BROADCASTERS PICK CONFERENCE FINALS WINNERS
For the Conference Finals, we decided to let all four Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasters - Bill Davidge, George Matthews, Danny Gare and Jeff Rimer - breakdown how they see each series playing out.
No. 1 Detroit vs. No. 2 Anaheim Ducks
Detroit in 7 because ... the Red Wings have won ugly and will continue to surprise people with their physical play. The Grinders - Johan Franzen, Kris Draper and Mikael Samuelsson - are going to pull them through this series.
Anaheim in 7 because ... the Ducks are 8-2-0 in the playoffs - they can skate, pass, score and bang with any team left in the playoffs. Hasek has won six consecutive playoffs series with Detroit. Tomas Holmstrom has been a huge part of Detroit's offensive success since coming back from an eye injury suffered in game six versus Calgary. The Ducks have Chris Pronger, who leads the team in playoff points with 11 and minutes played with 30 per game. Jean-Sebastien Giguere hasn't had to stand on his head, but can if need be and is having a better playoffs than his Conn Smythe winning efforts in 2003.
Anaheim in 6 because ... the Ducks learned a lot from last year losing to Edmonton in the Conference Finals. Pronger is an established veteran leader and the line of Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will be strong. For Detroit, having Mathieu Schneider out with an injury will hurt their chances because he is a different maker.
Anaheim in 7 because ... despite having a great deal fo respect for the Red Wings, Anaheim will win because of Giguere in net and the mobility of the blueline - specifically Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, and Francois Beauchemin.
No. 1 Buffalo vs. No. 4 Ottawa
Buffalo in 7 because ... Ryan Miller will surprise people with his play and Ales Kotalik will step up his game and make something happen for the Sabres offense.
Buffalo in 7 because ... the Sabres have an edge in goaltending with Ryan Miller. They also have three lines that can score on a consistent basis. Buffalo combines skills with hard work, where as Ottawa works hard, but beyond their top line of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley.
Buffalo in 7 because ... Buffalo's last series brought them to a whole new level of play. Drury is the best leader and the Sabres have better goaltending in Ryan Miller. Home ice will be very important as well and Buffalo has to get the power play going early in the series to be effective.Jeff Rimer
Ottawa in 7 because ... Brian Murray has done a terrific job of turning Ottawa from a finesse team to a work man like team with finesse.
For more information on each series, go to www.nhl.com