Who wins each of the conference finals of the 2017 NHL Playoffs? Stars and Sticks gives its predictions for each series.
The 2017 NHL Playoffs is coming to an end. Only four teams are left – the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks. Each team has overcome their own form of adversity to be one of the last teams standing. In the East, the Penguins and the Senators will face each other. Out in the Western Conference, the Predators and Ducks will face each other in a rematch of last year’s first round series.
Even with the Washington Capitals out, Dave Stevenson, editor of Stars and Sticks, will give his predictions. Last round, he went two for four, correctly predicting Ottawa would beat the New York Rangers and Nashville would beat the St. Louis Blues.
Senators vs. Penguins
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Why Ottawa can win: The Senators have Lady Luck on their side. They’re the feel good story of the NHL playoffs. Erik Karlsson is playing like the generational talent that he is. Craig Anderson has been amazing. At worst, he has consistently made timely saves to keep Ottawa in games. The Senators have a scoring by committee approach as for as their forwards, but it works well for them.
Why Pittsburgh can win: They just beat the best team in the NHL during the regular season. Marc-Andre Fleury is playing out of his mind. Anytime you have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on your team, you have a pretty darn good shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
Who will win: Penguins in seven. Pains me to say it because I hate them, but they’re the better team. Don’t sleep on the Senators though, they will give them a good challenge. Considering my luck lately, picking the Penguins means they’ll lose. You’re welcome, Pittsburgh.
Predators vs. Ducks
Why Nashville can win: The Predators are looking like the most unbeatable team in the NHL playoffs so far. They blew through the Chicago Blackhawks, sweeping them in four games. Nashville dominated the St. Louis Blues, disposing of them in six games. Pekka Rinne is playing the best hockey of his career. Ryan Ellis is a legitimate Conn Smythe candidate. So are Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi.
Why Anaheim can win: Listen, all Randy Carlyle does with the Ducks is win titles. OK, and have amazing meltdowns. But it’s fairly obvious this season is an example of the former and not the latter. Carlyle has one of the NHL’s top blue lines at his disposal. His centers, namely Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell, have been phenomenal.
Who will win: Predators in seven. If the Caps are out, I’m rooting for chaos. Forsberg versus the Penguins sounds fun and would likely cause DC to explode.