Having improved all the way to .500 in the last round,I’ll try to at least match that last time. In the West, it’s the Kings (a pick I tweeted last night so you won’t think I’m cheating!) I continue to think that LA’s performance in the playoffs is more indicative of the talent of their roster than their regular season record, so I think they’ll beat the game but overmatched-in-talent Coyotes in, let’s say, 5. One argument I made in comments last time I’ll reiterate is that while his reputation seems to suffer from the more dubious coaching performances of his brothers, Darryl Sutter is an excellent coach. His first Chicago team improved by 16 points; his San Jose teams defied the Plexiglass Principle 4 years in a row, rare in any pro sport; and he took a Calgary team that was basically 2 elite players (one of whom Sutter acquired for a 2nd round draft pick) fronting a real good AHL team to within a goal of the Stanley Cup, 103 points the next year. Like a lot of defensive hardass types he doesn’t necessarily have a long shelf life but he was a great hire for an underachieving Kings team.
In the East, I’ll stick with the Rangers on the threadbare reasoning that in a series that figures to have a lot of close games I’ll take the team with the superior goaltending, and being in the camp that thinks he was a little overrated at his peak I don’t believe in the 40-year-old Brodeur. Plus, I think Berube will be able to will the spirit of Stephane Matteau in a Game 7. But I was impressed and evidently surprised by how easily Jersey handled the Flyers, so I won’t be surprised if they win.