We're down to the final round before the Stanley Cup. The remaining two teams after the Conference Finals will own some minor bragging rights to the East and the West, but the Cup is what defines it all. It defines every injury that was played through; every broken bone, blood gushing wound, any limp or ache: everything. And now we're only 14 games away from it all, at the most.
Pittsburgh vs Phili
I'm sure all the Ranger fans are going to have a field day with this one, but I am rooting for the Pens. I'm sorry, I have too. I can't stand the Flyers - sorry to all you readers from Philly, don't take it as a form of disrespect. There's just something about the way the Flyers play that irk me and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's because every time they play the Isles I feel they are incredibly BORING games and I don't see much to be impressed by. But now you guys are impressing many as you've knocked out the Caps, and most notably, the Canadiens.
However the Pens, as I stated in one of my recent blogs, exemplify everything I want my Islander Franchise to be. Young and aspiring as a true heavyweight in the league, built from within. The Isles have a chance to make themselves that kind of team with Okposo and the fifth round pick in this year's draft. But that remains to be seen. Right now I'm watching the prototype of the real deal. The Flyers, however, may have luck on their side since they appear to be the true underdog of the playoffs that finds its way to the Cup Finals. Just for that mere mythical fact I would not be too surprised if the Flyers win, along with that their playing great hockey.
But the Pens, I personally think, will be their greatest competition, and it should be a great series that I expect to go to seven games.
Dallas vs. Detroit
Double D's. Two of the biggest contenders in the West. Dallas was one heck of a team for most of the regular season before fading down the stretch before the start of the playoffs, allowing many, including myself, to not have high expectations for them. However, Brendan Morrow has been one hell of a leader and has been leading his team to victory in each bout. Detroit won the President's Trophy. They are not a team to be taken lightly, and I am seeing that now.
I never had high expectations for the Red Wings either; it seems that almost every year they will have a terrific regular season and blow it in the playoffs. Well with Ozzie in net and Franzen lighting up the score sheet, they're not blowing anything besides their opponents out of the water. And I'm not going to lie, I'm still a fan of Ozzie. When we claimed him off waivers years ago he helped restore this team into the thick of things and even tied a record, being the first Isles goaltender to win 32 games in one season since Billy Smith.
With all of that being said I am still iffy on who I want to win this series. Detroit, (Ozzie aside) has never been a team that I've had at the top of my favorites. Dallas never really stood out that much to me either, although I have a lot of respect for a guy like Mike Modano.
Another hard fought series that should go 7, but who do I want to win? Maybe Dallas just a tad bit more, but either I'm happy for Modano and Morrow, or I'm happy for Ozzie.
So what do you think? Who is going to be the final two teams to duke it out in the finals?