PREVIEW: NHL Western Conference Semi-Finals

I’d like to preface this post with something, I’m really bad at picking hockey series. Among my first round picks, I had the Capitals (check), the Rangers (nope), the Panthers (nope), the Lightning (check), the Stars (check), the Blackhawks (nope), the Ducks (nope), and the Kings (nope). That’s 3-for-8, less than 50%. If I’m grading a student’s work, and this is how well they did, I’d give them the raised eyebrow look of disappointment and suggest they come by after school to clear things up.

Oh, and to top it off, the team I picked to win in six games yesterday got their ass handed to them in game one, at home, 5-3. I asked my buddy Gage, a Tampa Bay fan, to weigh in, and his response: “Bishop (their goalie) forgot how to play hockey.” Ouch. That’s not a good sign.

Any way, off to the West we go.

Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues

Speaking of the above-mentioned bracket, I had Dallas coming out of the west, but that was assuming they’d face the Blackhawks, and the Kings, both of which are not out. The St. Louis Blues are a scary team to face. They are physical and they can score (had 19 goals in seven games). If they come out of the West, and the Capitals manage to represent the East, I will be very scared… but there’s a principle to be upheld, so what does Dallas have going for them? Well, they were the number one seed for a reason. They are really good at putting the puck in the net (21 goals in only six games) and are really quick in transition. Neither of these teams are particularly great on the defensive end, and in a shootout, that favors the quick-paced style of the Dallas Stars. The Blues will leave bruises, but I’m going to stick with my picks, and go DALLAS IN SIX.

San Jose Sharks vs. Nashville Predators

Here’s a matchup I didn’t have in any variation as I filled out my bracket. There were times where I thought about picking the Nashville upset over Anaheim, but never did I think that both they and Los Angeles would be kicked out in the first round… but if the first round has proven anything, it’s that San Jose is really good. They took care of a Western Conference favorite (and if you think I’m bad, Bill Simmons of The Ringer had Los Angeles and Florida in the Stanley Cup…) in five games and seemed to do it with ease. The Sharks are here to play, and though I had them losing in the first round, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out of the West. Nashville started off two games to none, then proceeded to lose three in a row, staved off elimination to force a game seven, and managed to win by one goal to get to this point. I’m not too surprised by the Anaheim upset, and at this point just much more impressed with the Sharks. SAN JOSE IN FIVE.

Fancy Prop Bets

St. Louis and Dallas will combine to score 22 goals in the first three games, with Dallas going up 2-1.

San Jose will force Nashville into a goalie change by the end of game two.

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