NHL: Predicting the Western Conference Playoff Teams
Like in the Eastern Conference this is the other side of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Western Conference like the East has had strong teams. There are teams trying to win every game they can to make into the postseason. To those teams every shift is important. For those, the rest that is on the verge of clinching can either rest down the stretch or show that they are ready to dominate. Here are my predictions for the Western Conference.
The Jets have been a strong team all season. They currently stand 1-point ahead of the Nashville Predators. The Jets are trying to end the long streak of Canadian teams not winning the cup. The Jets are known for their size and strength. They also have a good goaltender and 2018 Veniza trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck. Look for Jets to be one of the final teams in the West.
The Predators are right there ready to jump into first in the Central. They have been a solid team all season. They like the Jets used solid goaltending. Pekka Rinne has been a catalyst for the franchise for a long time. Predators can also score goals. Look for them to be one of the teams that could win it all.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have an up and down year. They had some injuries earlier in the year. The Blues were able to overcome those. They are 5-points out of first. I am not saying they are going to overtake the Jets and Predators. Look for them to be a surprise in the postseason.
The Sharks may be the strongest team in the West. They have done on both ends of the ice all season. The Sharks currently have points in the West. They just finished a two-game stretch where they shut out the Minnesota Wild and nip the Winnipeg Jets by one goal. The Sharks look like the team that made to the finals a few years ago. The Sharks could be the team we see play the Lightning in the finals.
The Flames have been a hot team all season. They like the Jets are trying to end the Canadian team drought. The Flames have the best goal differential in the West. In other words, they outscore their opponents. They are 1-point out of first place behind the Sharks. The Flames may have a rematch of the 2004 Stanley Cup with the Lightning.
The Knights shocked the NHL world a year ago. In their first season went all the way to finals. It would have been a storybook ending but the Washington Capitals took it away. They have a different roster than a year ago but find themselves with a chance to go back to the finals. This year path will be much harder. Look for them to be a surprise team.
The Stars have been a decent team all season. The one problem that they have is they can’t win on the road. This is not a good equation as they head into the postseason. They have had issues also scoring goals. The Stars goal differential is only plus 2 which means their opponents are scoring on them. Let’s see if they can come together and make a run.
The Wild have been fighting for the last few weeks. They are currently one point out of the final spot. The team in front of them is the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes have been up and down which might favor the Wild. They have issues with winning at home. This is not a good problem to have.
Outsiders: Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche
Who do you have making the Western Conference playoffs in the NHL? Leave a comment below.
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