NHL West Round 2 series preview and picks

There was only one upset in the Western Conference’s opening round, but it was a big one. Eighth-seeded Anaheim toppled the top-seeded Sharks in six games, setting up a rematch with Detroit from two years ago.

Here are my picks for Round 2:

Chicago Blackhawks (+120) vs. Vancouver Canucks (-130) 

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Vancouver’s game plan is fairly simple: try to keep the puck in the other end as much as possible and hope Roberto Luongo allows fewer goals than the other guy. Not a bad strategy.

In Round 1 it worked like a charm with four straight wins over the Blues. Those games saw an average of four goals, which didn’t bother under bettors any.

But the Blackhawks should pose a tougher challenge. They have far more fire power than St. Louis and only the Red Wings and Bruins averaged more goals per game in the first round.

Blame it on a lethal power play that scored at a 29 percent clip.

The key for Vancouver will be limiting power plays. The Canucks were the third most penalized team during the regular season and the second most in the playoffs so far in terms of minutes per game.

The other concerns for Vancouver are the injuries to Sami Salo and Mats Sundin. The Canucks will need a full lineup to match up across the board against Chicago - on forward and defense.

The question here is, will home ice and the edge in the crease be enough for Vancouver to squeak out the win?

Pick: Chicago 4-3

Anaheim Ducks (+270) vs. Detroit Red Wings (-300)

Before his team’s series with the Red Wings began, Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock talked about Detroit having “another level” that it could get to when it needed.

The Jackets found that out the hard way after they beat the Wings 8-2 in Hockeytown on March 7 and started feeling pretty good about themselves. Then they met the Wings a week later at home, got drubbed 4-0, and started praying they wouldn’t meet them in the playoffs.

The hockey gods weren’t listening.

The Wings dusted off Columbus in four games and showed why they are the Stanley Cup favorites again this year. Their power play ate the Blue Jackets up at a 31 percent rate and Johan Frazen continues to love the postseason with 20 points in his last 14 games. 

Normally, Detroit would be happy about facing an eight seed in Round 2. But the Ducks aren’t your everyday eight seed. Ryan Getzlaf is currently tied for second in playoff points with eight and they managed to out-match President’s Cup winning San Jose in Round 1.

Jonas Hiller has been a pleasant surprise in nets and he’ll need to be even better in order for the Ducks to pull off their second straight upset. He’ll not only be facing talented Red Wings squad, but also a motivated one.

The last time Detroit met Anaheim in the playoffs was in the 2007 Western Conference finals. The Ducks won in six games and went on to claim the Cup.

Pick: Red Wings 4-1

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Posted by Jon_Campbell
5 years ago

It's actually the Canucks' defense that worried me most heading into this series. Luongo makes up for a lot of their mistakes but Chicago's defense was pitiful last night so this series could get interesting. If both defenses have the kind of lapses we saw in Game 1, then the over is the play in this series. For some reason, Canucks fans can't get enough of the Sedins ragging the puck in the corners. Not my idea of enjoyable hockey to watch, but they are definitely getting their points. I just wouldn't want to put my Stanley Cup hopes on their shoulders.
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Posted by grampah
5 years ago

so little mr campbell knows about the canucks. most easterners will be in bed by the 3rd period of this game. in fact the reason ppl in the east will pick chicago is simply cuz they are in bed already to watch western hockey. the assessment of many to take the hwaks simply put is that they know little about the nucks scoring. they think it is all about luongo. wrong. sedins will dominate this series they are too big to be stopped. gone are the days that the nucks have to rely on luongo. kessler and burrows and many of the grinders can chip in to score too. as many of you know the brawl in a nucks 4-0 domination over the hawks in chicago was all strated by a crcrosscheck to luongo by dustin bufoon or whatever his name is. he and the hawks were frustrated that they could not get much chances as the dmen beat the hawks forwards down all night. i like nucks in 5. i don't see many teams beating van i one of thoughest places to win in all of the nhl
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Posted by JHBuff25
5 years ago

You people are CRACKED!!! Chicago looked good in the first round because they faced the weakest opponent in the playoffs (alright, maybe CBJ was the weakest). Oooooh, you beat the "missing half their regular defensmen" Flames...congratulations? 4-2 Canucks will be the numbers for that series. Nuck transition defense has the Hawks' number. While the Hawks have shooting talent they are still a bunch of kids. Too much youth to make a serious run in the post season. Further, Hitch making excuses in advance is hardly relevant to the Wings potential versus the Quax. Granted,the Wings _should_ beat the Quax like mixed-race stepchildren but that doesn't mean it will happen. Hiller could make the difference if he's on his game. I'm thinking 4-3 Wings is the score in this one.
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Posted by Gulgo
5 years ago

Cannots in 6 Fowl in 7
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Posted by jkirkpleasant
5 years ago

screw that, canucks will sweep!
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Posted by OffDaHook
5 years ago

Hawks will take one in Canada (would love to see them get 2) and then come home to the BEST place to play in the NHL (I will be there for game 3). Vancouver has Luongo and he is on fire right now but I think the Hawks can get to him. All games will be close but Hawks come out on top in the end, I see this series going 6-7 games.
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Posted by macorisano
5 years ago

Warning. In the NHL do not bet the team that have more than 5 days rested before the first game. Today I will pick Chicago.
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Posted by nielson81
5 years ago

Ducks in 6
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Posted by quincyj69
5 years ago

blackhawks are back and are going to bring it to who ever stands in their way!!!!!!!!!
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Posted by FenderPlayer
5 years ago

Canucks in 6 and straight to the finals
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Posted by FenderPlayer
5 years ago

"Canucks in 6 and straight to the finals"

Unknown error.