The third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is about to begin, and my immediate thoughts are that of an evil genius, as I can’t help but think “Everything is going according to plan” and laughing maniacally. (Conference Semifinals Predictions here: https://mzrc.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/2013-14-nhl-stanley-cup-playoffs-predictions-conference-semifinals/)

Eastern Conference Finals

(3) Montreal Canadiens vs. (2) New York Rangers

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins in 7 games, in what was probably the best series of the playoffs apart from Hawks/Blues. It went 7 games just liked I hoped it would. I know I predicted Boston, but I also called Montreal the dark horse to come out of the East, and alas, that is holding true.

The New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, also in 7 games, after the Penguins failed to close the series after a obtaining a 3-1 series lead. Botch.

I feel like both teams have a chance at winning, for the same reasons I gave them a chance to win their second round series. But, I feel like Montreal has the edge, and now having home ice, I predict them to go on to the Finals.

Western Conference Finals

(3) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (3) Los Angeles Kings

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild in six games, in a mostly uneventful series. Well, except that Wild fans learned not to chant Corey Crawford’s name because he’s clearly better than any goalie they’ve had at least since Backstrom was in his prime.

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks in seven games, in an interesting series. The series was tied 2-2 after the first four, and the road team won each of those games. Anaheim turned around and won game 5 at home, only for L.A. to respond with their first home win of the series. And then the Kings massacred the Ducks in a 6-2 win in game 7.

So, alas, we’re here at a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals. Well, at least I got one series completely correct from the last set of predictions. And, with Anaheim’s and Boston’s eliminations, the Hawks would have home ice advantage throughout the remainder of their playoff run. Much like with the last series, it’s another rematch from last year – and again, both teams are roughly the same as last year. With home ice advantage, I’d have to predict the Blackhawks to defeat the Kings again. I don’t predict it will be as easy (not that it was easy last year), it’ll just be even harder. But the Hawks should win, because they know what it took last year, and won against them all three times this season.

As usual I’ll be back with more predictions as the playoffs continue.

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