G-Cagg’s Western Conference Playoff Preview (Round One)


In case you missed my Eastern conference preview for round one, click here. If not, please read on for my western conference predictions…

San Jose Sharks (1) vs. Anaheim Ducks (8)

Prediction: Ducks in 7.

No I’m not drunk or high or under the influence of any intoxicating beverage or drug. I just want to be the first writer here to call an upset over the best team in the entire National Hockey League, the San Jose Sharks. They are under tremendous pressure, considering they seem to do well every season and finish near the top, yet never go deep in the playoffs. Although this seems to be their year, I don’t think they will go far. The Ducks are a tough North American style built team, with grizzled veterans that have been there and done that and I have faith that Jonas Hiller can lead his team to victory. If not, they can always fall back on one time Stanley Cup Finals MVP J.S Giguere to lead the way.

Detroit Red Wings (2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (7)

Prediction: Red Wings in 4.

The Blue Jackets have had a magical run to this year’s playoffs, which is special because it is the first time in their franchise history that they made it this far. But other then Rick Nash they have a very weak offense and also a no-name defense. Steve Mason has been spectacular this season but the playoffs are a different animal and I expect him to falter. The Red Wings on the other hand have problems in goaltending but their defense and offense will heavily make up for it. I have the Red Wings going to at least the Western Conference Finals.

Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. St. Louis Blues (3)

Prediction: Blues in 6.

The Vancouver Canucks have seen a sudden resurgence ever since signing Mats Sundin this December. Their goaltending is world class and the defensive system they play is effective, but I think the young and energetic Blues can overcome it. They have speed, skill, and some experience and Chris Mason has been one of the hottest goalies down the stretch. Congratulations to John  Davidson and Andy Murray for getting this motley bunch that was in twelfth place this January all the way to the sixth seed here in April.

Chicago Blackhawks (4) vs. Calgary Flames (5)

Prediction: Flames in 6.

The Chicago Blackhawks were on of the most exciting teams this season and their fans can finally be proud as they make the playoffs for the first time in over ten years, but their lack of playoff experience is what will ultimately do them in. Come playoff time it doesn’t come down to skill; but to leadership and grit and the Flames under Mike Keenan have plenty of that. Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Dion Phaneuf will lead the way all while being backstopped by Miikka Kiprussoff. I can even see the Flames going all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, if they can get past Detroit in the conference finals.

The Hockey Writers

  • http://rinkside.webs.com Greg Caggiano

    MJ, is that you?

  • Alfred Newman

    I’m willing to bet you that you get each and every one of your Western Conference first round predictions wrong and when you do, you better go off and start writing about topics you actually know something about…the lifestyle section maybe? Try movie reviews or the society page…anything but hockey. The Wings will probably win but Columbus is the upset to call if you are trying to show some balls, not the Ducks. Other than that, you’re dead wrong on all counts in the West.

  • http://beholdtheqstache.blogspot.com Jim Neveau

    I think the Sharks will take down the Ducks, but it will be a hard fought battle of a series.

    I also think the Wings will beat the Jackets, but I think it will go six games and Columbus will possibly take a 2-1 lead before losing three in a row. Detroit thrives in the postseason because they never bite off more than they can chew.

    I agree with your pick of the Blues to upset the Canucks. They have been ridiculously good lately, and the Canucks don’t impress me all that much (although Luongo could have a lot to say about how these playoffs will go for the Canucks).

    I cannot see logically picking the Flames to beat the Blackhawks, if for no other reasons than the Hawks dominated them all season, AND the Flames haven’t scored a power play goal in their last ten games. If you’re not taking advantage of the man advantage, you generally aren’t winning, and they haven’t been.

    I think Chicago will be too much for Calgary to handle. Blackhawks in five.

  • Brett Bodner

    MJ i like your thinking haha…but it all depends on how the hurricane series turns out

  • MJ Kasprzak

    sharks in 6, wings in 6 (goaltending and rivalry each good for 1 jackets win), canucks in 6, hawks in 7 (calgary is hurt and stupid and has all the pressure); sj in 7, canucks in 6; canucks in 6

    b’s in 5, ny in 7 (getting better, talent on paper, better goalie, no expectations), nj in 6, pitt in 6; b’s in 6, nj in 7; nj in 7

    i still think the devils get back on track and win it all.

  • MJ Kasprzak

    we beat the ducks unless they take out someone with a cheapshot, which could certainly happen. road teams rarely win game 7, and we’re better on the pp, pk, and in gfa and gaa. in fact, their “tough” (read:DIRTY!!!) style makes them a poor match-up, as they will commit the penalties that put us on the pp like they did last year vs. dallas. that’s why we won 4 of six during the season, just like we will in the series.
    that being said, we’ll be so beat up we won’t win the cup, maybe not even the west.

  • Brad McBrair

    I have to agree with Rick. The Blue Jackets will NOT get swept. Goaltenders are always a major factor in the playoffs and Mason is incredible.

  • http://MVN.com/hockeyspy Christopher Ralph

    – Nice call on Ducks, but I’m thinking Nabby gives the Sharks the win in 7

    – My big pick for upset is Jackets over Wings – Wings goalies have a meltdown! 😉

    – Live in Calgary and love the Flames, but Hawks in 6

    – ‘Nucks will take out the Blues, but it was fun while it lasted in St. Lou!

  • Chris Hoeler

    Dude you forgot the Coyotes……..*insert sarcasm here*

  • Rick Gethin

    Slow down there, cowboy. Wings in 4? That’s crazy talk. The season series was split 3-3, including an 8-2 drubbing of the Wings in Detroit. This series will go at least 6 games. The intangibles and staying out of the box will win this series for Columbus. I’m smelling MAJOR upset!!!