Starting tonight, the NHL drops the puck for the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2011-2012 playoffs. Here’s the break down of the two games (four teams) battling it out to go on to the Conference Finals.
Up first is the preview and prediction for the Western Conference First Round:
In the last round, I predicted both the LA Kings and the St. Louis Blues would win against the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, respectively. I got the games wrong for the Kings match up, I thought there was going to be 6 games, but the series ended in 5. Either way, so many people celebrated the fact that the Kings won. The Blues, unsurprisingly, defeated the Sharks, much to my excitement.
While this series is not in the biggest hockey markets, this will be a chance to see “true”, hard hitting playoff hockey. These games won’t finish with the total goal count at 18, nor will these games have attention grabbing drama (they aren’t rivals) but these games will have grinding players, solid goaltending and a desire to win the Stanley Cup for the first time. Both teams struggle to get the puck in the net, adding on the brick walls that tend their nets, the scoring will become even more sparse. Don’t be surprised if these games frequently go to OT with a 0-0 or 1-1 score.
Cait Factor: Kings
Prediction: Kings in 6
In the last round, I picked Nashville Predators to win in 6 games, when in fact they managed to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games. Sadly, I was incorrect about the Chicago Blackhawks winning against the Phoenix Coyotes in 7 games, Coyotes won out in 6 games.
Once again, neither city is a big hockey market, however those who are hockey fans are die heart, devoted members of some of the strongest communities in the NHL. And once again, the series will come down to their goaltending and ability to get the goals in as quickly as possible. Coyotes won’t have such an easy time this round, the Predators are stacked when it comes to goaltending unlike the the Blackhawks. Predators will have to remember the Coyotes are much younger than the Red Wings, so they will have speed and their recovery time will be much faster.
Cait Factor: Predators
Prediction: Predators, only because Shea Weber’s beard will face smash you if you don’t pick them
Second round of the playoffs start when the puck drops at 7pm MST tonight for the Predators v Coyotes game.