NHL Western Conference: Who Are The New Contenders?
Western Title Up For Grabs Without Clear Cut Chalk
It’ll be a riot-free spring in Vancouver, while sports fans in Motown can switch there attention to the MLB Tigers and NFL Lions. With the Canucks and Red Wings both getting bounced in the first round of the 2012 NHL playoffs, there really isn’t a clear cut favorite in the Western Conference. Is this a changing of the guard or a fluke? Count on the Red Wings and Canucks both being back in the playoff hunt next season.
Goaltending has got to be the story in the New Wild West as Mike Smith, Jonathan Quick, Pekka Rinne, and Brian Elliot have stolen the show. During the first round of the playoffs, there were 149 goals scored in the four Eastern Conference series (5.5 PG), compared to just 93 (4.4 PG) in the West. As such, we are left without any semblance of clear cut chalk in the Western Conference semifinals.
Semifinal NHL Western Conference Thoughts and Predictions
Second round playoff action for the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, and to a slightly lesser degree, the Nashville Predators, is very unfamiliar territory. Nashville has been an up and coming club as the Predatorss have advanced to second round in back-to-back seasons now.
We love the solid goaltending in Los Angeles as well as how the Kings have have bought into the team defense first mentality being preached by new head coach Darryl Sutter. Heck even the Kings superstars are playing solid on the back end – while the goals they get are just enough to win.
While the Blues and the Coyotes have been great stories this season, (we love how crazy their fan bases are each night), we like like the Kings to top the Predators in the 2012 NHL Western Conference Final.
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