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Playoff Picks - Broadcasters Select Conference Finals Winners

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

Every year the Columbus Blue Jackets television and radio broadcasters breakdown the playoffs and give you a feel for what to look for when the puck drops in the postseason. After round one, Danny Gare and George Matthews picked 9-of-12 series correctly while Jeff Rimer has 7-of-12 and Bill Davidge 6-of-12. Let see how each do in round two.



This round, each will give you a key(s) and three stars for each team as well as their picks for each of the conference finals.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

We start in the Western Conference with the top seed Detroit Red Wings moving on by sweeping the Colorado Avalance. They will face the No. 5 seed Dallas Stars in the 2008 Western Conference Final - Bill Davidge and George Matthews have the breakdown.

No. 1 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 5 Dallas Stars

Bill: Detroit in 6 games
George: Dallas in 6/7 games

Key(s) for Detroit… For Detroit, they have to do what they do well, which is puck possession. Word from Dallas is that they are going to try and play physical and Brendan Morrow is talking about hitting Brian Rafalski and Nick Lidstrom, but that would be dangerous because no team has been able to have consistant success doing that against Detroit all year. The Red Wings are the best puck possession team in the NHL in years, so Dallas better be careful.

Three Stars for the Red Wings

3rd… Chris Osgood has to be a star in net. He leads all playoff goalies with a 6-0-0 record and a 1.52 GAA. It's his series to win or lose.

2nd… Pavel Datsyuk is the key to every series for Detroit and seems to be playing his best hockey of the year. Always dangerous for opponents when he has the puck on his stick.

1st… Henrik Zetterberg is so honed in on winning the Stanley Cup this year and you could see it in round two agains the Avs. Remember, he was not on the '02 Cup winning team, but the 4-2 series loss to the Ducks a year ago could help push his level of play to new heights
.

Key(s) for Dallas… For Dallas, the keys will be their goaltending and their great depth. Turco vs. Osgood needs to go in the favor of the Stars and they must get consistent scroing as they have throughout the playoff - only two of the 13 forwards have yet to tally a marker in this year's playoff run.

Three Stars for the Stars

3rd… Brendan Morrow was second in scoring in the regualr season with 74 points and has seven goals thus far in the postseason, which leads the team. Two of those seven have been overtime winners.

2nd… Johan Franzen needs to NOT be a star for Detroit for Dallas to have a chance to win the series. Franzen scored nine times in four games in the Colorado series and leads all players in the playoffs with 11 tallies. He must be neutralized.

1st… Marty Turco has turned one series win into two upsets of the favored Ducks and Sharks. His 1.73 GAA is second only to Osgood and he has a .929 save percentage. He will have to win a game in Joe Louis Arena (possibly two) - something he has never done - 0-7-2 in 10 games.

Other Picks: Gare - DET in 6, Rimer - DET in 7.


EASTERN CONFERENCE

Looking at the Eastern Conference, it will be the No. 2 seed Pittsburgh Penguins hosting No. 6 seed Philadelphia in the battle of Pennsylvannia and for the right to go to the Stanley Cup Finals - Danny Gare and Jeff Rimer have the breakdown.

No. 2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 6 Philadelphia Flyers

Danny: Pittsburgh in 6 games
Jeff: Pittsburgh in 7 games

Key(s) for Pittsburgh... For Pittsburgh, the key will be the power play. Philly can be undisciplined at times and taking bad penalties against the Pens is a bad idea. The PP was the difference against the Rangers last round for Pittsburgh and Hossa has stepped up his play.

Three Stars for the Penguins

3rd... Marc-Andre Fluery has matured as a playoff player and is ready to take the next step and get to the Cup Finals. At the beginning of the playoffs, people may have thought he would be a weak point for this team, but he has been solid and will need to be a star agains the Flyers.

2nd... Evgeni Malkin/Marian Hossa have so much talent and their timely scoring is unbelievable. One or both will need to step up in this series.

1st...  Sidney Crosby seems to be so focused right now. He has that will to win and great talent, which makes for a dangerous combination. He has become a great leader at a very young age.
 

Key(s) for Philadelphia... For Philadelphia, the keys will be to get good goaltending from Biron as they have in the first two rounds and timely scoring from Umberger (Ohio State), Prospal, Richards and Carter. They also need to play physical but disciplined.

Three Stars for the Flyers

3rd... Kimmo Timonen's absence. Timonen, the quarterback of the Flyers power play, will not play due to a blood clot in his leg. Someone will need to make plays in his place, especially on special teams, if the Flyers are going to have success in this series.

2nd... RJ Umberger needs to continue his fantastic postseason. The former Buckeye  has nine tallies after only scoring 13 in the regular season. He must be a difference maker again in this series.

1st... Martin Biron will have to play big in net. He has the worst GAA of goalies left in the playoffs, but has come up with timely saves and looked much better in the Montreal series than he did in the Washington series.

Other Picks: Davidge - PITTin 6 and Matthews - PITT in 5/6.
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