Buckle The Fuck Up: The NHL West Playoff Preview

kings sharks playoffs

by Teddy Westside

People always talk about how the NCAA Tournament is the best sporting event in the world. Well, whatever. Instead of fighting that with a bunch of old bald dudes trying to relive their glory days from Wichita State, I am just going to make this claim: Hockey has the greatest postseason among the four professional sports.

Ok, maybe you will sit there and say the NFL is better, but please. This year’s Super Bowl was a bigger let down than hearing they are remaking the Ninja Turtles movies with Michael Bay. It was a terrible game, terrible halftime show, terrible commercials, and all around just really terrible TV. I remember thinking, “Goddammit, they skipped a week of True Detective for this shit?”

Hockey, on the other hand, might not have the 200 million viewers that the Super Bowl gets, but the games did average over 5 million last year, with the Stanley Cup games pulling down 8.16 million in each game. This is substantial considering the league was supposed to be dead after a lockout the year before. To put it another way, a super popular show out there now, say the titty party that is Game of Thrones on HBO, brings in about 4.9 million viewers each episode.

Last year was something special, with the Blackhawks almost destined to win it after amazing series with both the Red Wings and Bruins. This year? Well, the West is wilder than that Will Smith movie. Check it out:

Blackhawks vs Blues

This will be perhaps the hardest series to forecast. The reason? Both teams should be the best overall team in the league. The Blues were the best team all year until they dropped their last 6 games. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost two star players in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Both of Chicago’s star forwards should be good to go for the playoffs, however, neither has played in quite some time. They could be super rusty as playing in a hockey game is a little harder than say catching a football.

With both teams going sideways (or even backward), it’s impossible to call this series. These teams fought each other hard five different times already this season, with the Blues winning three of them…but all in shootouts. The Blackhawks won the two most recent matchups between these teams, and if Patrick Kane can return to the stud that he usually is, he should lead the Blackhawks to a Game 7 victory against the Blues…and then get right into line to plow Tommy Gimler’s sister…

Avalanche vs Wild

Going from the hardest to perhaps the easiest series to call, the Avalanche should have no problem putting away the Wild. The reason? Simple: the Wild just don’t score much. Sure, they might win a game or two, and defense certainly matters, but you still have to put the puck in the back of the net. They fail to do that.

The Av’s, after finishing first overall under rookie coach Patrick Roy, are loaded with young talent. The key words in all of that…rookie head coach and “young” talent. No one on this roster is very experienced, much less in playoff time. This shouldn’t hurt them too much, however, as they are the superior team in this matchup. But look for this to hurt them if they find themselves against a team like the Blackhawks or Kings in round two…

Ducks vs Stars

This should be another easy series to call. The Ducks should wrap this one up in five. But a word of caution: This Stars team is going to be really good. Just because they probably won’t win this time out, doesn’t mean they won’t be here next year and for years to come. They have some real superstar caliber players…however, they are facing the Ducks.

Oh wait though…does that mean the Stars are just going to give up? Doubt it! The Stars have actually beaten the Ducks two out of three times this year, including the two most recent matchups. The Stars will look to open this series up by getting in a track meet. Get ready goaltenders, shots will be fired…

The Ducks have been an amazing team from day one and are one of three California teams to make it this year (see below). The Ducks have a legit shot at winning the Cup this year and having home ice throughout is a good start. If the Ducks’ goaltending stays sharp, they might not just cruise through this series but all the way though the Cup.

This should be a fast, fun, and exciting series to watch. Ducks in five…

Kings vs Sharks

Think of some good rivalries in sports that get shoved down your throat by the four-letter and ask yourself if they ever really live up to the hype. Go ahead and think of some…I will give you some hints:

Yankees/Red Sox – nope.

Knicks/Celtics – nope.

Heat/NBA – Um, maybe?

Steelers/Ravens – Please.

Seahawks/49ers – Ok, that one is pretty sweet.

The Kings and the Sharks have one of the quieter rivalries in sports due to the fact that ESPN hates hockey, but I promise this if you watch this series…there will be blood. There will be big hits, physical play, and undoubtedly, a fight or two.

The Kings are a stout defensive team, playing around the net and loving low-scoring physical games. The Sharks, on the other hand, are a large team that likes to move on the ice and create scoring chances.

Matching up five time this season with the Kings taking three of them, you might be quick to say the Kings are going to win this one. The Kings have the playoff experience here and a goaltender who wants to line up in the “Gimler’s Sister” line. But the Sharks can score. They also have home ice advantage, which is substantial given how well they play at home.

Here is the thing though. You know how there is always that team that no matter what seems to shit the bed come playoff time? There is at least one in every league out there. The Sharks are just that team. Period. And I cannot see them overcoming that. The first time the Kings win, they will be thinking “here we go again” and start prairie doggin’ in their pads.

The Kings might not score much, but their defense keeps them in games. The five games that were played this year between these two teams? Four of them were decided by only one goal. The Sharks, plain and simple, do not have what it takes to hang with the Kings in a close game. Last year’s series was decided by the slimmest of margins. This year’s regular season games were decided by the slimmest of margins. This playoff series should be the same exact way. I give the edge to the Kings in this regard. Because goaltending and defense are the calling card of the Kings, I say they win in six games.

There you have it turds. Sit your fat asses down on the couch, grab some chips and guac, and enjoy some hockey…

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