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Trimming The Playoff Tree 3: Race to the Trunk

DANIEL:
Alright, the Ducks are out of the picture, and the playoffs are still happening. After crying, I decided it would be better to keep blogging. Also, I wanted to get Arthur to stop making fun of me. So, Arthur, let's take a quick look at the two series that are left, and give me your picks.

ARTHUR:
A close second to my disappointment in the Ducks is the elimination of Boston. No chance of an Original Six finals, now. My alternative matchup is Pittsburgh/Chicago: Battle of the First Overall Picks. I like that storyline more than a DET/PIT rematch and more than anything involving Carolina. This is a rematch 17 years in the making (less if you count the Jean Claude Van Damme movie). Like '92, Pittsburgh would be returning to the Finals, but unlike '92 they're returning as the previous year's losers. So, no, we won't see a dynasty with this matchup (unlike a Detroit repeat). No, we don't have anyone resembling Lemieux involved. And no, we won't see Chelly whoop Larry Murphy. BUT, it would give every lottery team faith in the draft system, and I think it'd be a hell of a matchup and an explosive series.

So, I'm picking Pittsburgh/Chicago. Even though Cam Ward has never lost a series and Staal proved he couldn't be shut down. Even though Detroit was 4-2 against this Chicago team in the regular season, and have shown they're not all that impressed by the Hawks' transition game. I'm picking Pittsburgh/Chicago because Gonchar will be taking the ice, Malkin's waking up, Fleury's got larceny on his mind, Detroit looked tired in Game 7 (not a good sign in a series where they'll need their legs) and the Hawks made Luongo look pedestrian. Pittsburgh/Chicago.

DANIEL:
Eastern Conference:

Pittsburgh v. Carolina: I have to pick the Penguins. They just came off of an epic 7 game series against the Caps where they dominated the last game. Crosby is on fire, and Fleury may not be amazing right now but he's more than acceptably solid. Right now, this series has two teams that know how to get there, so I think experience is a wash. I just don't know if Carolina has the scoring to win a 6-5 game, which they'll have to do at least twice in this series.
Pens in 6

Western Conference:

Chicago v. Detroit: Detroit just finished a dogfight with the Ducks, and they've got to be more than a little damaged. They're defense can hold, and Osgood has shown he will not be a liability this offseason. But Chicago looks great. They've comeback from multiple goal deficits throughout the playoffs. They look hungry, and they don't give up on the game no matter how far behind they are. That youngster trio looks so dangerous, and they are playing well. Not to mention, they have the Ducks old stopper in Pahlsson. Look for him to give all the Red Wing forwards fits. The rebirth continues.
Chicago in 6