Conference finals insights, top Stamkos suitors

The Sharks won the season series against the Blues, 2-1. Who will win the Western Conference finals? Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images

In the Western Conference, it was two series that reached seven games -- and two blowouts in the deciding games. The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues announced their arrivals to the Western Conference finals with absolute authority.

The result is a great matchup, and one of these two franchises will get a crack at their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The last time the Western Conference finals featured two teams yet to win a Stanley Cup was 2012 when the Kings beat the Coyotes and went on to win their first championship.

This series should be much closer than that one was, and it’s going to be a blast to watch, as will the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. To lead off this week’s mailbag, here’s an explanation of my predictions for the next round (I've got a 9-3 record so far):