(1) Chicago vs. (5) Los Angeles
Pick: Los Angeles in 6
Reason: Just like the Blues, the Kings were pushed again by the Sharks but handled the adversity and persevered because of 1) Jonathan Quick and 2) experience winning this time of year. The Kings are battle-tested, physical and have enough talented skaters that I believe can match up with the Blackhawks' speed and skill. For all the flack Corey Crawford continues to get, he's done a good job and will push Quick in this series. But the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner seems to have found his groove again in these playoffs and will be the difference. And although the Hawks are a good road team, the Kings seem untouchable at home. This series smells seven games but I'll go against the grain and say LA steals one in Chitown and sweeps at home. Something about the Kings at Staples Center.
(1) Pittsburgh vs. (4) Boston
Pick: Pittsburgh in 7
Reason: Apologies to the Bruins. I didn't think the Bruins could solve Henrik Lundqvist quite like they did but what's impressive about this Boston squad is the balance it displays from lines 1-4. A good balance of skill and toughness for sure. But this will be a terrific series between the two best teams in the conference. I give the Penguins the slight edge because I like their skill a tad bit more. But I wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins find a way -- just like they did against Toronto in the opening round. Crosby and Co. will be out for blood trying to exploit some of the inexperienced Bruins d-men but what a great story Krug is for Boston. Iginla and Morrow are hungry veterans. Morrow wants another Cup, Iginla knows his window is closing.