Skip to main content

St. Louis Blues' goaltender Jaroslav Halak blocks a shot against the Dallas Stars during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Dallas, Texas April 7, 2012. The Blues face the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the NHL playoffs. REUTERS/Mike Stone

Mike Stone/Reuters

Vancouver (1) vs. Los Angeles (8)

Season series: 2-2

Injuries: Vancouver – Daniel Sedin (concussion, day-to-day), Zack Kassian (upper body, day-to-day), Keith Ballard (concussion, out indefinitely). LA – Jeff Carter (bruised ankle, day-to-day), Simon Gagné (concussion, out indefinitely).

Story continues below advertisement

Breakdown: The Kings made the playoffs on defence and goaltending. Both will be needed to have any chance against the Canucks, especially if Daniel Sedin is able to play in the series opener. The Canucks need production out of 2011 playoff hero Ryan Kesler (no goals in 12 games). But Max Lapierre's five points in five games boosts the secondary scoring.

Prediction: Canucks in 5.

St. Louis (2) vs. San Jose (7)

Season series: 4-0 St. Louis.

Injuries: St. Louis – No significant injuries. San Jose – Torrey Mitchell (undisclosed, day-to-day).

Breakdown: The Blues have a huge edge in goaltending with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Antti Niemi was better in goal for the Sharks late in the season but he does not inspire confidence. While the Blues didn't lose to the Sharks in the regular season, they lost four of their last five games while the Sharks won four in a row. Sharks also have the edge in playoff experience.

Prediction: Sharks in 7.

Story continues below advertisement

Phoenix (3) vs. Chicago (6)

Season series: 3-1 Phoenix.

Injuries: Phoenix – No significant injuries. Chicago – Jonathan Toews (concussion, expected to play), Dave Bolland (upper body, day-to-day), Daniel Carcillo (knee, out for season), Andrew Brunette (lower body, day-to-day), Steve Montador (concussion symptoms, out indefinitely).

Breakdown: The Coyotes have the higher seed thanks to winning the weak Pacific Division but the Blackhawks are the better team despite a poor record against the Coyotes. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith will be the key player, as the Blackhawks sport a powerful offence. The Coyotes, as always, have a good defensive game but it probably won't be enough.

Prediction: Blackhawks in 6.

Nashville (4) vs. Detroit (5)

Story continues below advertisement

Season series: 3-3.

Injuries: Nashville – Jacob Josefson (broken wrist, out four-to-six weeks), David Clarkson (lower body, day-to-day), Anton Volchenkov (flu, day-to-day), Henrik Tallinder (blood clot in leg, out indefinitely). Detroit – Dan Cleary (sore knee, day-to-day), Jakub Kindl (undisclosed, status unknown), Darren Helm (knee, expected to play in Game 2), Patrick Eaves (concussion, out for season).

Breakdown: With an ailing power play, Detroit is flying on one wing. The Predators are solid from goalie Pekka Rinne out and Alexander Radulov boosts the offence so this could finally be the year Nashville sees a long playoff run.

Prediction: Predators in 6.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to