The Experts weigh in with their picks for the Final - Chicago or Boston? And why?
The panel went 6-2 in the first round as a consensus, only missing on the VAN/SJS and WSH/NYR series. In the second round, we went 3-1 (seriously guys, New York over Boston?). And last round, the Panel went 1-1. So together we are currently 10-4.
Here are the individual rankings through the first two rounds:
Here are the Final Picks:
|Expert||CHI vs. BOS|
|Dobber||BOS in 6|
|Angus||BOS in 5|
|Amato||BOS in 6|
|Laidlaw||CHI in 7|
|Ross||BOS in 6|
|Campkin||BOS in 6|
|Lancione||CHI in 6|
|Hoos||BOS in 6|
|Gilbert||CHI in 6|
|Brouwer||BOS in 6|
|Wassel||BOS in 6|
|Goldman||BOS in 6|
|Daoust||CHI in 5|
|Kwiaton||BOS in 6|
|Miller||BOS in 6|
|Imbeau||BOS in 6|
|Roos||BOS in 5|
|Consensus||BOS in 6|
Boston was my pick from the outset, and I'm not changing anything. They are too deep, too balanced, and Tuukka Rask is playing too good right now.
Boston in six because - as I said in the Ramblings Tuesday, this team is out to screw up everything that I want to happen in these playoffs. After devastating the Leafs and humiliating the Penguins, why not the coup de grace?
Things have been going far too well for Boston. The big guns really haven't been the big guns on Chicago. A bit more experience in that locker room will get them a Cup.
The Hawks are the best team in the NHL this year. Since surviving a scare against the Detroit Red Wings they have been unstoppable and were not affected by the physical play of the defending champion Los Angeles Kings. They have been able to score against strong defensive units and top goaltenders.
Two complete teams and deserving finalists. Us, as fans, are the real winners. I like Chicago because I think they will be the best team Boston has faced all year, which will be a new challenge whereas Boston offers more of the same for Chicago. They've had to play at a high level all year and proved they were the best for 48 games. Just four more wins to prove that beyond a doubt.
BOS in 6. I just think they’re a little deeper 1 through 18, and I’ve got more confidence in Rask over the course of a long series.
From the goalie's perspective, I give the edge in the crease to Rask, and the overall edge in the series to Boston. I think Rask's game is very harmonious right now, and he's in the zone. His glove is on fire and he doesn't look exhausted or tired at all. From my own personal viewing perspective, I notice that his overall body control, balance, and patience on his skates is better right now than it has ever been at any point in his NHL career. He is letting pucks come to him, he is rarely chasing plays, and there's very little hesitation in his decision making. He seems to be getting more comfortable as the playoffs roll along.
Crawford by no means has been a slouch, but there were a few games against the Kings that had me wondering if he was starting to fight the puck, or if he was starting to wear down mentally and physically. Obviously this is by no means an absolute dissection of the series matchup, but for these reasons and many more, I can't bet against Tuukka and the Bruins.
Boston has two things that the Chicago Blackhawks don't and thats Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask. Boston fans are quickly forgetting about Tim Thomas.
Up to this point, I have been successfully unsuccessful at predicting the series winner but this time around the hottest team gets my vote. The Bruins have been riding hot since their epic comeback on the Leafs and unless the Hawks' biggest stars (finally) show up, Lucic, Bergeron and Rask will send the Hawks packing.
I do think that the Bruins had a vendetta to beat the Penguins, and the player (Jarome Iginla) who spurned them. And while there's definitely some risk of a let down effect after that series, the reality is the Bruins have better two-way forwards, more rearguard scoring, and a world class goalie who's playing not only for a Cup but also a huge offseason contract. To me, that gives them a clear edge in the series.
When the Bruins are on they are nearly impossible to beat and right now - they are on. Since game six of round 1, they have only one loss (in OT) against two high caliber opponents. They are the best even strength team in the playoffs and their PP has actually been slightly more efficient than Chicago's. Bergeron was made for the playoffs and will be key in shutting down the Hawks big-guns. This will put an emphasis on team depth where I think the Bruins have the upper hand. The Hawks should start well - but the Bs prevail in six.
I am taking Boston in six games. It just seems since the "Toronto Scare", Boston is a completely different team. They are almost the team I thought they would be all season. Chicago is also nearly back to what they were during that incredible run through the first half of the regular season. However in the end, Tuukka Rask is the difference over Corey Crawford and with a very tough Krejci line, Boston has the goods to lift Lord Stanley in Beantown.
The Bruins are the more physical team and there is a good chance Rask will outplay Crawford. Boston's offensive production from their blue line should be the difference.
After disposing of the Leafs in overtime of the first round in the 7th game and how that series triumph jump started a sleeping giant, there were definite parallels drawn between these and the Bruins of 2011 who narrowly escaped past Carey Price and the Habs in the first round before going on to win it all. David Krejci is simply unstoppable in the playoffs, if only he played like this in the regular season, and I like Rask over Crawford between the pipes.