NHL Picks: Western Conference Playoff Preview

PJ Laferla

Monday, April 29, 2013 2:29 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 29, 2013 2:29 PM GMT

We are just a couple of days away from the start of the NHL playoffs, and while the Western Conference matchups have been set, things are still unsettled in the East.

NHL Western Conference Playoff Preview

Let’s take a look at each first round series matchup in the Western Conference and how we might beat the NHL odds.

Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs. Minnesota Wild (8)

The Blackhawks and Wild clashed on the ice three times during the regular season, with Chicago going 2-0-1 in the trio of games.

Chicago was dominant throughout the regular season and owned the best defense in the league, as they surrendered an average of just 2.1 goals per game. On offense they scored 3.2 goals per night, which was good enough for 2nd best in the NHL.

Meanwhile, Minnesota squeaked into the playoffs and should be no match versus a much more superior Blackhawks team.

The last time these two adversaries met in the postseason was back in 1991 when Minnesota was still known as the North Stars.

Prediction: Blackhawks in 4 (Series Sweep) for your NHL picks.

[gameodds]7/228262/43-349/us[/gameodds]

Anaheim Ducks (2) vs. Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings won the season series 2-1, but the Ducks have been the better team throughout the regular season.

Anaheim has the edge over Detroit on offense, but the defenses seem to be comparable, as the averages for both teams allowing goals is 2.5 and 2.4 per game respectively.

The Red Wings clinched the 7th spot in the West by winning their final four games of the regular season; and as a result secured a playoff berth for the 22nd consecutive season.

Prediction: Ducks in 6

[gameodds]7/228264/43-349/us[/gameodds]

Vancouver Canucks (3) vs. San Jose Sharks (6)

The Sharks actually swept the Canucks during the regular season 3-0, but they might not be as fortunate in the postseason when it really matters most.

Both teams enter the playoffs having lost their final two games of the regular season, but it will be more of a challenge for San Jose to get back in the win column.

San Jose will begin this series on the road where they won just 8 times all season. Vancouver was 15-9 on their home ice this year.

Prediction: Vancouver in 6

[gameodds]7/228267/43-349/us[/gameodds]

St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Los Angeles Kings (5)

The Kings begin their title defense as the fifth seed when they challenge the Blues in the opening round of the playoffs. They won all three regular season games against St. Louis this season.

However, Los Angeles might have a tough time advancing in the playoffs, as they begin on the road where they won just 8 times all season.

St. Louis was 15-9 at home this year and enter the postseason with the momentum - having won 7 of their last 10 regular season games.

If the Kings can win at least one of the first two games in St. Louis this will become the most competitive matchup in the first round.

Prediction: Kings in 7 at Bet365

[gameodds]7/228263/43-349/us[/gameodds]

Also check out my Eastern Conference Preview!~

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