Part 2: Western Conference 1st round
Moving to the other side of the NHL we have the Western Conference Quarterfinals. To start things off we have the Pacific Division Champion (P1) Vegas Golden Knights taking on the (WC2) Winnipeg Jets in a rematch of the 2018 Western Conference finals. This Series would go six games and would be a strong back and forth focusing on goaltending as Marc Andre Fleury and Connor Hellebuyck would take center stage in this series and would try to outduel each other during every game. But in the end? It would be the Vegas Golden Knights moving on. With Vegas showing how they have gotten better since losing in the first round to the San Jose Sharks last season, they would be poised to get out of the first round this year and are one of the heavy favorites to win it all. Winnipeg has struggled this season and that would carry on into the playoffs as they wouldn’t be able to overcome Vegas in a long series, giving Vegas the chance to move on to the second round.
The Second matchup from the Pacific division would be the anticipated battle of Alberta with (P2) The Edmonton Oilers taking on the (P3) Calgary Flames. To call this series a war would be an understatement. This would be the first time these two teams would play one another in the playoffs since the 1991 postseason. To say these teams want to get their hands on one another is also an understatement. This would have been the best series of the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, as both teams had very physical altercations before the season was paused. This would be the spark to ignite a great series. In then end the Oilers would come out with a game seven overtime winner to send them to the second round to play Vegas.
For the Central Division, the defending Stanley Cup Champions (C1) St. Louis Blues they would have taken on the (WC2) Nashville Predators. This series does not have as much hype as the other two series coming from the Pacific. But after five games? The champs will be defending their title into the second round as the Blues move on to the Western Conference Semifinals. The Blues would have had an advantage against the Predators. They are the stronger team in all aspects of the game. It also helps that the champs have not looked like they have missed a step from defeating the Bruins in game seven back in 2019. They haven’t missed a beat and should be firing on all cylinders against the preds who have been flat since the all-star break and would just fall flat against a better team in the Blues.
Finally, the last matchup in the Western Conference Quarterfinal (C2) the Colorado Avalanche take on the (C3) Dallas Stars. This matchup Is in my opinion the weakest in the Western Conference first-round, and would go six games with Colorado coming out to play the Blues in the second round. Colorado has become a very strong team, especially after the 2016 season which most Colorado fans have tried to forget about. But they have flourished with youth and speed and would outplay the Stars at every end of the ice. The Stars are an older team and would need to play extremely well to beat Colorado.
The second-round matchups have been set with The Colorado Avalanche taking on the Defending St. Louis Blues and the Vegas Golden Knights hosting the Edmonton Oilers. Stay tuned for the second round coming out next week.