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2010 NHL playoffs: Conference finals predictions

We’ve already proven just how useless making predictions in the playoffs can be, but since we’re gluttons for punishment we thought we’d go ahead and keep at it anyway. That the conference finals are so evenly matched for each series will likely mean that we’re nowhere close on our predictions, but here they are nonetheless.

Eastern Conference Finals

7) Philadelphia Flyers vs. 8) Montreal Canadiens

James: I’m just as conflicted with this series as I am with Chicago-San Jose. Montreal has the best goalie of the playoffs, a decent group of forwards masquerading as an incredible group of forwards and a sharp defensive system that rarely springs a leak. (They allow a lot of shots, but not a lot of quality chances) On the other hand, Philadelphia has plenty of firepower and some big, mean forwards. It could go either way. Ultimately, my motto is: when it doubt, go with the team that has Chris Pronger. Philadelphia in 6.

Joe: No, I’m not trying to do some reverse jinx stuff after picking the Habs to get bounced in six games in the previous two series. What I’m saying is that I’m now a believer and I think they’ll find things to be a little easier going against the Flyers. The Flyers haven’t played a team this dedicated to defense yet, which is stunning since they’ve already beaten the Devils. It won’t be pretty to watch regardless of who does win but I think the Habs continue to work miracles. Montreal in 6.

Brandon: This is going to be one heck of an interesting series to watch, as these are two teams seemingly riding the wave of “destiny” on their road to deep in the playoffs. Someone’s luck will run out and one team will find their energy and edge gone after a month straight of overcoming the odds. You also have to think, especially with two teams so evenly matched, that the goaltending will truly make the difference. Jaroslav Halak has proven so far that he’s the goalie to beat, and Michael Leighton is still struggling to get his game together. Montreal in 7.

Western Conference Finals

1) San Jose Sharks vs. 2) Chicago Blackhawks

James: Every once in a while, a pre-season prediction will have its advantages. Like, say, when you don’t really know which team will win a playoff series. I picked the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup last summer, so I’ll stick with them until I’m wrong. Thank goodness for this default choice, though, because I have no idea who I actually think will win. San Jose in 6.

Joe: I’ll be honest here, I really have no solid idea as to who will win this series. Both teams are playing great, both teams are showing tremendous killer instinct and both teams have other-worldly talent. Saying this one goes seven games is my way of saying this is a toss-up that goes either way. I’m siding with the Sharks because I believe that this is their time and that all the nagging labels they’ve had on them before they’ve shaken off. Of course Chicago can still win this and make me a huge liar. San Jose in 7.

Brandon: Is this finally the year for the Sharks? Or will the Blackhawks take advantage of perhaps their best and final shot to get this far before the salary cap comes down upon their head this summer? Like Joe, there’s literally no way to tell how this series will go because I honestly have no clue how the Sharks will react after finally getting to the Conference finals after four years of disappointment. I blindly throw a dart against the wall. Chicago in 7.