2014 NHL Conference Finals

The NHL’s Eastern and Western Conference Semi-finals have now concluded and we are ready for the Conference Finals to begin tonight.

This is the first time since the 1979 playoffs that three Original Six teams have qualified for the Conference finals.  Two of those three teams, Montreal and New York, were involved and would meet up for Stanley Cup.  This year those two teams face off for the

As such, let’s take a look at the match-ups:

Eastern Conference

In the Eastern Conference, it a battle of two Original Six teams as the New York Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens.  Montreal has home ice advantage.

Both teams advanced to the Conference Final in seven game series:  New York beat out the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Montreal made it past the Boston Bruins.

The two teams have met 14 times in the postseason.  Both teams have won seven series each, with New York winning the last time the two teams met in 1996.  Montreal won two of the three meetings during the regular season.

Look for this to be a six game series, with Montreal winning the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions and earning a spot in to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since they won the Cup back in 1993.

Western Conference

In the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Los Angeles Kings.  Chicago is now playing in its fourth Conference Finals in the last six years, and are the defending Stanley Cup Champions.  This is Los Angeles’ third straight appearance in the Western Conference finals, having won in 2012 enroute to their first Stanley Cup title.  This match-up is a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference finals.

The two teams have met up twice before in the playoffs: in 1974 and 2013 with Chicago winning both series.  Chicago won in the first round of the playoffs in 1974 in five games, and won last year’s Western Conference finals in five games as well.

Chicago won all three regular season matches.

Look for Chicago to repeat as Clarence S. Campbell Bowl winners and make back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup finals.  This series likely will go five games, as Chicago will have had five days to rest prior to the start of this series, unlike Los Angeles who will only have two days.

Three of my predictions from last round made it through to the Conference finals (Chicago, Los Angeles, and Montreal) improving my postseason predictions record to 8-4.  Let’s see what happens this round.

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