The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals are here! In the first round, we saw more underdogs win than ever before, and the Carolina Hurricanes continued their Cinderella ride through the second round, sweeping the New York Islanders and advancing to the East Final to play the Boston Bruins.
In the West Final, the St. Louis Blues – much like the Hurricanes – will look to continue what has been one of the greatest turnarounds in NHL history, going from last place at Christmas, to four wins away from the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues will have to go through what many believe is a team and more specifically a player of destiny in Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks. Can Joe Thornton finally win a Stanley Cup in his 21st season?
Our BHN panel gives you their picks and why!
NHL Conference Final Predictions
Eastern Conference Final: While I completely respect the Hurricanes and what they have done since being in last place on Christmas, their magical run is about to run out. The team that has become a hated “Bunch Of Jerks” around the NHL, is on a different level of playoff hockey than the lovable “Bunch Of Jerks” of are riding pure momentum and speed, but are not as skilled and experienced as the Bruins who have speed, skill, size and Tuukka Rask. The Canes are in for a Brass Bonanza of heavy and better hockey from the B’s!
Pick: Bruins in 5
Western Conference Final: This series is going to be the definition of ‘Heavy’ hockey, which in layman’s terms means, bruising, physical and relentless hockey. The Blues and Sharks are two big and skilled teams that have simply outmuscled and outhustled their opponents to get to his point. Of course the goaltending of rookie Jordan Binnington – who’s so calm, you need to check his pulse – for the Blues has plenty to do with their success, but this series will be decided in the trenches and with Joe Pavelski back, give me the Sharks to advance and Jumbo Joe to play for the Cup against the team that unceremoniously traded him back in 2005.
Pick: Sharks in 6
Eastern Conference Final: Carolina has proven me wrong all playoff long, but I think the Bruins are too deep both up front and defensively. With Tuukka Rask playing at an elite level and the Canes dealing with goaltending issues via injury, this seems to be Boston’s series to lose.
Pick: Bruins in 6
Western Conference Final: An absolute coin toss series here, I lean Blues because of their forward depth and consistent goaltending. Martin Jones worries me a bit, and the veteran legs of the Sharks have a lot of miles on them this spring. St. Louis a slightly deeper and quicker, and I think it’s enough to push them to the final.
Pick: Blues in 7
Eastern Conference Finals: Carolina is relishing the role of being the underdog, but this is Boston’s series to lose. With Tuukka Rask playing at a high level and the Bruins get scoring depth scoring, Carolina will be on their heels for most of the series. Even though the Hurricanes strength is defense, the Bruins defense is one of the best in the playoffs.
Pick: Bruins in 6
Western Conference Finals: The Sharks and Blues is such a toss-up series. The winner of this series will win the Stanley Cup. Both teams are coming off of a grueling series, but the slight is going to San Jose. Playing at home will help this team. Though St. Louis is good on the road, San Jose came back from 3-1 deficit against Vegas. The Sharks have gone through so much adversity it feels it is the Sharks time.
Pick: Sharks in 6