Angelo Montilla |  Wed 11/04/2018 - 14:31 EDT

NHL Western Conference Playoff Predictions for 2018

NHL Western Conference Playoff Predictions for 2018
The Nashville Predators will be the team to beat in the West as the Presidents’ Trophy winners open the post-season against the Colorado Avalanche. A year following a heartbreaking loss in the Stanley Cup Final, look for the Preds to make an early impact as the franchise looks to get back to the championship for a second straight season. It won’t be easy in a Western Conference that boasts powerhouse clubs such as the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Knights.

Odds are courtesy of William Hill.

Nashville Predators (-450) vs. Colorado Avalanche (+333)

The pain of losing in the Stanley Cup Final a year ago still lingers for the Nashville Predators. The Western Conference’s No. 1 team will begin its quest to make it back to the final as the Preds open their first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche. Nashville had the best record in the National Hockey League at 53-18-11, which why is comes as no surprise the Cup favourites enter its first-round tilt as convincing -450 frontrunners to defeat the Avs. The Predators owned the season series, winning all four of their meetings against Colorado. Since Jan. 1, there has not been a hotter team than Preds, who posted a remarkable 29-8-6 record during that stretch. With one of the best defensive teams in the entire league and Vezina candidate Pekka Rinne between the pipes, it’ll be incredibly difficult for Colorado to generate offence in this series, which will likely end quickly.

Pick: Nashville Predators in 5 Games (-450)

First 4 Games
April 12 @ Nashville, 9:30 p.m. (Sportsnet, NBCSN)
April 14 @ Nashville, 3 p.m. (NBC, Sportsnet West)
April 16 @ Colorado, 10 p.m. (Sportsnet, NBCSN)
April 18 @ Colorado, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)

Vegas Golden Knights (-138) vs. Los Angeles Kings (+110)

Will you be hopping on the Vegas Golden Knights bandwagon in these playoffs? The club has had the best season for an expansion team, but can the Knights keep that success going in the first round against the proven Los Angeles Kings? Vegas shockingly topped the Pacific Division with a 51-24-7 record this season and the club has earned home-ice advantage in the opening round. The Knights are -138 favourites to defeat the Kings in the opening round, despite having less experience than the 2012 and 2014 Cup champions. The Kings come in as super enticing +110 underdogs and expect that line to move drastically as money comes pouring in on Los Angeles. The head-to-head battle during the regular season was split down the middle with each team taking 2 wins apiece. Look for the Kings’ experience to come through in the end.

Pick: Los Angeles Kings in 6 Games (+110)

First 4 Games
April 11 @ Vegas, 10 p.m. (CBC)
April 13 @ Vegas, 10 p.m. (CBC)
April 15 @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (CBC)
April 17 @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (CBC)

Winnipeg Jets (-200) vs. Minnesota Wild (+160)

The Winnipeg Jets are for real. Following a 52-win campaign, the Jets are legitimate contenders to win a Stanley Cup — just 7 years after relocating to the city from Atlanta. The Jets have built a championship-calibre team that features Finnish sniper Patrik Laine. The Jets collected 114 points but still finished 2nd in the Central behind the Predators. Drawing the Minnesota Wild in the first round, the Jets enter the highly anticipated series as -200 favourites. The Jets had a Western Conference-best +59 goal differential netting 277 tallies while only allowing 218 in 82 games. The majority of Minnesota’s success came at home where the team boasted a record of 27-6-8. However, the Wild struggled on the road with a 18-20-3 record for the season. With the Jets holding on to home-ice advantage in this series, that won’t bode well for the Wild.

Pick: Winnipeg Jets in 6 Games (-200)

First 4 Games
April 11 @ Winnipeg, 7 p.m. (Sportsnet)
April 13 @ Winnipeg, 7:30 p.m. (Sportsnet)
April 15 @ Minnesota, 7 p.m. (Sportsnet)
April 17 @ Minnesota, 8 p.m. (Sportsnet)

Anaheim Ducks (-138) vs. San Jose Sharks (+110)

A pair of California foes will do battle in the first round of the NHL playoffs as the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks face off, beginning Thursday, April 12. If you’re looking for an early sleeper in the Western Conference, then the Sharks are your team. The Ducks finished second in the Pacific with a 44-25-13 record, but the club capped the season just a single point ahead of the Sharks, who enter this highly anticipated series as intriguing +110 underdogs. Bettors will continue to refer to the regular-season series, where the Sharks won 3 of the 4 meetings against the Ducks. Anaheim will likely be without starting goalie John Gibson for the early going of this series. Gibson suffered an upper-body injury but has skated and is expected to make a return in Game 2 or 3. The offensively gifted Sharks will take this series to the distance and prevail in the end.

Pick: San Jose Sharks in 7 Games (+110)

First 4 Games
April 12 @ Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. (Sportsnet 360)
April 14 @ Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. (Sportsnet 360)
April 16 @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m. (Sportsnet One)
April 18 @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m. (Sportsnet One)

Category : Sports News

Tag : hockey , NHL , nhl playoffs , stanley cup playoffs

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