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San Jose Sharks right wing Joonas Donskoi, right, celebrates with defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic  after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the NHL hockey second-round playoff series on May 8, 2019. 
San Jose Sharks right wing Joonas Donskoi, right, celebrates with defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic  after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the NHL hockey second-round playoff series on May 8, 2019. |Jeff Chiu | Associated Press
NHL

NHL Playoff Preview: With only four teams left in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, Dietel shares his Conference Finals Predictions

Craig Dietel

Craig Dietel

With only four teams left in the running for the Stanley Cup, we decided it was time to give our prediction of who makes it to the cup final. So, without further ado…

Eastern Conference

Hurricanes vs Bruins
The Hurricanes had somewhat of a Cinderella story of a season. It all began with the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft followed up by a blockbuster trade which landed them D Dougie Hamilton to help them bolster their already elite backend. The puck moving, Norris Trophy caliber defenseman proved to be a great addition to the team even though they had to give up F Elias Lindholm who was exceptional for the Calgary Flames this season. They’ve showed grit and determination by defeating the reigning Stanley Cup Champions as well as sweeping the Islanders who swept the mighty Penguins. It’s been a tough road, but they made it, however, with each passing day it is looking more and more like the Bruins time to shine.

Boston’s band of cohorts has proven time and time again that they can play with the best of them. They’ve got three of the best forwards in the game, a strong 1-2 punch down the middle, and a solid defensive core. They will be without D Charlie McAvoy for game one due to a suspension but that shouldn’t hinder their chances at making the Stanley Cup Final. We think that this Bruins team can beat literally anyone and should come out on top at the end of the day.
Pick: Bruins in 6

Western Conference

Blues vs Sharks
The St. Louis Blues have had one of the most interesting seasons of any team this year. They started off as abysmally is one team could and found their stride late in the season but were able to scratch and claw their way into the post season. With rookie G Jordan Binnington in net, they have a new found confidence. Their forwards are playing like they should’ve been all year and F Patrick Maroon has been extravagant for the team this post season especially after Game 7 against the Stars where he secured the game winning goal in front of his son who was brought to tears. It’s been an emotional ride for this team and no one thought they would be here, but time and time again they’ve proven the naysayers wrong.

The Sharks are another wagon who are not to be messed with. Their offseason additions of signing F Evander Kane long term after acquiring him from Buffalo at the deadline along with trading for D Erik Karlsson was huge for this. Not to mention they are getting contributions from all over their lineup. We’ve talked at length about how important Logan Couture’s scoring ability has been this post season but F Timo Meier and F Tomas Hertl have been workhorses for this San Jose Team. Their only weakness is their goaltending which is concerning as the Blues certainly have them beat in that department. Can good goaltending seal the deal for St. Louis? Will it be enough? We aren’t convinced.
Pick: Sharks in 7