Yesterday I gave my predictions for Eastern Conference matchups, today I want to give my predictions for the Western Conference. As much as I love the Sabres, I do think that the Stanley Cup winner will come from the west, it's just that strong of a Conference. So without delay, let's get started:
San Jose Sharks (1) vs Colorado Avalanche (8) My prediction: Sharks in four.
Living in San Jose I am very much interested in the Sharks, and working one block form the Tank I am not looking forward to the traffic. Sharks should win this series and I would be surprised if they lose more than one game. But, this is the Sharks we are talking about and their playoff record as of late is not very good, so I will throw this out there; if the Sharks lose game one then they are done.
Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Nashville Predators (7) My prediction: Blackhawks in six.
Yes Chicago has a great offense, but the big question is in net for them. The Preds had a great season and they finally get to play a team in the playoffs not located in Detroit or San Jose. This series features two teams with goaltenders with no playoff experience, but I think Chicago's potent offense is going to overwhelm the Preds.
Vancouver Canucks (3) vs Los Angeles Kings (6) My predictions: Canucks in five.
This is another tough game to predict. Vancouver has the playoff experience, a gold medal winning goalie and the league's top scorer, and LA may have a decent mix of young and vet players, but the big question for them is in net. Of all the series in the west, I feel this could be the one big upset.
Phoenix Coyotes (4) vs Detroit Redwings (5) My prediction: Coyotes in seven.
For me this is probably the most interesting series in the first round. Phoenix is this years cinderella team and Detroit is trying to make the finals for a third straight time. Detroit has the experience, they are the hottest team in the NHL since the Olympic break, and no one thinks Phoenix has a chance to win this. And should rookie goalie Jimmy Howard not be up to task, Detroit can turn to Chris Osgood who has won a couple of cups for the Wings. Here is what I think; Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is going to play like there is no tomorrow and take the Wings to a game seven and win it in Phoenix, at least that's what I hope.
Well there you have it, i'm sorry if this isn't as informative as yesterday's Eastern Conference preview, but I really wanted to get this out before the puck dropped tonight. Let's go Sabers!