As The West Waits: Western Conference Round 2 Predictions

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

As the Western conference waits for the Eastern Conference games seven to finish, they know what their schedule is, but they get one more night off before hitting the ice for round two. 

 
Game seven for the New York Rangers/Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers/New Jersey Devils are staggered tonight will finish the slate of schedules for the first round.  A Panthers and Senators win leaves the Philadelphia Flyers as the only team remaining in the playoff pool that has ever won the Stanley Cup before.  (Note – the Ottawa Senators last won the Stanley Cup in 1927, but under a different franchise, the new Ottawa Senators come from a different lineage.)
 
Here are my hopefuls for the second round of the Western Conference Finals. 

2012 Western Conference SemiFinals

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

Saturday April 8, 2012 LAK @ STL

Monday April 30, 2012 LAK @ STL

Thursday May 3, 2012 STL @ LAK

Sunday May 6, 2012 STL @ LAK

TBD* LAK @ STL

TBD* STL @ LAK

TBD* LAK @ STL

Personal preference here is for the St. Louis Blues, my defacto favorite team in the Western Conference.  The biggest x factor in this series is going to be goaltending.  While Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot have made a great pair for the Blues this season, they may be meeting their match in Jonathan Quick.  One of the Vezina finalists this year for his performance in the regular season, Quick was instrumental in helping keep the Vancouver Canucks at bay and dumping the Western Conference favorites in the first round.  With Quick in net, I feel that the Kings have the advantage in this series, but Halak and Elliot are no strangers to success.  Look for LA to win this series in six games. 

#3 Phoenix vs. #4 Nashville

Friday April 27, 2012 NSH @ PHX

Sunday April 29, 2012 NSH @ PHX

Wednesday May 2, 2012 PHX @ NSH

Friday May 4, 2012 PHX @ NSH

TBD* NSH @ PHX

TBD* PHX @ NSH

TBD* NSH @ PHX

Personal preference here is the Nashville Predators, and that is who is going to win this series.  Nashville just has all the cards in their favor and should easily take this series.  This will be the fastest series to wrapup in the second round, both conferences considered, and has the best possibility of a sweep.  A definite stick tap goes out the Desert Dogs for continue to win and be a presence in the Western Conference despite the off ice drama of the threesome between the city of Glendale, the NHL, and the organization – but this playoff round could be the last time the people of Arizona have an NHL caliber hockey team.  Look for the Preds to wrap this series up in five. 

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