We’re back and we’ve got some more predictions! We’re shifting gears and heading out to the Western Conference to look at those Qualifying Round matchups. Most of us don’t see any of these teams a whole lot in a given year, being Flyers fans, but that won’t stop us from having a whole lot of opinions, that’s for sure! It’s prediction time, let’s go.
Stats below are at 5-on-5 and via Natural Stat Trick.
No. 5 Oilers: 37-25-9. 47.32 GF%. 47.87 CF%
No 12 Blackhawks: 32-30-8. 50 GF%. 48.45 CF%
Drew: In my sims that I did of the qualifying rounds, the Blackhawks won this series and that pained me greatly. However, I don’t think that will be the case in our very real, tangible hockey universe. The Blackhawks are easily the weakest team in the bubble and Edmonton should hopefully tear them apart. Hat-tricks galore for McDavid and Draisaitl. Oilers in four games.
Brad: This should be a really entertaining series; neither team can play defense. I give the edge to the Oilers though, because a top-four of Keith, Boqvist, de Haan, and Murphy just will not be able to handle McDavid in the slightest. Oilers in four.
Maddie: Yeah, that’s the big thing for me, I really don’t think Chicago’s defense is going to be able to contain McDavid and Draisaitl, and I think it has the potential to get really ugly. Oilers is four is what my heart says but I’m gonna spice things up and say Oilers sweep the Blackhawks. Sure.
Mike: There’s a fear here the the mettle of the former Stanley Cup champion Chicago club will deny the world more chances to witness McDavid’s greatness. The good news is that the Oilers should still have enough offense to overcome their own defensive struggles in order to push through to the playoffs. Oilers in four.
Ryan G.: Connor McDavid scored two goals in an exhibition match while playing at half speed. The Oilers certainly aren’t deep and struggle on defense as Brad and Mike pointed out, but the Blackhawks aren’t that great. Oilers in four.
Steph: The Blackhawks are a really bad team and have no business in the playoffs. I said on BSH Radio the other day that I am convinced the qualifying round is 20 teams just to include the Blackhawks and I stand by that. The Oilers aren’t a deep team top to bottom, but they have two of the best skaters in the league in McDavid and Draisaitl. My pick is Edmonton in three, I think it will be a sweep.
Kurt: McDavid and Draisaitl are going to play like 50 minutes a night between them in these playoffs and boy that is not a good sign for a Chicago team with (/glimpses at lineup card) whatever the hell that is on defense. Edmonton in three.
Craig: I think both teams are pretty flawed but the Blackhawks play literally no defense so I’m going with the Oilers.
Ryan Q.: For no reason other than my hatred for the Blackhawks, I’m taking the Oilers. Also, Edmonton has Connor McDavid so...
Kelly: Edmonton in 3, McD gets 25 points. Because the Blackhawks suuuuuck.
No. 6 Predators: 35-26-8. 52.96 GF%. 50.95 CF%
No. 11 Coyotes: 33-29-8. 50.20 GF%. 48.37 CF%
Drew: I think this is going to be a closer series than one may think, but in the end, I have to give it to the Predators, if only for the strength of their blue line. They have a likely Norris winner in Roman Josi and though their top end forwards may not be as good as Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene can match up decently against them. Predators in five.
Brad: Who do the Predators start in goal? And if it’s Rinne, which version are they getting? If he starts, he makes or breaks this series for them. I do believe that they have the better roster overall, so I’m going to go with the Preds in five.
Mike: I’m with Brad, top to bottom the Predators just have the the better roster and should be able to win what I think will be a pretty close series. If there’s a 6/11 upset to be had in this qualifier, I’d lean towards it being this one. That said, Predators in five.
Ryan G.: The Predators got better later in the season under a new coach, and if they can find their hot goalie, they could surprise some people in the Western Conference. With everything going on with the Coyotes, the Predators have a chance to take this one in four games.
Steph: I am so sick of Nashville, I know that’s the unpopular opinion but I’m sick of them. Arizona is a mess but they were having a good season before the pause, so I’m going to pick them in four knowing that it is not likely to happen.
Kurt: Remember when the Flyers fired their GM and there was a bunch of drama and then they had like a week where they played well? Anywho, Coyotes in five. Let’s get weird.
Craig: I want the Taylor Hall’s Teams Always Win The Draft Lottery narrative to stay alive so I’m going with the Preds.
Maddie: Craig brings up an excellent point here. Also I just don’t even trust the Coyotes a little bit. Predators in four.
Ryan Q.: I want the Coyotes to win so badly. After years of them being so bad, I’ve kind of developed a soft spot for them. Unfortunately, I’m going to take the Preds here. I just think they’re the better team from top to bottom. Would be cool if I end up being wrong, though.
Kelly: I know I’m supposed to believe that the Coyotes are good now, but my brain simply won’t accept this. Plus the org is a goddamned mess. Have fun with Pete Chiarelli you nerds; Perds in four.
No. 7 Canucks: 36-27-6. 49.48 GF%. 48.43 CF%
No. 10 Wild: 35-27-7. 52.70 GF%. 49.60 CF%
Drew: I like the Canucks a lot, but this series has upset written all over it. I couldn’t tell you why, but I just have a feeling like it’s not the Canucks’ year. Kevin Fiala was also red hot before the pause, and he’s looked like a great acquisition for the Wild. Minnesota wins in five.
Mike: This one is a toss-up in my mind, and I think it comes down to whichever team gets more saves in net —and the edge there is with Devan Dubnyk for the Wild. That being said, I wouldn’t be betting any of my money on this series. Wild in five?
Ryan G.: There was very little separating these teams in the regular season standings, and I see this series going five games. I give a slight edge to the Canucks due to their offensive firepower, but this series will be a Wild five games.
Steph: I like Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, and Elias Pettersson, picking Canucks in five.
Maddie: These are all excellent points. Going to have to agree here. I also don’t really trust the Wild, and while the Canucks haven’t been super consistent this season, I think they’ll win out. Canucks in five.
Kurt: Imagine having a single opinion about this series. Like, any single one. I’m going to flip a coin and roll a dice to pick this. Heads for Canucks, tails for Wild. (/flips) Tails. Wild it is. In ... (/rolls dice until he gets a number between three and five) ... four. Cool. I can live with that.
Craig: Not to contradict Kurt but my opinion on this series is the Wild are boring and the Canucks are inconsistent. I think Minnesota was playing pretty well before the break and Fiala was producing at an insane rate. I don’t know if it’ll carry over but I think the Wild edge out a series win.
Ryan Q.: After watching every single game the Wild played this season, I feel fairly confident that their goaltending is going to let them down once again. The Canucks have too much firepower for the Wild to endure. Canucks in four.
Brad: I’m with Quigs here, I don’t trust either of Minnesota’s goaltenders. Canucks in five.
Kelly: The Wild are so boring. Brad is correct, ‘Nucks in five.
No. 8 Flames: 36-27-7. 47.67 GF%. 50.25 CF%
No. 9 Jets: 37-28-6. 49.29 GF%. 48.55 CF%
Drew: The Jets have a train-wreck situation on their blue line, and while Calgary aren’t a fantastic team themselves (see Milan Lucic here), they have some decent defensemen. However, the main difference maker in this series is going to be Connor Hellebuyck. He could very well be your Vezina trophy winner and if he plays like a Vezina trophy winner in this series, the Jets will win it. Fortunately for them, I think he will. Jets in four.
Brad: Here we have a team I have no trust in, versus a team that I’m convinced is bad but has the best goaltender in the league at the moment. So, uh, I guess ... Jets in five? Sure.
Maddie: I’m considering this a personal betrayal. I’m going to take the Flames in this one, because I’m contractually obligated, but also because I’m just not totally sure I trust the Jets. Goaltending is going to be sort of the X factor, I think, but I still do like the Flames just a bit more. Flames in five.
Mike: Two teams sort of at a crossroads in terms of their core players, should be an interesting play-in series and to see just what happens with the loser of this one. Hellebuyck is miles ahead of whatever the Flames can trot out and he’ll be needed badly to clean up the mess his defenders leave but he was up to the challenge in a Vezina worthy regular season. Think he’s the difference in a series that goes the distance, Jets in five.
Ryan. G: This has the potential to be one of the most fun play-in series, or it could end up in a sweep either way. The Flames didn’t look great in their exhibition game, and who starts in goal for them? On the other side, the Jets have a Vezina Trophy finalist, but not much else. Let’s say Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames pull it out in five games.
Kurt: Man. I believed hard in the Flames coming in to this year and they are just not it. I will not reward that betrayal of my confidence. Jets, even though they’re mostly bad outside of their goalie, in five.
Craig: I don’t trust a lot about this Jets’ team, but I think Connor Hellebuyck has played so well this season he could take Winnipeg further than they should go. In a series that’s shorter than usual against a team who doesn’t really have an answer in net I’m taking Winnipeg.
Steph: I really don’t care about either one of these teams, I don’t expect either of them to go far. If I had to pick, which I do, Winnipeg in five.
Ryan Q.: I’m so tired of the Flames. Every year I think they have a chance to be legitimate contenders and they never are. The Jets have some really good young talent and an incredible goalie, so give me Winnipeg in four.
Kelly: I want the Flames to win this one, because I think they’re fun when everything is clicking for them, and the Jets are like... god who cares. But as the others have said, Hellebuyck can absolutely steal this series against a team not playing very well, and I think he’s gonna. Jets in four.