Blues’ Jordan Binnington stops a shot on the goal by the Rangers in March (Frank Franklin II)
Blues’ Jordan Binnington stops a shot on the goal by the Rangers in March (Frank Franklin II)|Associated Press
NHL

NHL West Preview: Jets v Blues, Predators v Stars, Sharks v Golden Knights, Flames v Avalanche


Craig Dietel

Craig Dietel

(Team with home-ice advantage in CAPS)

Blues (-120) over JETS

There hasn’t been a better team (except for Tampa Bay) than the Blues down the home stretch of the regular season. They play hard, fast and are deadly on both ends of the ice. The Jets honestly haven’t been all there recently. Sure they could turn it on in a second’s notice but as of now we think this is going to be the closest thing to an upset in Round 1. Blues in 6.

Player to Watch
G Jordan Binnington has been lights out for the Blues franchise. If anyone can silence the Jets’ powerful offense, it’s this guy. Let’s see if he is up to the test.

PREDATORS (-180) over Stars

The Predators have debatably the best blue line in the league. The Stars just can’t stack up to them in that regard. Sure Dallas have some offensive dynamos but if the Preds can turn it on, their depth up front also outclasses that of the Stars. We think that Nashville takes this one pretty swiftly from Dallas. Preds in 5.

Player to Watch
F Kyle Turris has been quite cold this season compared to his normal point production. In 55 games played he managed to amass just 7 goals and 16 assists for 23 points compared to his 42 points in 65 games last season. As the Press 2C, he needs better offensive output than that. Look for him to find his groove again during the postseason and contribute to the winning culture that Nashville is building.

Golden Knights (-110) over SHARKS

Does anyone remember the Golden Knights of last year? They took the league by storm and decimated the Kings and the Sharks in their wake. Imagine all that plus F Mark Stone at the helm. We’re sorry but the Sharks just won’t be able to keep up here. D Erik Karlsson will be back after his injury but it’s been a while and we don’t think he will be 100% quite yet to help bail them out. D Brent Burns had a career year, but the rest of the team isn’t getting any younger. The Knights are going to outplay and outwork the Sharks. This is our Series Sweep prediction.

Player to Watch
F Max Pacioretty needs to step his game up here. When the going gets tough, Patches usually doesn’t show up to play. We think that’s going to change this postseason. They are going to be relying on him for some crucial points in big moments this series. We think he’s ready to take on the task.

FLAMES (-220) over Avalanche

The Flames were the best in the West this season and their prize is playing against the Avs in the first round. We don’t know about you, but F Nathan Mackinnon is not going to go down without a fight. Not to say the Avalanche will actually win, but they will definitely put up a fight. No matter what happens with them though they get a top 3 draft pick due to Ottawa’s incompetence. Flames in 5.

Player to Watch
F Miko Rantanen
came into his own and made us all believe he is a true superstar in this league. Watch as he continues to pester the entire Flames offense with his offensive prowess and smooth skating ability. He’s gonna light the lamp quite a few times this round.

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