The field is set and it is officially time for the 2017 NHL Playoffs. Lets take a look at the Western Conference side of the bracket.
Chicago Blackhawks (C1) vs Nashville Predators (WC2)
The Chicago Blackhawks are the number one seed out of the West. The Nashville Predators were the last ones to secure a spot in the West. The regular season series between these two teams favors Chicago 4-1-0 and the Blackhawks are currently favored to win this series. Chicago clearly has experience on their side and are looking to establish their dynasty over the last few years once again. Nashville will look to its newly acquired defenseman PK Subban and goaltender Pekke Rinne to step up against the offensive threats of the Blackhawks. Nashville has made the playoffs the past three seasons, but have yet to make it past round two. Game 1 is set for Thursday night in Chicago.
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Minnesota Wild (C2) vs St. Louis Blues (C3)
For a while, Minnesota appeared to be the top team in the West and one the right path to a deep playoff run. But, after struggling throughout the month of March, the Wild seemed to be uncontrollably falling in the wrong direction. This is the fifth straight playoff appearance for Minnesota and the first under head coach Bruce Boudreau. St. Louis has made an appearance in six straight post-seasons and the first under former Wild head coach Mike Yeo. Minnesota is currently favored to win this series, but the regular season series favors St. Louis 3-2-0. Game 1 is set for Wednesday in Minnesota.
Anaheim Ducks (P1) vs Calgary Flames (WC1)
Since January, Anaheim has the second most points in the NHL with 61. Their second half surge pushed them to winning the Pacific Division for the fifth straight season. Anaheim is favored to win this series and also won the regular season series 4-1-0. Led by young star Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames have made the post season for the second time in three seasons. The history between these teams heavily favorites Anaheim as well. The Flames are 0-20-5 in Anaheim and have not won on the road against the Ducks since January 2004. Calgary has to find a way to win on the road and the key for them will be goaltender Brian Elliot. Game 1 is set for Thursday in Anaheim.
Edmonton Oilers (P2) vs San Jose Sharks (P3)
The defending Western Conference champions hit a bit of skid to end the regular season. After leading the pacific division for much of the season, the Sharks not only fell out of first, but finished only third in the division. The last time Edmonton made a post season appearance was back in 2006 when they defeated the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference semi-finals. San Jose is preparing to face their former coach Todd McLellan, who ended the season going 12-2-0 since taking over in Edmonton. The main storyline in San Jose surrounds the overall health of Joe Thornton and Logan Couture. For Edmonton, all eyes are on young stud Connor McDavid who finished the season first in points with 100. Game 1 is set for Wednesday in Edmonton.
Chicago in 4
Minnesota in 6
Anaheim in 5
Edmonton in 7