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Bubble Hockey Predictions: Western Conference Round One

After defeating the Minnesota Wild in 4 games the Canucks are set to take on the St Louis Blues. Prediction time!

NHL: Western Conference Qualifications-Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild
The Vancouver Canucks defensemen Chris Tanev (8) celebrates after scoring the series winning goal against the Minnesota Wild in over time during the Western Conference qualifications at Rogers Place.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? You can forgive Canucks fans for being a little bit excited. 5 years without playoff hockey (and even longer since they’d won a series) was an acceptable reason to be a little excited.

So now they face a much steeper hill to climb as they have to knock off the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the First Round. No big deal, right? Before we get to the predictions from the NM staff, let’s look back at the first round and how everyone did.

Two things jump out at me about this list. First, I TOLD YOU MONTREAL WAS GONNA DO THE THING AND YOU DIDN’T LISTEN! Ahem. Second? Jimmi likes to make you think he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but this shows that’s clearly bullshit. Thus the bar of expectations shall be raised on you, ya sneaky bastard.

Alright, same deal as before: Western Series and Eastern Series. Who do ya like?

NHL: Western Conference Qualifications-Vegas at Colorado Avalanche
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) makes a save during warmup against the Colorado Avalanche during the Western Conference qualifications at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Golden Knights vs. #8 Blackhawks

Westy - Chicago should have lost to Edmonton to try and get the #1 overall, instead they will get hammered by Vegas. Vegas in 5.

Bailey - The Hawks will make this one interesting, but the Knights just have the depth that the Oilers were lacking in the qualifying round. Knights in 6

jimmi - The Flight of the Fawks was fun. But, it was a short haul flight. The Stolen Knights have more speed, depth and annoying persistence. And to prove that luck makes my BS 58% stronger... Fawks in 7 Black Nites in 5. (Updated with new BS data)

Rob - Vegas is golden. G-Knights in 5.

Beggsy - Will Chicago be able to pick apart their former goaltender in Robin Lehner? Perhaps, but I can’t see their shaky defence holding up against the best team in the West. Vegas in 7.

Kent- This is Vegas’ 3rd season, and 3rd straight playoff appearance. Forget what happened last year against San Jose, I think this is a team that’s overdue for some of the kind of the misery the rest of us have had to deal with. Hawks in 7 (Gross).

Markus - I’m surprised by how generous people are being to the Hawks here. I don’t think this will be close. I’ve been wrong before, but the Knights are just better in every way. Vegas in 5.

#2 Avalanche vs. #7 Coyotes

Westy - This is the series I will watch along with the Canucks one. The fast-paced Avs vs the trap Coyotes. The Yotes will make it interesting. Avs in 6

Bailey - Darcy Kuemper will steal a few games and frustrate the Avs throughout the series, but Colorado just has way too much up front for Arizona to contain in 4 out of 7 games. Avs in 6

jimmi - If the desert dogs want to play playoff hockey, they can buy NHL ‘19 like the rest of us. The Avs in 6, unless they get locked-down in a hotel with a bad view.

Rob - MacKinnon runs crazy. Avs in 5.

Beggsy - The Coyotes got outplayed badly by Nashville, but still won in four. Their luck runs out against Colorado. The Avs make Taylor Hall so sad, that he signs for pennies on the dollar with them in 2020-21. Avs in 4.

Kent- The Avs have looked like they’re primed for a long run, but can they stay healthy enough to do it? They had some pretty significant injuries during the season, and played well through them, but the playoffs are an entirely different beast. They face an Arizona team playing like they have absolutely nothing to lose. Unloved by their General Manager and 99.9% of the residents of their hometown, they could be a dangerous test for Colorado. Avs in 7

Markus - Yotes looked good, but they don’t have the horses to take out Colorado. Their speed and skill isn’t a great matchup for AZ. Avs in 5.

#3 Stars vs. #6 Flames

Westy - On the other hand, I am bored of these teams before they even play. I hate Calgary and would never bet on them. Come Jamie Benn...wake up. Stars in 6

Bailey - I’m really not interested in this series, maybe the least of the 8 1st round matchups. However, I think it’ll go the distance, and the Stars will blow it due to the fact that they just can’t put the puck in the net. Flames in 7

jimmi - There are no winners in this series. But loaded with perennial 18 year olds, it’s the Flamers in 6.

Rob - Stars are old and decrepit. Calgary moves on. Flames in 6

Beggsy - The least sexy matchup is also the one I’m struggling most to pick. With way too much love for the Flamers among NM writers, I’m picking the Stars in 6.

Kent- I hate this. I hate that I can’t even call this one a toss-up. The Stars are falling apart, and unless Rick Bowness of all people can somehow inspire this team, they get better goaltending, and get Tyler Seguin back, they might have a shot. Maybe. Unfortunately, that ain’t happening. Flames in 6 (Gross).

Markus - Definitely toughest matchup here. I’ll go with an upset because I think Calgary played well and I don’t love Dallas’ forward group. Flames in 7

#4 Blues vs. #5 Canucks

Westy - I have a couple things going on in my mind with this series. On paper, Roussel can’t make the same claim that the Canucks have the better players. Strike one. Secondly, I went against the Canucks in the last round and they Blues in 6 (just to keep the reverse jinx)

Bailey - I don’t know why I’m getting my hopes up, but here we go. The Blues will continue to play like they did in the round robin and the Canucks’ young guns will keep on gunning for another dramatic series victory. Canucks in 6

jimmi - This is Canucks history before our bubbly eyes. Nucks give the Blues a darker shade of blue - Nucks in 5.

Rob - St. Louis has left the bubble. Vancouver is winning the Cup. Canucks in 6

Beggsy - Do you believe, Vancouver?

This team played in arguably the chippiest play-in series, and I wouldn’t expect things to be much different against the Blues. The Canucks defence, as always, is a huge concern, but this young core is playing with house money and little pressure.

Embrace the fake. This series will not disappoint. Canucks in 7.

Kent- There’s a lot of people who are going to tell you that the Blues are going to win this series. They’re stupid and you should shun them. This series is far more evenly matched than some want to admit, so forget about their Trump-loving goalie, forget about Darren Pang’s constant whining and water carrying, and forget about what common sense suggests. These are the pandemic playoffs, baby. And in the bubble, strange shit happens, like teams that might not have even made the playoffs getting in so they can send last year’s champs packing. Embrace the fake, it’s time to go for a run. Canucks in 7.

Markus - I don’t hate this matchup for Vancouver, but ultimately STL has better high end talent and depth than Minnesota did, and I think the Canucks will be slightly overmatched near everywhere. Blues in 6