Most of us picked Los Angeles, so we were right there, though no one had it in five games. Erin was the only one that picked Phoenix. She should definitely look into gambling large sums of money. Here we'll try to pick these two very unlikely Conference Final series containing one team that's "supposed" to be here and three teams that are a bit of a surprise.
(3) Phoenix Coyotes vs (8) Los Angeles Kings
Josh: Kings in 5. The Coyotes benefited from a bad goaltender in Chicago, and an over rated Predators squad. The Kings will take care of business.
Brandon: The Phoenix Coyotes are the feel-good story of the postseason so far, but they've overperformed so far in the playoffs. It's helped that the Coyotes faced two teams that were a bit overrated and overmatched, but the Kings will present a multitude of problems for Dave Tippett's squad. The Coyotes are allowing over 35 shots per game and the Kings are the highest-scoring team left in the playoffs. Kings in 6.
Taylor: Phoenix isn't as good as there last series made them seem. Their issue will be they can't score enough to keep up with Los Angeles' awakened offense. Kings in 5
Huw: Though the Coyotes beat the Predators in five games I don't see them being able to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings have one of the stingiest defenses and also have finally worked out how to score goals. Breezing past both the Canucks and the St Louis Blues is not small feat. Kings in 5.
Brad: This is my worst nightmare. I do not want to see either of these fanbases feel validated. To get here the Coyotes dealt with a couple of opponents who were falling apart at the seams at the right time. The Kings beat two good teams, have more talented forwards and the better goaltender. Give me Los Angeles in six.
Erin: The two hottest goalies of the playoffs face off in what is likely to be a low-scoring affair. While the Kings are the trendy pick right now and have finally figured out how to score goals, I think the longer layoff will hurt them more at the beginning of the series. The Coyotes play Tippett's "all in on defense" system and have frustrated an explosive offense already in the Chicago Blackhacks. I think they're on a bigger confidence bubble than LA. Phoenix in six.
(1) New York Rangers vs (6) New Jersey Devils
Josh: Two evenly matched teams, and this series could go either way. Parise and Kovalchuk will get one chance to compete for the Cup together.
Brandon: Will anyone even pay attention to the West? The Eastern matchup is full of intriguing storylines and features the New York area matchup the NHL dreams of. The Devils are going to find that scoring on the Rangers won't be nearly as easy as it was against the Flyers and Marty Brodeur isn't nearly what he used to be in net. This is going to be a very entertaining defensive series. Rangers in 7.
Taylor: The Rangers and Devils series will be more interesting than the West match up. These two teams are well matched up with one another. I think Brodeur has one last run in him, so I'm going Devils in 7.
Huw: The Rangers have gone the tough route to playoff success winning both of their series' game 7. The Devils on the other hand got past, without much trouble, a talented Flyers side. I have a feeling this one will go all the way to 7 games again and the Rangers will manage to pull it off again. Rangers in 7.
Brad: Is it crazy to think that the Devils can do this? They were pretty convincing versus Philly and the Rangers had one lousy day off to lick their wounds after their 14th playoff contest already. Brad Richards has been great for them, as has Lundqvist, but you wonder if they can do it again? I'll sheepishly say Rangers in 7 but I kind of wonder if the Devils will get off to a quick start here.
Erin: The semi-Subway series also pits two teams that have played their best hockey when limiting the amount of offense. Martin Brodeur experienced a resurgance as he led his team to a surprisingly easy victory over the Flyers, and Henrik Lundqvist was the best player in the key moments for the Rangers. I think the Rangers have more offensive depth but the Devils will be able to hang on for most of the series by their fingernails. Rangers in seven.
What say you?