Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Preview: Western Conference


#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Chicago Blackhawks

The Canucks were the best team in the NHL and captured the Presidents’ Trophy. They’ve actually been sent home each of the last two postseasons by the Blackhawks. The regular season champs boast the strongest 1-2 goalie tandem in the league (Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider). Luongo has proven to steal a game by his lonesome. With the Swedish Twins (Sedin brothers), the Canucks have a legitimate shot at the Cup.

The Blackhawks are the defending champs and snuck into the playoffs on a last-day loss by the Dallas Stars. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a little luck to get moving. This Chicago team is mighty fun to watch with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. However,with the loss of Patrick Sharpe, I can’t see them getting by the Canucks for a third straight season.

Got to be the worst logo in sports ~ X Mark
Canucks in 6.

#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Los Angeles Kings

San Jose was the preseason favorite amongst many experts to hoist the Cup. The Sharks are loaded up front with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, and prized-rookie, Logan Couture. Additionally, they have last year’s Cup-winning netminder, Antti Niemi.

The Kings are hurting in every aspect. Anze Kopitar is out for the series and the Kings are struggling to score goals. They rode Jonathan Quick to the playoffs. The UMASS graduate will need to stand on his head if the Kings have any chance of surviving the onslaught that is the Sharks offense.

Jumbo Joe deserves a shot at the Cup.

Sharks in 4. 
Break out the broomstick!!!

#3 Detroit Red Wings vs. #6 Phoenix Coyotes

Never bet against the Red Wings. I don’t care how old they may be. With or without Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings will move past the Coyotes for the second consecutive year.

Possibly one of the best logos in sports
and only now noticed the wheel ~ X Mark
Red Wings in 5.

#4 Anaheim Ducks vs. #5 Nashville Predators

This is the best of the first round matchups. Corey Perry vs. Pekka Rinne. Ryan Getzlaf vs. Shea Weber. Offense vs. defense. You will hear this duel mentioned a thousand times over the broadcast of the seven game series (yes, I said 7!). Both teams ended the season on heaters. If it wasn’t for the play of Tim Thomas, Rinne would be heralded as the best goalie this season.

Ducks in 7.

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