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(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild
In probably one of the biggest mismatches we've seen in playoff history, the top team in the NHL takes on the ice-cold Minnesota Wild. If Minnesota steps up its game and plays the best hockey it has this season, the Wild may have a shot to take a few games if the Hawks don't take them seriously.
On the other hand, Chicago is just too good and Minnesota isn't good enough to pull off a monumental upset...or even come close to doing so. Chicago in four.
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings
This series happened 10 years ago as the 2-7 series, except Detroit was second and Anaheim was seventh. Current Detroit head coach Mike Babcock also coached those Ducks, who were known as the Mighty Ducks at the time, to a shocking sweep of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Now, these two longtime rivals meet one last time in the Western Conference Playoffs before Detroit moves East, with Anaheim being the favorite for the first time. The Ducks were a great story, riding a scorching start to a Pacific Division title after being the consensus pick to finish last.
Anaheim has been consistently good the whole year, but has overachieved without a doubt. And let's face it, Detroit just played four playoff games...and won all of them. This series will be very close, but the Wings continue their momentum and pull off the upset. Detroit in six.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
Like Washington-New York, this has the potential to be the best series in the entire playoffs. Both teams are unpredictable; San Jose is basically unstoppable at home and mediocre on the road while Vancouver has also had its ups and downs.
The Canucks are technically the favorite, but San Jose won all three meetings and finished only two points behind Vancouver in the standings. It appears as if Cory Schneider will return to start the series for the Canucks, which should be a huge boost to the team.
However, if San Jose can steal one of the first two games in Vancouver, they should be able to feed off of the HP Pavilion crowd and knock off the Canucks. San Jose in six.
(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings
In another coin-toss matchup, the Kings meet the Blues in a rematch of last year's second round series. In that series, the eighth-seeded Kings shocked the second-seeded Blues with a sweep en route to a Stanley Cup title.
This year, St. Louis is one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs and is hungry for revenge. Despite being the underdogs due to finishing with one less point, the Kings are the popular pick for this series because of what they did last year.
They have also been terrific at home, but pretty bad on the road unlike last year's playoffs. These teams will split the first four games as well as the fifth and sixth games, but St. Louis rides home ice to victory in the end. St. Louis in seven.