2ITB Conference Finals predictions

With the Conference Finals poised to begin, my somewhat successful prediction rate plummeted in the second round. With Phoenix, Los Angeles, New Jersey and New York advancing, I will try my hand at picking the two teams that will face off for the Stanley Cup.

Phoenix Coyotes vs. Los Angeles Kings

This is the matchup that all of zero people penciled in for the Western Conference Final back in October. Both teams had to scratch and claw over the final weeks of the regular season just to cement their respective playoff berths and each team has received tremendous goaltending.

Mike Smith is doing a fine job backing up the argument that a franchise goaltender in un-necessary, while Jonathon Quick (and Marty Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne etc.) have done plenty to prove that a legitimate 1A goaltender is a key for playoff success.

Both teams play a pretty boring style of collapsing and blocking shots whenever possible. Each club has a defensive style that chokes out their opponents. They rely on their goaltenders to do the heavy lifting when necessary but typically limit as many shots and chances as possible. Continue reading

Save of the season, check

Tim Thomas made the save of the season on Steve Downie tonight. Observe:

Thomas said after the game it was more luck than anything else – it was the booze dancing, I suppose. But still, just a nasty save by Thomas. Could turn out to be a major point in this series. If Downie ties it up there, who knows where that game ends up. The Bolts had been pressing hard the entire third, I feel like they had the competitive edge for the final 20. But Thomas robbed Downie and sent the series back to Tampa 3-2. Now Tampa has a lot more to worry about.

Credit to Mike Smith for a beauty on Chara at the other end. I thought he was toast when I watched it live, best back-to-back saves I have seen in some time.
Stick tap to Wysh @ Puck Daddy for getting the video uploaded so fast.