2010 NHL playoffs: Western Conference first round predictions

This is what everyone loves to do as we gear up for the first of four
rounds of playoff hockey: throw a dart at the wall and hope we can
come close to predicting the outcomes of each series.

So we are, Pro Hockey Talk’s predictions for 2010 NHL Western Conference
Quarterfinals predictions (Eastern Conference here):

(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Colorado Avalanche (full
preview here
)

Season series (Tied 2-2)
Oct. 1: San
Jose 2 @ Colorado 5
Oct. 30: Colorado 1 @ San Jose 3
March
28:
Colorado 3 @ San Jose 4
April 4: San Jose 4 @
Colorado 5 (OT)

Brandon: Oh boy…San Jose’s worst
nightmare: a hungry, speedy, talented and young team with solid
goaltending. Must…not…choke….again…. Colorado in 7.

James: Everyone is so in love with the
Sharks “choking.” It’s kind of like when someone unfunny finds that one
joke that makes them feel part of a group. Like my grade school friend
who used to say “Kung Pao Chicken” every day because we laughed at it
twice. San Jose in 4.

Joe: Colorado is gassed, San Jose is just naturally better. There’s ZERO reason for the Sharks to lose this series. But if they do… perhaps it’s time for an on-ice personnel change or twelve. San Jose in 5.

(2) Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators (full
preview here
)

Season series (Chicago won 4-2)
Oct. 15:
Chicago 3 @ Nashville 1
Oct. 24: Nashville 0 @ Chicago 2
Oct.
29:
Chicago 0 @ Nashville 2
Dec. 4: Nashville 4 @ Chicago
1
Dec. 26: Chicago 4 @ Nashville 1
Dec. 27:
Nashville 4 @ Chicago 5

Brandon: This could be the best shot the
Blackhawks will get at a Stanley Cup. The Nashville Predators are the
perfect team to get in their way….but the Hawks are too hungry. Chicago
in 5.

James: The Predators could give the
Blackhawks some serious headaches. That being said, I think that
Nashville’s lack of high-end offense will be a huge disadvantage against
the loaded Chicago team. Chicago in 6.

Joe: I think this is a terrible matchup for Chicago and Nashville will give them everything they can handle and thensome. If Chicago is going to show they’re for real, beating the Predators will go a long way towards proving that. Chicago in 7.

(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings (full
preview here
)

Season series (Vancouver won 3-1)
Oct. 29:
Vancouver 2 @ Los Angeles 1 (SO)
Nov. 26: Los Angeles 1 @
Vancouver 4
Dec. 14: Los Angeles 1 @ Vancouver 3
April
1:
Vancouver 3 @ Los Angeles 8

Brandon: Some are saying this is an upset
waiting to happen; I don’t see it. The Canucks are too good, and I can
see Jonathan Quick collapsing from exhaustion in the middle of a game. Vancouver
in 6.

James: Man, I cannot wait for this series.
I like the Kings’ talent, but I just can’t bring myself to choose a
team with Jonathan Quick in net (he’s decent, but …) against a team
with Roberto Luongo. Vancouver in 7.

Joe: This is going to be a tremendous series. LA are the comeback kids, Vancouver has the future MVP and Luuuu. The Kings are damn good though but the question is can Jon Quick carry them through? Not yet. Los Angeles is just setting the table for next season anyhow. Vancouver in 7.

(4) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings (full
preview here
)

Season series (Tied 2-2)
Oct. 22:
Detroit 2 @ Phoenix 3 (OT)
Dec. 14: Phoenix 2 @ Detroit 3
Jan.
2:
Detroit 4 @ Phoenix 1
Jan. 26: Phoenix 5 @ Detroit 4

Brandon: The series I’m most looking forward
to. Can the Coyotes pull off an unthinkable season, beating the Red
Wings in the first round? Will Jimmy Howard be magical? Will Tomas
Holmstrom play fair? Phoenix in 7.

James: I would feel bad for the Coyotes,
but then they rejected Throw the Snake. Now – as usual – I have empathy
for their fans, not the franchise. That being said, this should be a
great series because Phoenix is legit. I just like Detroit’s talent a
bit more. Detroit in 6.


Joe: A bit of a homer pick, I admit, but for every great playoffs storyline there’s a foil to make sure that story doesn’t go all Disney on us. Who better than the Red Wings to go and foul everything up. Detroit in 6.

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    Report: Yes, Claude Julien’s job is in some danger with Bruins

    MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 12:  Head coach of the Boston Bruins Claude Julien looks on as he walks across the ice during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on December 12, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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    After the Boston Bruins squandered a 3-0 lead against the Detroit Red Wings and ultimately lost 6-5 via a shootout, plenty of fans and commenters had enough. Many called for Claude Julien’s head.

    They might not be alone.

    During the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading on Thursday, Bob McKenzie didn’t say that Julien was definitely going to be fired, but he said there’s a “credible threat” to the long-standing Bruins bench boss’ job security.

    The phrase “impending doom” came up, too.

    So … yeah, it sure sounds like Julien is on thin ice.

    McKenzie indicates that Julien should be behind the bench on Friday and could improve his situation if he reels off some wins. That’s where things get extra interesting.

    The Bruins play three of their next four games and seven of their next nine contests at home. Most of those games are against playoff-caliber teams, however, so it wouldn’t necessarily be “easy.” Still, the opportunities are there for the Bruins to solidify their spot in the East playoff picture.

    Still, it sure sounds like the margin of error is pretty small for Julien, just as it might be for Boston in this playoff race.

    Want more coaching hot seat talk from McKenzie? He also discussed Paul Maurice’s situation with the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday:

    Video: There was no stopping John Tavares on this goal

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    New York Islanders fans probably needed a moment like this, even ones who are more than happy that Jack Capuano was let go.

    It’s no surprise that John Tavares provided such a moment.

    Watch in the video above as he makes an obscene move against Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, and then finishes with some really nifty timing. Wow.

    Tavares now has 17 goals this season, reinforcing the thought that the team’s struggles aren’t on him.

    Now catch up on all of the drama surrounding the team:

    Bob McKenzie updates on the fuzzy future for the Isles

    Liam McHugh grills Garth Snow on a variety of burning questions

    Coyotes demote Duclair to AHL so he can ‘regain his scoring touch’

    NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 25: Anthony Duclair #10 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 25, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    It’s been a tough season for both Anthony Duclair and the Arizona Coyotes. Even so, it’s still startling to see that he was demoted to the AHL on Thursday.

    GM John Chayka explained the team’s logic for the demotion:

    “Anthony is a good young player,” said Chayka. “Unfortunately, he has struggled this season. We felt this was a good time to send him to Tucson to work on a few things and hopefully regain his scoring touch. We hope to have him rejoin our team soon.”

    Duclair’s been the subject of more than a few trade rumors, but this is probably the low point of a rough 2016-17 season for the 21-year-old.

    It’s worth taking a second to consider the very different luck Duclair’s experienced in his breakout season last year vs. this one.

    His shooting percentage was 19 in 2015-16, helping him score 20 goals on just 105 shots. By comparison, he’s only converted on 5.2 percent of his shots this year, nabbing three on 58.

    In other words, Duclair’s work is probably somewhere between those extremes … but he’s also at that age where a player can make big leaps forward. So, it’s understandable that the Coyotes want to try to repair their prospect’s confidence, and it’s also reasonable that other teams might believe that they can get more out of him.

    A trip to the AHL really might be good for his confidence but … still, wow.

    The good news and the bad news for Roman Josi

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    Roman Josi told Swiss Hockey News.ch that he suffered a concussion from that Anton Blidh hit you can see in the video above, according to a translation passed along by the Tennessean.

    So, that’s the bad news for the Nashville Predators. The good is that he also told that outlet that he might be able to return for the Preds sometime next week.

    Josi, 26, has dealt with concussion issues before, making this report a concern for the long-term. Still, the possibility of a return so soon is definitely a positive.

    Here’s what the next week and change looks like for Nashville:

    Tonight: at Flames
    Friday: at Oilers
    Sunday: at Wild
    Tuesday, Jan. 24: vs. Sabres
    Thursday: vs. Blue Jackets

    The Predators aren’t out of the West picture altogether, but they need to make the most of their opportunities. Much like the Bolts with Victor Hedman, Nashville’s hanging in there OK without one of their key guys, but every point counts. Getting Josi back would be huge.