The NHL Conference Finals are all set following Wednesday night’s two game sevens. Here are my 2017 NHL Conference Finals Picks as four teams battle towards the Stanley Cup.
2017 NHL Conference Finals Picks
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators
I was not predicting the Ottawa Senators playing in the Eastern Conference Finals back in October nor was I four weeks ago when the playoffs began. Give credit to Guy Boucher and the coaching staff for getting the Senators to this position but I think it all will end by next Sunday the 21st.
Full marks to the Sens Erik Karlsson (who had 7 points vs the Pens this past regular season) and Craig Anderson (battling through his well documented personal issues with his wife) but the Penguins appear to have the edge over the Senators across all categories.
Pittsburgh is coming off a huge game 7 win over the Washington Chokers….Capitals. They will of course have home-ice advantage and the defending Stanley Cup Champions should be an offensive force led by the usual suspects of Sidney Crosby, Evengi Malkin, and Phil Kessel. I wouldn’t overlook the play of Marc-Andre Fleury either who is coming off a shutout in game 7 against the Caps.
This is not to say that the Senators won’t put up a fight, Anderson could steal a game or two, but the Penguins simply have too much offensive depth to be contained over this seven game series.
Ice Cold Prediction: Penguins in 5
Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators
I expect a much closer series (and each individual game for that matter) between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators. The Ducks are the only division champion remaining in the playoffs and will be tasked with cooling off arguably the hottest team through the first two rounds in the Predators.
After an impressive first round sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Predators eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six games and have enjoyed the week off following Sunday’s series clinching victory.
However, the Predators are in for a much harder test now against the Ducks. One thing to pay attention to is the travel going to the west coast and the Ducks do have home-ice advantage.
With that said, the Ducks will have to solve a Predators defense made up of their big four of PK Subban, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Ellis (not to mention a resurgent Pekka Rinne backstopping them) which have all combined to only allow a grand total of 14 goals through their 10 playoff games.
The young upstart Oilers took the Ducks to the brink of elimination and I believe the more veteran Predators should be able to take care of business but they will be tested much greater then they have been up to this point in the playoffs.
Ice Cold Prediction: Predators in 6
Formally of Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, Robert Yetto Jr. is a lifelong hockey fan and die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan. He is also an avid fan of baseball (bring back the Expos), football, and soccer. Please contact him at [email protected].