The Conference Finals!
Only one more series in the East and West remains before the Stanley Cup Final comes to town. The Eastern and Western Conference finals are upon us and the teams included in those games are both the most predictable and the most astonishing.
In the Western Conference finals we have the two best teams from the Western Conference in the San Jose Sharks and the Chicago Blackhawks. They finished first and second respectively and were only separated by a single point at the end of the regular season. Both teams have overcome tough series on their way to the finals.
San Jose overcame playoff giants Detroit in only five games in the second round and finally look like they might overcome their playoff curse. Chicago defeated Vancouver in six games in the second round, repeating what they did to the Canucks in the previous year’s finals. Chicago have taken the first game 2-1 in what was a tight affair. This series looks like it is going to be a close one and could go the distance.
In the Eastern Conference we have two teams that you would not have bet on to be in the Conference finals; the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers. Finishing eighth and seventh in the regular season, the Canadiens and Flyers have defeated some of the NHL’s best teams to get to where they are.
Montreal have arguably had the hardest route to the final, having played both the Washington Capitals (the NHL’s number one team) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (the defending Stanley Cup champions). Both series went to seven games and Montreal showed true grit and determination in getting by those teams.
The Flyers have also had to fight for their place in the Conference finals. They defeated the New Jersey Devils in five games, an impressive achievement indeed, before making one of the greatest comebacks in any sport against Boston in the second round. They were 3-0 in games and came back to 3-3 to force a seventh game. In that seventh game they were down 3-0 and came back to win the game 4-3 and the series 4-3.
The Flyers have taken the first game 6-0 in the Eastern finals, but don’t count the Canadiens out yet, they know how to stick around.
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