The West has been won, as we know all the match-ups for the first round, also known as the Quarterfinals. It seems like a clear cut chances for the teams and no divisional rivals will be playing each other in the first round, which will create for some less hostility than it would have been if divisional rivals met. I'll just give a little synopsis of the series and give a prediction for each-- your results may vary.
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs (8) Edmonton Oilers: Detroit wins in five games
The Red Wings are having a record season and it's all thanks to the emergences of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Oldies like Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman aren't doing too shabby either. The Oilers don't have the horses they thought they would have. Though they have Chris Pronger on the blue line, the forwards haven't been as good as many thought. Dwayne Roloson's subpar performance since getting traded doesn't give the Oilers much hope in gettng far in this series at all.
(2) Dallas Stars vs (7) Colorado Avalanche: Dallas wins in six games
The Stars have quietly jumped up into the top of the West on the back of Marty Turco's great play. Also, Mike Modano has been bouncing back after his very subpar season in '03-'04. Jere Lehtinen has had the quietest 30-goal season on record, while Brendan Morrow continues to become the quintessential role player. The Avs haven't gotten all they could out of Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk, but the big problem is in net. They were doing fine with David Aebischer and Peter Budaj, but Jose Theodore has yet to impress while being in an Avs uniform. That will be the key factor in this series.
(3) Calgary Flames vs (6) Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Calgary wins in six games
Though the Ducks have been surging on the play of Teemu Selanne and J-S Giguere, the fact of the matter is they don't have enough horses to carry the load. The Flames have been playing playoff hockey all season and have the best goalie in the NHL, Miikka Kiprusoff, on their team. With their defensive game plan and ability to get the best out of everyone, they will be doing their damnedest trying to get back to the Cup finals and win the Cup this time.
(4) Nashville Predators vs (5) San Jose Sharks: San Jose wins in six games
The Predators have a good team and really showed they could be an elite team. That said, with Chris Mason in net instead of Tomas Vokoun, I don't know how much of a shot I give them. There's only so much scoring that Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya can do to match Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo's output. Plus, Vesa Toskala has been a work horse and shows he could be a starting goalie in this league. Granted, that will get the ire of Evgeni Nabokov, but you have work hard to get the best spots-- something Nabokov hasn't done consistantly enough.
That's the way I see the West. If you have any qualms about it, give us a shout at the Show and we'll see what you have to say. The Eastern Conference match-ups will become reality tonight, so tomorrow, I'll have a tad breakdown about those series and what could happen there.