We will have a new champion of the Western Conference in 2023 as well as new Stanley Cup Champion. The Colorado Avalanche have exited the playoff chat and joined the Jets, Wild and Kings on the golf course. The Vegas Golden Knights were very decisive in their opening round series, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Jack Eichel didn’t let his first playoff appearance overwhelm him and led from the front. The Edmonton Oilers had a hard fought series with the Kings, but McDavid and Draisaitl carried them through to the 2nd round. The Dallas Stars have quietly forged ahead all season with little to no national fanfare. They dispatched the Minnesota Wild in 6 games and now await the second year franchise from Seattle. The Seattle Kraken would have had the biggest First Round upset if it wasn’t for the Bruins series loss to the Panthers.
Hockey Fans get a special playoff treat with the Oilers / Golden Knights matchup. The Top Seed in the Western Conference against the most lethal duo in the NHL. In the other matchup, the Stars get to face the Kraken and have a chance of playing in the Conference Finals. In reviewing the 4 remaining clubs in the Western Conference, it is great for the game that the markets of Dallas, Vegas, and Seattle are HOCKEY markets.
EDMONTON OILERS VS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS:
- JACK EICHEL VS CONNOR McDAVID
- THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS HAVE HAD PLAYOFF SUCCESS IN THEIR BRIEF HISTORY
- VEGAS HAS A VETERAN CLUB LED BY MARK STONE, ALEX PIETRANGELO, REILLY SMITH, PHIL KESSEL AND JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT.
- EDMONTON OILERS TOOK THE SEASON SERIES 3-1 WITH THEIR ONLY LOSS IN OVERTIME.
- LEON DRAISAITL AND CONNOR McDAVID EACH RECORDED 10 PLUS POINTS IN ROUND 1 AS WELL AS EVAN BOUCHARD WHO RACKED UP 10 POINTS, 8 VIA ASSISTS. THE NEXT HIGHEST POINT TOTAL WAS A HANDFUL OF PLAYERS WITH 4….CAN THE OILERS FUND A MORE CONSISTENT OFFENSE.
- EDMONTON OFFENSE FLOWS THROUGH 2 PLAYERS AND IF THEY CAN’T HELP, IT COULD BE DETRIMENTAL.
- WHICH GOALIE CAN PLAY THE BEST? LAURENT BROSSOIT (VEGAS) OR STUART SKINNER (EDMONTON)?
- THE OILERS WILL WIN IF THEY CAN FIND CONSISTENT OFFENSE FROM OUTSIDE OF THE DYNAMIC DUO.
- THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS WILL WIN IF THEY PLAY GREAT DEFENSE AND STAY OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX.
- GAME 1: WEDNESDAY. 9:30PM EST. ESPN
- GAME 2: FRIDAY. TBD
- PREDICTION: EDMONTON IN 7 GAMES
SEATTLE KRAKEN VS DALLAS STARS:
- THE STARS NEED JASON ROBERTSON, TYLER SEGUIN, JOE PAVELSKI, JAMIE BENN, ROOPE HINTZ AND MIRO HEISKANEN MUST KEEP THE PRESSURE ON
- THE AVALANCHE RELEASED THE KRAKEN AND PAID THE PRICE.
- STARS GOALIE JAKE OETTINGER WAS LIGHTS OUT IN ROUND 1 AND HAS BEEN STELLAR ALL YEAR.
- THE KRAKEN GOT PRODUCTION FROM A TON OF PLAYERS IN ROUND 1, HIGHLIGHTED BY YANNI GOURDE (1 G / 5 ASSISTS), JUSTIN SCHULTZ (1 G/ 4 ASSISTS), JADEN SCHWARTZ (2 G / 3 ASSISTS) AND ALEX WENNBERG (1 G / 3 ASSISTS) AMONG OTHERS.
- THE KRAKEN CAN WIN IF THEY ARE PHYSICAL AND DON’T GET STUCK IN THE PENALTY BOX.
- THE STARS CAN WIN IF THEY REMAIN FOCUSED AND DON’T LOOK PAST SEATTLE …..VETERAN TEAM WITH VETERAN MINDSET.
- KRAKEN GOALIE PHILLIP GRUBAUER WAS AMAZING FOR THE AVALANCHE LAST YEAR AND HE HAD THAT MAGIC IN ROUND 1, CAN HE STAND TALL AGAINST DALLAS
- GAME 1: TUESDAY. 9:30PM EST. ESPN
- GAME 2: THURSDAY. 9:30PM EST. TNT
- PREDICTION: DALLAS STARS ADVANCE IN 6 GAMES
We’re assured to have a Wild Wild Western Conference 2nd Round. All 4 of these teams recorded 100 point regular seasons, so anything can happen. Which Western Conference Finals do you want to see…Oilers vs Stars; Oilers vs Kraken; Golden Knights vs Stars or Golden Knights vs Kraken?