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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 2022 NHL Playoffs Western Conference First Round Preview and Predictions

2022 NHL Playoffs Western Conference First Round Preview and Predictions

First round preview!
Publish Date: 05/02/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
April 29, 2022, WINNIPEG, MB, CANADA: Winnipeg Jets Paul Stastny 25 tries to get the shot away on Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar 80 as Christopher Tanev 8 defends during second period NHL, Eishockey Herren, USA action in Winnipeg, Friday, April 29, 2022. Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY - ZUMAc35_ 20220429_zaf_c35_236 Copyright: xJohnxWoodsx

First Round

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Colorado vs Nashville

The league-dominating Colorado Avalanche will take on the Nashville Predators, one of the last teams to get into the playoffs, in a Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round matchup that looks completely lopsided on paper. We have seen many times upsets like this over the last few years, so in playoff hockey you never know. Check out the grueling truth’s definitive guide to betting on hockey!

The Avalanche has an overwhelming amount scorers, with Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, sensational defenceman Cale Makar, pending-free-agent beast Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Devon Toews and Valeri Nichushkin all finishing with 50 points or more. With all of that being said we would be remiss if we didn’t bring up the fact that the Preds did win the season series, so they are capable of winning.

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Prediction:

I keep trying to find a way that the Preds could win four out of seven games, but I keep coming up empty. Pick Avs in 4!

Minnesota vs St.Louis

The Minnesota Wild (53-22-7) and St. Louis Blues (49-22-11) will clash in Round 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild finished second in the Central Division with 113 points, while the Blues were right behind them with 109 points. The Blues did win all three regular-season meetings. Please take a peek at our guide rating the best sportsbooks for betting on hockey!

Minnesota is led by Russian superstar Kirill Kaprizov, who surpassed the 100-point mark in his second season. He also finished the regular season inside the top 10 for the Hart Trophy. The big concern is the health of his linemate Mats Zuccarello, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Zuccarello had 79 points and is questionable for Game 1. The Wild haven’t won a playoff series since 2015.

The Blues have an explosive offense with plenty of firepower on every line. St. Louis features nine different players who have scored 20-plus goals, including 30-goalscorers Vlad Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich.

Prediction:

This is maybe the most evenly contested series in all of the playoffs. The Blues are an excellent road team and have an advantage in goal and I like the Blues. Pick Blues in 7!

Calgary vs Dallas

After a 50-win season, the Flames return to the playoffs with a significant turnaround from missing out in 2021’s North Division. And they’re back, thanks to one of their best regular seasons in team history. No Canadien team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993, and if any team from up North can win it this year, it would be the Flames.

Calgary’s defense has been better than expected, and the Flames have a trio of 40-goal scorers making up their top line and a goalie who could qualify as a Vezina finalist. Check out the top new sportsbooks for betting on Hockey!

The Stars remain a struggling offense, but they have a super line. Their strength remains defence, but it’s not as stout as 2020 and the goalies behind them are not as proven.

Prediction:

In my eyes, Calgary is just the better team and will come out on top here. Pick Calgary in 6!

Los Angeles vs Edmonton

A coaching change turned the Oilers’ season around. Since Woodcroft replaced Dave Tippett around Feb. 10, the Oilers are 26-9-3. That’s good for a .724 points percentage, the NHL’s third-best mark behind the Panthers (.757) and Flames (.731).

The Playoffs are for the big boys and some young Kings defensemen could be thrown into the fire against McDavid, Draisaitl, and the rest of the Oilers’ top scorers. That is not something that Kings fans have to be worried about.

The Numbers that stick out most to me are the Oilers advantage on Special Teams. Check out our guide if you don’t know how to bet on the NHL!

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Prediction:

Youth on defense and special teams will be the difference in this series. Pick Oilers in 7!

 

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