6

(5)LA vs. (6)SJ

LA in 5

SJ in 6

SJ in 5

LA in 6

LA in 6

SJ in 7

LA in 6

LA in 6

LA in 5

(1)Chicago Blackhawks vs. (7)Detroit Red Wings

Well the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings didn't get their So-Cal rivalry matchup, but NBC got its dream pairing. The only two Original Six teams in the West (and the only two West teams they even know exist) will go at it for the final time as members of the same conference. And boy is this one built for television ratings, as it pairs the super-duos of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews from the Hawks up against Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk of the Wings. On one side, you have the most dominant squad in the entire NHL this season in Chicago, the President's Trophy winners. On the other you have the experienced and white-hot Red Wings, who may not have fared well through much of the regular season, but a dominant performance in game seven of their series with Anaheim proved they're still the same playoff-expert Wings that have been there any other year. It's a long and storied rivalry with the Red Wings leading the all-time series with a 433-355-84 record; however this season has belonged solely to the Hawks, who were 4-0 against Detroit. You get the feeling that whoever wins this series might be the one to go on to play for the Stanley Cup, as both teams have been so strong lately, the Hawks in the regular season and the Wings in the playoffs. Not that the Hawks have been poor in the playoffs either, mind you, coming off a dominant 5-game series victory over the Minnesota Wild.

-"The Hawks are the better team, but then again, so were the Ducks, right? God I hate these guys. If the refs start calling Howard's dives, this one will be over in four. But don't count on that." - Derek
-"Toews and Kane show Anaheim and Detroit what top-forward production should look like. Howard cries - a lot. Abdelkader gets bitch-slapped." - SK
-"Good(ish) triumphs over evil. Toews punts Red Wings into Eastern Conference." - Jen
-"All aboard the Blackhawk bandwagon!" - Jer
-"The Wings get cocky, and Chicago rolls all over them." - Kristen
-"I want Chicago to win, but Detroit will make the necessary adjustments to pull this one out." - Robby
-"Pierre McGuire sets a new record by mentioning Jonathan Toews on the broadcast 1,983 times before the puck even drops in Game 1." - Kyle
-"Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane, Saviors of the Universe, protectors of all that is good and holy, must represent the West or all hope is lost." - Chris

(5)Los Angeles Kings vs. (6)San Jose Sharks

For the second time in three years the San Jose Sharks will meet the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the previous encounter, a quarterfinal series in 2011, going the way of the Sharks. This time around it's a semi-final and both teams have been lights-out spectacular through one round. However, there are a few things to consider. On one hand, the Los Angeles Kings are 2-1-1 against their rivals from the north this year, stealing a point out of a shootout game in San Jose back in April. Both these teams are unbelievably strong at home, making this look like it might be a long and gritty series to revive the rivalry that has somewhat gone dormant over the last year or so. However, San Jose is coming off of a sweep of the Vancouver Canucks in which they were never really challenged. The second round usually favors the teams who have had to deal with some adversity through the first round to get themselves into playoff shape, and LA will be a much better team than Vancouver, so don't be surprised if San Jose gets off to a sluggish start and LA steals a game or two up north. What I can guarantee however is that this will be a goaltender's duel, with Antti Niemi and Jonathan Quick both playing unbelievably well through their first-round matchups.

-"The Kings look very dangerous again, and it's up to the Sharks to stop them from taking a run at the California Cup Count lead. For once, San Jose looks good in the playoffs. Let's hope that continues." - Derek
-"There is no "lesser evil" here. Couture chews up Quick and feeds him to Brown for dinner. Doughty cries - a lot. Penner gets bitch-slapped." - SK
-"Round 1 of SJ/Van was best of 2 chokers. Kings put Sharks out of misery - again." - Jen
-"It'll be interesting to see if the Kings spot their opponent a 2 game lead in this series, too." - Jer
-"The Sharks may have dominated Vancouver, but they've met their match in LA." - Kristen
-"Something has clicked in San Jose and I actually think they roll over the Kings pretty easily. LA doesn't have enough scoring to hang." - Robby
-"This is like picking between leukemia and AIDS. One's a cancer, the other's a disease. You pick which is which, but either way they both suck." - Kyle
-"why? Why! WHYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?" - Chris

Let the games begin! Wait... they already have? Oh... okay.

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