Undoubtedly, I’ll be wrong.
But looking at this year’s Western Conference quarterfinal matchups and considering the shortened season that really did little to slow down the top teams, I just don’t see the potential for any upsets.
Sure, the Los Angeles Kings are the fifth seed. But if they beat the fourth-seeded St. Louis Blues, that will be an upset for the seeding-minded only.
Anyway, in short order here are my Western Conference picks for the first round.
Chicago over Minnesota in 5
Did the Blackhawks starts the season 21-0-3 so they could finish it with a first-round loss? Of course not. Minnesota barely made the postseason and won’t have enough firepower to slow Chicago down.
Anaheim over Detroit in 5
The Red Wings are old and an early exit will push ahead their rebuild that started with the departure of Nicklas Lidstrom last year. The Ducks are deep on the back end and big up front, and they have the experience to play the sandpaper style required of playoff hockey.
Vancouver over San Jose in 6
Cory Schneider’s injury troubles might put up a red flag, but I have to believe that Roberto Luongo could hold down the fort against the Sharks if necessary. This Canucks team is probably deeper and definitely tougher than the 2011 Western Conference title team.
Los Angeles over St. Louis in 5
It’s Jonathan Quick’s time. The playoffs brought out the best in the Kings goaltender and I don’t expect anything less from him. If Los Angeles was healthier on the back end early in the season it probably would’ve given the Ducks a better run in the Pacific Division.