The Playoffs Finally Get Underway in the Wild and Wooly NHL Western Conference
The betting sites have known for some time what the matchups will be in the first round of the NHL Western Conference playoffs. Now that the regular season is finally over, it is time to see how some of these postseason matchups play out. The Western Conference has been pretty easy to read all season long. But, as everyone involved with online betting knows, the regular season results mean almost nothing when the playoffs begin.
Detroit Red Wings (7) vs Anaheim Ducks (2)
Just how good are the Anaheim Ducks? When Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach at the beginning of last season, he was thrown into an almost impossible situation. The team was already spiraling downward and there was nothing he could do about it. The extended offseason, thanks to the lockout, had helped Boudreau to analyze his talent and put together a way to get that talent to work together. The other thing that helped Anaheim was the rise of goaltender Viktor Fasth. This Anaheim team is ready to take on any team in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs in each of the last 22 consecutive seasons. That is an impressive feat, but the Red Wings really limped into these playoffs. Despite grabbing the number seven seed, the sportsbook experts do not see Detroit as much of a threat to Anaheim. The Red Wings will win one or two games at home, but the Red Wings do not have the defensive talent or goaltending consistency to take out the Ducks in the first round of the playoffs.
Pick: Anaheim Ducks in Six Games
Vancouver Canucks (3) vs San Jose Sharks (6)
Once again, the Vancouver Canucks have been one of the best teams in the Western Conference during the regular season and, once again, no one is impressed. The Canucks built their season around a shaky goaltending tandem and finesse goal scoring. The Canucks know that finesse and shaky goaltending do not win in the playoffs because those are the two reasons Vancouver has been eliminated from the playoffs without a Stanley Cup for the past few seasons. No matter which goalie Vancouver puts in net, the results will be the same.
No goalie in the NHL played more minutes during the shortened 2013 regular season than Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks. No goaltender won more games during the regular season than Niemi either. But, despite his regular season heroics, Niemi is a playoff goalie and he looks very ready to take on all teams in these playoffs. The team in front of him is a hard-edged team that gets into the corners and takes the puck away from the opponent. The San Jose Sharks are the exact kind of opponent that the Vancouver Canucks do not want to play in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Pick: San Jose Sharks in Six Games
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