Western Conference Game 7s Preview

Game 7s Galore!

5/28/13 in NHL   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Blog Photo - Western Conference Game 7s PreviewThe Eastern Conference Semi’s were over in a flash, but victories aren’t coming as easily in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.  A Blackhawks win on Monday set up back to back Game 7’s in the West, and with how exciting both series have been so far, you better make sure to mark these times in your calendar…
San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings
Tuesday, May 28, 9:00 PM EST.
Neither team has lost a single game at home so far this postseason.  The Sharks are 5-0 at the shark tank, while the Kings are 6-0 at the Staples Center.  Four of the six games so far in the series have been decided by one goal, with Game 3 going into overtime.
In what has been an extremely physical series, don’t expect either competitor to go down without a fight - literally, that is.  The in-state rivals haven’t held back any punches so far.
While the trend would obviously be to pick Los Angeles to advance, being that the home team has won every game in the series so far, I’m not too sure that’s going to be the biggest factor at play here.  Even though Los Angeles made their miraculous Stanley Cup run just a year ago, San Jose brings a lot more high-pressure experience to the line.  The Kings didn’t face a single elimination game last year, while the Sharks are coming off their Game 6 elimination win and in their last Game 7 they eliminated a strong Red Wings team back in 2011 with a lot of the same players.
While the Sharks have been shut out by Jonathan Quick in two of the three games in Los Angeles so far, they have shown an ability to put the puck past him when they’re at their best.  And Tuesday, I think they’ll be at their best. 
Joe Thornton’s advanced to the Conference finals twice so far with San Jose, and if his team can ride their Game 6 momentum into Los Angeles Tuesday Night, he may just make it number 3.
Prediction: San Jose 2, Los Angeles 1
Blog Photo - Western Conference Game 7s PreviewDetroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, May 29, 8:00 PM EST.
Well the pressure was on for Chicago, and boy did they ever deliver.  After two of their strongest performances of the season, the Blackhawks are taking the Red Wings back to Chicago for a highly anticipated Game 7 on Wednesday.
The momentum has been back and forth all series.  Chicago opened up with a bang before Detroit quickly stole their thunder, winning 3 straight behind solid all-around play and particularly good goaltending from Jimmy Howard.  But in Games 5 and 6, Chicago found a way to put far more pressure on the Red Wings defense, capitalizing on a few key mistakes to make the series quite a bit more interesting.
The key for Wednesday night’s Game 7 is going to be the top-liners.  Neither Chicago nor Detroit received much of an offensive jolt from their top two lines in Game 6, so expect some noise from either Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane or Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Overall, with two straight wins and the series heading back home, it’s hard to pick against Chicago, even though Detroit continues to outperform expectations.
Prediction: Chicago 3, Detroit 1
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5/28/13   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

As the playoffs move on to a conclusion - Lord Stanley's Cup - the competition should get more intense and the series should go to game sevens.  Anything else is a disappointment, not a surprise.