NHL Western Conference Playoff Predictions

Stephen DiSchiaviCorrespondent IApril 13, 2009

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 7:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 7, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Now that the Western Conference seeds have been set, here are my predictions for things will play out:


First Round

No. 1 San Jose Sharks vs. No. 8 Anaheim Ducks

This will mark the first time two California teams will meet in a playoff series. The regular season series was won by a consistent and powerful San Jose team in six.

If the Ducks continue to roll, play disciplined hockey, and stay out of the penalty box, they will walk away with the series, despite the Sharks being the President Trophy winners. The Sharks will continue their playoff history by being eliminated. No, Ron Wilson, it wasn't your fault.  

Prediction: Ducks in Seven

No. 2 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 7 Columbus Blue Jackets

Division foes square off as the defending Stanley Cup Champions begin their title defense against a well known opponent. Shaky goal tending will be the downfall of the Red Wings, even with the talent that surrounds them. The Blue Jackets will ride Steve Mason and Captain Rick Nash and knock off the defending Stanley Cup Champions. 

Prediction: Blue Jackets in six

No. 3 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 6 St. Louis Blues

St. Louis is the Cinderella story of the Western Conference with their late charge into the post season, but the clock will strike 12 with the Sedin twins playing their best hockey of their young careers and Roberto Luongo in net. 

Prediction: Canucks in four


No. 4 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 5 Calgary Flames

Chicago has been on a roll the past couple of weeks, where the Flames have been slipping. After running away with what was clear to be the Northwest division title, Calgary has fallen and has not been playing consistent hockey. If Miikka Kiprusoff gets hot I think the Flames may have a chance, but Chicago has the edge in this series.

Prediction: Blackhawks in five


Second Round

No. 3 Canucks vs. No. 8 Ducks

The Ducks have more experience. If they can figure out Luongo and shut down the Sedin twins, they will be able to sneak past the Northwest Division champs. 

Prediction: Ducks in six


No. 4 Blackhawks vs. No. 7 Blue Jackets

Steve Mason goes cold and Rick Nash can't carry the team all by himself. Youth and strength take Blackhawks into the Western Conference Finals. 

Prediction: Blackhawks in five


Western Conference Finals

No. 4 Blackhawks vs. No. 8 Ducks

Chicago jumps all over the older and tired Anaheim squad, but experience and wisdom kick in and J.S. Giguere is resurrected. Anaheim bounces back and forces an exciting game seven, on the road.

Prediction: Ducks in seven