NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 3

So, I had a pretty good second round, going 4 – 0. Home ice advantage didn’t do quite as well, going 3 – 1. Interestingly, it all came down to Game 7 between Winnipeg and Nashville, since Winnipeg was the away team that I had picked to win in the second round, and Nashville was the last team that home ice advantage needed to sweep the round. The Jets took it, and so I went 4 – 0 and home ice advantage didn’t.

So, let me actually talk a bit about the final teams. The teams that I’d really like to see win the Cup are Winnipeg and Washington. Winnipeg because of the Canadian connection and because the city and team really deserves it after all that happened with the team and their lack of success in their first incarnation, and Washington because it would be nice to see Ovechkin finally get a shot at a Cup final. Vegas comes in just behind them because it would at least be a good story. That being said, to paraphrase Nawara Ven, I hold preferences, but I don’t predict them. So who am I going to choose to win the Conference finals?

Eastern Conference:

Tampa Bay vs Washington: Tampa Bay has a very solid team and good goaltending, and are full marks for being the favourites this year. But Washington has faced more adversity and so are never going to quit, and have to feel like this is their year because they finally managed to get past Pittsburgh. It’s certainly reasonable to think that they could ride that past Tampa into the finals.

Prediction: Washington. Correct

Western Conference:

Winnipeg vs Vegas: Here’s the thing: even with Winnipeg having home ice advantage and both teams being generally better at home than on the road, and even with Nashville being a better team in terms of points than Vegas, in the second round Winnipeg relied an awful lot on Rinne being weak. When he was on, Winnipeg lost, and when he was struggling, they won. I don’t think the Fleury will have those weaknesses. Yes, Winnipeg is still a strong enough team to win, but it’s going to be close and Hellebuyck has given up bad goals at times, too. So I’m going to go with Vegas on this one.

Prediction: Vegas. Correct.

Overall Record: 13 – 1
Home Ice Advantage Team Record: 10 – 4

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