Welcome back to this year's edition of "Joe Throws Darts at Hockey Teams," also known as my predictions for the Stanley Cup playoffs. I got the Western Conference perfectly in the last round (Canucks in 6, Sharks in 7). My Eastern Conference picks (Flyers in 6, Capitals in 6) crashed and burned, as the two top seeds were both swept. So I'm 7-5 overall -- but only 2-4 in the East series, featuring the teams I actually see most often. Familiarity breeds stupidity? Now, to the NHL's final four...
(3) Boston Bruins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning - Both teams had to rally to win their first-round series and swept through the second round. Both teams have been sitting around for over a week thanks to their sweeps. I'm not sure this gives either team a particular advantage. It might make for a sloppy start, if the teams have to shake off the rust. Boston is the better team, and should win. Then again, Tampa Bay has already defeated Pittsburgh and Washington. Plus, I apparently know nothing about the Eastern Conference, so I'm going with the upset. Take this with a few thousand grains of salt. Lightning in 6.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (2) San Jose Sharks - These two teams, both with reputations as playoff underachievers in recent years, are apparently going to spend this series trying to give the other team the series. The Canucks blew a 3-0 lead in the first round before finishing off Chicago in Game 7. The Sharks followed the same pattern in the second round against Detroit. Both teams had trouble in their other matchup as well before winning in 6 (Vancouver over Nashville, San Jose over Los Angeles). Because of this, what should be an excellent series might be a very weird one. Canucks in 7.