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2011 NHL Playoff Preview – Western Conference

Here are our Western Conference predictions.

No. 1 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks


Vancouver stormed out of the gate and never looked back.  This years President’s Trophy winners have drawn comparisons to last year’s Capitals team but that’s not any reason to look for an early exit for the Canucks. The Blackhawks might come into the playoffs as defending Stanley Cup Champions but they won’t repeat. Even though the Blackhawks core from last year is intact they weren’t able to replace the role players they lost in the offseason. A lack of consistency in net will hurt the Hawks and Vancouver’s offensive talent will overpower Chicago.

Prediction: Vancouver Canucks in four.


Headline Matchup: Vancouver’s Sheer Awesomeness vs. Chicago’s History against Vancouver

If I were a Canucks fan I would be of two minds right now. I would be dreading this series because the Blackhawks have bounced the Canucks from the postseason the last two years. However, I would be excited to finally take it to a team that had terrorized Vancouver for what seems like an eternity. I know President Cup winners have not fared well in the postseason recently (see Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks), but it is hard not to see the Canucks coming out on top. They lead the league in pretty much every offensive category and have two players in the top five for points, left winger Daniel Sedin and his brother center Henrik. They also have goalie Roberto Luongo, who has only been outdone this year by the probable Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas.

Chicago is good but they are missing two key parts from their championship run last year. Those parts are defenseman Dustin Byfuglien who was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers and goalie Antti Niemi who is now a part of the San Jose Sharks. Without those two pieces it is hard to see a world where the Blackhawks succeed.

Ready for a bold pick?

Prediction: Vancouver Canucks in a sweep 4-0.

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