The Hockey Spy's NHL Playoff Predictions: Western Conference (Round One)

Christopher RockContributor IApril 15, 2009

DETROIT, MI - MARCH 7:  Steve Mason #1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets faces a shot from teammate Rick Nash #61 in the warm-up prior to a game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 7, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Hockey Spy adds to the run of playoff predictions out there in cyberspace, tossing you his 20 pesos worth. If you missed it, here is my Eastern Conference first round predictions. Read on for Western Conference coverage.

My colleague Greg Caggiano (G-Cagg) at The Hockey Writers has a great rundown in his version of playoff predictions.

The Two-Line Pass via Puck Daddy also has interesting take on the upcoming quest for Lord Stanley.

Let's now take a look at the Western Conference .

Western Conference (First Round):

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

- Goalies: Nabokov > Hiller/Giguere
- Defense: Dead Even (Sharks depth likely gives them slight edge)
- Forwards: Thornton, Marleau and all the depth >> Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan

* Fearless Prediction: Sharks in seven (But Ducks could surprise!)

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

- Goalies: Mason >>>Osgood/Conklin
- Defense: Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart et al >> Commodore et al
- Forwards: Datsyuk, Zetterberg and the clan > Nash, Huselius, Umberger, Vermette et al

*Fearless Prediction: Blue Jackets in seven! (It will take a monstrous Mason peroformance, but Wings might just be ripe for the picking.)

Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. St. Louis Blues (6)

- Goalies: Luongo > Chris Mason
- Defense: Ohlund, Salo, Edler (Scandanavian trio) et al > Blues' Blueline (If only EJ wasn't hurt)
- Forwards: Sedins, Sundin (Swedish trio) et al > Backes, Berglund, Oshie et al (But give them a couple more years!)

*Fearless Prediction: Canucks in six (It was good while it lasted in St. Louis—they'll be better in the not so distant future)

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

- Goalies: Bulin Wall = Kipper (Khabibulin's mastery over the Flames likely gives Chi-town the edge)
- Defense: Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Barker et al > Injury-riddled Regehr (out), Phaneuf (back), Sarich et al
- Forwards: Iginla, Jokinen, Cammallari = Patrick Kane, Toews, Havlat et al (Both squads deep and Flames should have boost from return of Rene Bourque)

* Fearless Prediction: Blackhawks in six.

Feel free to comment, criticize and post your own picks.


Christopher Rock

aka The Hockey Spy


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