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Just like last time, we'll first see how badly I suck.

ME/REALITY

BOS over CAR in 7 / CAR over BOS in 7 - This was one bad rebound away from being a full-on nail for me. Still, I find it ironic that what cost Boston was a bad goaltending play.

PIT over WAS in 7 / PIT over WAS in 7 - NAILED IT~

DET over ANA in 6 / DET over ANA in 7 - This was a better series than people give it credit for. NOW can we say Chris Osgood's really good? PLEASE?

CHI over VAN in 7 / CHI over VAN in 6 - I'm not sure if I can say Vancouver should have blown Chicago away, or vice versa, because the Canucks showed some tremendous mental weakness. They blew late leads in every single game this series. Something has to be done about leadership there.

Overall, three for four, and a rebound away from a sweep, with me nailing the Pittsburgh vs. Washington classic. Let's see if my streak keeps up, or if the Hockey Gods remember that I picked the Sharks to win the Cup, only to see them completely spit the bit against an 8 seed in a series that wasn't as close as the final score.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (5) vs. CAROLINA HURRICANES (6) - Forget the seeds, this is going to be a great series. Pittsburgh would have been a 3 seed if they started better, and Carolina is dangerous. I don't buy this "team of destiny" shit, but they're really dangerous, with clutch scoring and a hot goaltender.

This is going to be a close series, and it's going to come down to whoever blinks first. That said, I have to go with Pittsburgh's scoring. I wanted to initially say Carolina because I like Cam Ward better than Marc Andre Fleury, but I think Pittshbrgh's got too much firepower to not offset what is really a miniscule goaltending advantage.

PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH IN SEVEN

DETROIT RED WINGS (2) vs. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (4)

Washington vs. Pittsburgh was a classic. Detroit vs. Chicago is going to be a classic, with history backing it up. I figured going into the second round that there were two - and only two - acceptable combinations for the West final: Vancouver vs. Anaheim (because Vancouver would win), and this. Due to a perceived east coast bias (that being, the New York teams down through Pennsylvania), I don't think a lot of casual fans understand what we're in for here. These teams HATE each other, everyone and their dog HATES the Blackhawks, and both teams are REALLY good.

In the end, Detroit's the same team they were last year, only they ADDED Marion Hossa. Chicago's going to be outstanding assuming they keep their kids... but they're a year away. I love Khabi in the clutch, but I also love Osgood in the clutch - seriously, he's one of the most underrated players of all time - and this is going to be won by Detroit. That said, this is effectively the Finals.

WINNER: DETROIT IN SIX

I don't think anyone really understands how awesome this round is going to be. Carolina and Pittsburgh are going to be better than people realize, and Detroit and Chicago is going to be an absolute barnburner that could go either way. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy.

And pray for the sake of competition that I'm right about Pitt; Carolina won't last five games against either of the West teams.