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The Five for Howling Roundtable - Eastern Conference Finals Predictions

The Roundtable is back this weekend.  We are making conference predictions this time around.  Today we deal with the Eastern Conference Finals which begin this evening.   The staff at FFH make their predictions on the series.

Who do you think will win the Eastern Conference Finals and why?

Paul - My pick is the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Why?  I'm from there and I'm still a homer.  Seriously, Guy Boucher has this group playing a fierce brand of up-tempo hockey that I haven't seen in a long time; in fact, this team is better than the 04 Cup team.  Not only are they fast, they are relentless pursuers of the puck; they typify the adage "People and Pucks to the Net" as they never give up on the play.  The key factor will be the battle of the netminders.  I like Tim Thomas a lot, but I think the 'Bolts have the edge here.

But then again...I'm betting with my emotions - never a good thing...

Travis - Both teams play so differently, but I’m pulling for the Lightning in the East. With how fast they can play and the scorers they have I just see them being able to pull it out even with Thomas in net for the Bruins. That and us sunbelt teams have to stick it to the man.

Jordan - Well, since my stellar predictions on who would be playing in the Eastern Conference really panned out, I'm not sure I can talk with any authority really. Both Tampa Bay and Boston showed that they have the ability to defeat very good hockey teams with their respective sweeps of Washington and Philly. The wild card, to me, is whether Tim Thomas will be as un-frickin-believable as he was last series. If he is, I'm just not sure that Tampa Bay (or anyone) has much of a shot. If he's merely the very good goalie that played in the first round, I like Tampa. Because I'd rather not see the Bruins win anything, I'll go with the Lightning and their tenacious attacking plan.

Carl - I expect this to be a drawn out series lasting 6-7 games.  Both teams have excellent starting goaltenders.  Dwayne Roloson hasn't gotten anywhere near the credit he deserves over the years because he's mainly played on bad teams.  Tin Thomas will likely win the Vezina this year.  Both teams are tied for the GAA lead so far in the playoffs. Boston's PK hasn't been as good as the Lightning's so far this postseason, but they likely has more to do with their respective opponents than anything else.  Tampa hasn't faced a good PP in weeks and the Bruins held the Bolts to only one PP goal in their 4 meetings this season.   Any team with Martin St. Louis on it scares me.  However, I don't trust the Bolts defense and therefore I'm picking the boys from Beantown.  Their defense is more trustworthy in my opinion and I expect them to use a relentless forecheck to expose Tampa's weak blueline.