#1 vs. #6 #3 vs. #8
Who would have seen this lineup for the conference finals? No many of us fans or critics that’s for sure. The West has two surprise teams reaching the conference finals in the Los Angeles Kings & The Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes who are a franchise in debt and are hanging on due to the NHL owning them and still not yet found an owner (sale is pending). A hockey franchise in the Arizona desert of all places where they have a poor fan attendance and yet they are there. This recent success has brought on rabid attention from the folks in Phoenix but can they sustain it? Will getting that new owner who wants to duke it out in the desert really pay off? Or will the franchise keep losing money as it has been for the past few years? I think it’s time for the Coyotes to say bye to the desert, heck it should have happened 3 years ago, but the players have done their best, forgetting about all the news surrounding the sale & the finances and performed to their best. The Los Angeles Kings have shown to be a very strong team, having finished only at 8th spot in the West but playing like they were #1. Having defeated both the Vancouver Canucks and the St.Louis Blues the Kings are looking good to win the whole deal and bring a first cup to LA. The team looks confident and they don’t seem to have a weak link.
In the East it’s old hands the New Jersey Devils against their hated local rivals the New York Rangers. The Rangers have looked world beaters all season long and it was only a few games that they looked weak. Their fine form continued in the playoffs as they defeated the Ottawa Senators & the Washington Capitals but both series needing a game 7 win. The Devils, 3 times champions since 1995, have usually been in the running for the Stanley season after season. However their star seemed to have waned a bit in the last couple of years and this season they have picked it up with aging goalie Martin Brodeur showing his form of old. New Jersey had to defeat Cinderella team the Florida Panther in 7 games and Philly in 5 and are looking strong. Will the suburbanites be able to defeat Broadway and show them up? Is there a 4th Stanley Cup ring for the Devils and Marty? If NJ does win, it will be a great farewell for Brodeur to retire to. How awesome would that be?
My prediction is an LA vs NY finals.