12.04.2009 A look at the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (Western Conference)

west

With the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin tonight here is a look at the Western Conference match-ups with predictions.

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

The President Trophy winning Sharks take on the Ducks in the battle of California. With a 4-2 head-to-head record in favor of San Jose the first step for the league’s top team will be a Ducks team with a new found confidence and a red-hot streak to enter the NHL’s second season. The Ducks enter the playoffs with a 7-2-1 streak but will have to battle against the team with too much depth for them to handle. Sharks in 5

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

The Columbus Blue Jackets first playoff appearance may be short lived as they face the Wings who haven’t missed the playoffs in almost 20 years. You can’t bet against the team which hails from hockey town as the experience out ways the Jackets’ in almost every category. Steve Mason could be the difference maker for the Jackets but dont expect them to overtake the defending cup holders. Wings in 5

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

The Blues make a return to the playoffs after a four year absence while the Canucks resurrected their season to over take the Calgary Flames for the Northwest title. The battle between the pipes should be key as Chris Mason battles Roberto Loungo who has been stellar in the second half of the season. While the Blues have experience in Keith Tkachuk and Mason the all around package is in favor of Vancouver. Canucks in 6

(4) Calgary Flames vs (5) Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have been riding the back of Nikolai Khabibulin who has had a comeback season of such. Being the uncle for the team of boys look for the young guns to back up the experience in the front. The Flames who let the division fall from their grasp will have something to prove with the likes of Iginla. This series is a toss up lets just say Blackhawks in 7

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