I’m sure everyone is on pins and needles, so here we go, my 3rd round NHL Playoff picks. After going 2 for 4 in the second round (the Canucks and Bruins really let me down) I put myself among many noted sportscasters with a 50% rating.

Western Conference Final

This should be highly entertaining series with the young and quick Chicago Blackhawks taking on the veteran Detroit Red Wings. Chicago comes into the series with about five days rest after taking care of Vancouver in six games, while Detroit went the full seven games before knocking off Anaheim, who is only going to have about 3 days to rest before starting this series. The season series between the finalists has Detroit with a 4 games to 2 edge, including a win at Wrigley Field in the Winter Classic. In the new NHL with youth and a run and gun style of play becoming more the norm, and Detroit getting older with each series that they play, I like Chicago in this one. This series begins Sunday at noon PST on TSN. (Blackhawks in 7 games)

Eastern Conference Final

This series should be about two main battles – Sydney Crosby versus Eric Stall and Marc-Andre Fleury versus Cam Ward. Pittsburgh holds the edge on both defense and offense, however to win the Lord Stanley’s Cup it usually comes down to goaltending and Ward easily beats out Fleury for the advantage between the pipes. It should be a great series to watch as both teams have only really emerged as contenders the past few years and both have gained a tonne of experience in big games over that time. For me it is a bit unexpected for Carolina to have made it this far and they will not be as well rested as the Penguins who will have had an extra day off after their 7th game win the day before the Hurricanes polished off the Bruins. Carolina could turn out to be the Cinderella story of the 2009 playoffs, however I think that Pittsburgh has the bigger desire to win the Cup which should be enough to carry them. The series begins Monday at 4:30 PM PST on TSN. (Penguins in 6 games)

And by the way, are you kidding me that TSN is hosting both conference finals? I could not find a link that said the CBC was hosting any 3rd round games. While I like Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire (at times), the playoffs are a CBC institution!

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