Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 Western Conference Playoffs

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

In the final days of the regular season, the seedings at the bottom of the stack got shaken up quite a bit. Unfortunately, it did not shake in the Sharks favor. The President's Trophy winning Sharks will get their biggest division rival and 2007 Stanley Cup champions in the first round. Lucky them. An upset isn't out of the question here, the Ducks have played the Sharks very tight all season, but I think the worst that will happen to San Jose is that they're unable to eliminate the Ducks quickly and will have to endure a long series against a team that loves to play physical. Sharks in 6.

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

The defending champs will start their quest to defend their title against a team that will be making its first ever playoff appearance. The regular season series between the two is 3-3, but again, none of that matters in the playoffs. This Columbus team is very young and inexperienced. Despite the huge disadvantage in goaltending, the Wings should roll over the Jackets in 5 games, 6 if Osgood continues to play poorly.

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

For a while it was looking like it was going to be a goaltending duel between Roberto Luongo and Steve Mason of the Blue Jackets. Instead it'll be Roberto Luongo and CHRIS Mason of the Blues. This watered down version of a good series is still very intriguing though. The Blues have been red hot in the second half and could possibly have Paul Kariya back for Game 1. If you're looking for an upset in the first round, here it is. Blues in 7.

Chicago Blackhawks (4) vs Calgary Flames (5)

This isn't exactly where the Flames envisioned themselves finishing after acquiring Olli Jokinen at the deadline. Nevertheless, they're in the playoffs and are always a pain to eliminate. That's good news for them as they'll play a team that hasn't eliminated anyone from the playoffs since 1996, the Chicago Blackhawks. This young Hawks team has beaten the Flames all four times they played each other this season, but is entering their first post season in seven years, while the Flames have a lot of playoff battle tested players on their roster. Flames in 6.

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