NHL Play-Off Picture


Jack Duke, Staff Writer

The NHL Playoffs are here and in this article, we will go over each team competing for the cup in the Western Conference and make predictions for each series.


The Playoff Bracket and schedule will be linked here.


If you look at the standings in the East and West, you’ll notice something that stands out: the Eastern Conference was far and away the better conference this season from a standings view. The West is still loaded with elite talent all over and the conference is wide open for anybody to take it, so let’s get into it.


Vegas Golden Knights vs Winnipeg Jets

After a one-year hiatus, the Vegas Golden Knights are back in the playoffs. They shocked the hockey world by making it to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season back in 2017-18, and although they lost that final, the playoffs have been the standard in the desert. This team is a complete team with depth throughout and goalies who are all extremely capable of shutting down an opposing team’s offense night in and night out.


The Winnipeg Jets went all in just to make it to this point. They clinched the last wild card spot in game 81 of 82 in the season. Nonetheless, they are here and they offer some potential to steal games in a series to make this opening round intriguing. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck has been outstanding all year long, and he can come in every single night and give opposing offenses a headache. This team had to grind out the final days of the season just to get here, and now they could pull off a major upset.


Prediction: Golden Knights in 5

Hellebuyck can come in and steal a game or two, but Vegas is a deep team with tons of playoff experience and they’re the first seed for a reason. With that being said, Vegas is the pick and they could take care of business pretty quickly.


Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

When you think of a team that is on fire, the Oilers come to mind almost instantly. Their offense, led by captain Connor McDavid, has been explosive all season long and it’s easy to see why. McDavid recorded a league leading 153 points, which only five other players in NHL history have done. Leon Draisaitl is another player who produces every single game and he’s yet another reason why the Oilers are so dangerous. The defense and goaltending can be sloppy at times, so the offense will need to produce to make up for that. Good news is, they are extremely capable of doing just that.


The Kings ended the season on a low note, but nonetheless, they are in the playoffs. This team is a slower paced, less explosive offense that really leans on its veterans, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, to perform well. If Kopitar and Doughty play like they’re expected to, they could shock some people in these playoffs. If any team can cause headaches night in and night out, it’s the Kings with their top three power play in the league and a defense that’s built to slow down these explosive teams.

Prediction: Oilers in 5

In a rematch from last year, the Oilers will get the same result in advancing past their divisional opponent. The Kings could definitely steal some games and even steal the series from the Oilers, but it’s incredibly hard to doubt Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl.


Colorado Avalanche vs Seattle Kraken

The Avalanche got hit with the Stanley Cup hangover earlier in the season, and it took a pretty big turnaround to get where they are now: Central Division champions. With a high powered offense, led by Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar, this team is a threat to score four or five goals a game every single night. It’s worth mentioning that they could potentially be without captain Gabriel Landeskog, but he hasn’t been ruled out…yet. The defending champs will be looking to continue their playoff dominance and make another deep run.


The NHL’s youngest franchise, the Kraken caught some eyes this season as they bring an underdog story into the playoffs that makes it easy to root for them. This team is built throughout, but when playoff time comes around, goaltending matters and that’s the one thing that could anchor this squad down from completing the upset. The Kraken have the ability to make this series exciting and could steal some games because of their offense.


Prediction: Avalanche in 6

The Avalanche are the defending champs, and until they show otherwise, it’s tough to doubt them now. The Kraken will be able to make this series exciting, but it’s hard to imagine the defending champs not advancing.


Dallas Stars vs Minnesota Wild

If you remember anything from last year’s playoffs, Jake Oettinger was the best goalie in the playoffs and it wasn’t necessarily close either. The Stars are a team built for playoff hockey, with a two-way game and veterans who have been here before and know what it takes. They’re a deep team that will make it difficult for teams to keep up with in a full series and they had some of the best special teams units in the league this past season. If Oettinger performs even close to what he did last year, they’re a sneaky team to look out for in these playoffs.


The Wild make things interesting in this series. Filip Gustavsson was debatably the best goalie in the league this season, as he was able to get in opponents heads every game. Put a strong defense in front of an incredible goaltender and you will find it incredibly hard to put the puck in the back of the net. As good as the Wild are on the back end, their offense wasn’t on par, as they finished in the bottom ten for goals per game average. The Wild will look to Kirill Kaprizov to provide the firepower, as he’s one of the most dynamic forwards in the game. If Kaprizov and the top lines are producing for the Wild, and that’s a big if, this team could make some noise.


Prediction: Stars in 6

This series between Central Division foes could be really interesting, but ultimately it will come down to the playmakers and people who can alter a game, and the Stars are simply just the better built team. The Wild could make things tough at times, but the Stars should be able to get it done.


Stanley Cup Playoff Odds

Avalanche +650

Oilers +800

Golden Knights +1400

Stars +1500

Kings +2200

Wild +2200

Jets +3500

Kraken +4000

*odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook