2017 Western Conference First Round Picks

Kane

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. WC Nashville Predators

Why the Blackhawks will win:

The Blackhawks still have the core that has lead them to three Stanley Cups, and they once again have reloaded for another run. They have Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin, who have combined for 163 points this season, and Jonathan Toews, who is one of the best of the best when it comes to complete centers in the league. The Blackhawks also have one of the best defensive cores in the NHL and if the right Corey Crawford shows up it will be tough to holes in the Blackhawks

Why the Predators will win:

The Predators are just about outmatched in every category except goaltending. Pekka Rinne is aging quickly, but if the Predators want to win this series, he’s going to have to stand on his head.  The young Swedish duo of Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg have paced the Predators’ offense this season, and will have to have a big series to help the Predators match the Blackhawks’ offense that ranks as the leagues 3rd best.

Who will win:

The Predators might give the Blackhawks more of a fight than some people may think, but the Predators are just too outmatched by the Blackhawks.

Number of Games:

6

#2 Minnesota Wild vs. #3 St. Louis Blues

Why the Wild will win:

The Wild are one of the deepest teams in the NHL. They will have to use that depth to their advantage against the Blues, whose best players are either injured or were traded. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been cold since the month of March but before then was having a Vezina trophy worth series. If he can return to that form while getting the balanced offensive production that saw 11 35-point getters in the regular season, the Wild will be just fine.

Why the Blues will win:

The Blues are the hottest team heading into the playoffs since coach Ken Hitchcock was fired, posting a 15-2-2 record heading into the post season. Goaltender Jake Allen has been hot as well and the Blues must keep that momentum going.

Who will win:

The Wild simply have too much depth and the Blues simply are too depleted right now for the series to go any other way than the Wild’s.

Number of games: 4

#1 Anaheim Ducks vs. WC Calgary Flames

Why the Ducks will win:

The Ducks have a balanced defensive core, but also have offensive firepower in Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, and Corey Perry. The trio has combined for 184 points, which is as impressive as any other trio in the league. John Gibson also posts an impressive 2.22 GAA to help compliment the balanced defensive core.

Why the Flames will win:

Johnny Gaudreau is as electric as any player you will see in the playoffs. He paces the Flames with 61 points and must keep up that offensive power for Flames to match with the Ducks. Matthew Tkachuk has been a very valuable asset for the Flames and will be needed to be thorn in side of the likes of Perry in the series. The Flames will have to play fast and aggressive in order to have a chance in this series

Who will win:

The Flames have not won a game in Anaheim since 2006. No, that is not a typo. The Flames are 1-29-0 in Anaheim since the lockout. That is not a good omen for a team who will have to win most likely one if not two games to win this series. As badly as I want to see a Flames and Oilers series, it just won’t happen. The Ducks will pull this on out in a physical and ugly series.

Number of games:

6

#2 Edmonton Oilers vs #3 San Jose Sharks

Why the Oilers will win:

The Oiler finally have pushed through to the playoffs after years of rebuilding. They have one of the brightest stars in Connor McDavid, who hit the 100-point marker in his second season. With the Oilers being so young, they’ll have to look to Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference who have won a Stanley Cup before for guidance in the NHL playoffs who are completely new beast compared to the regular season.

Why the Sharks will win:

The Sharks have one of the most veteran filled teams in the playoffs with the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. But they are also incredibly well balanced and have an absolute beast in Brent Burns who will be a front-runner for the Norris yet again. Their experience will be their biggest advantage in this series against a young and inexperienced Oilers group.

Who will win:

The Sharks have the pieces from last years Stanley Cup final run but that can wear on a team especially one that is a little bit older and the Oilers are exceptionally talented. The Oilers speed will be too much for the Sharks in the end.

Number of games:

7

 

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