Western Conference Round Two picks

St. Louis/Los Angeles
The Blues were the league’s top possession team based on Fenwick tied; the Kings were 3rd. The Blues scored 14 goals in five games against the Sharks, the Kings 12 goals in five games against the Canucks. Obviously the two teams are close, though the top of the Kings’ roster is arguably better than that of St. Louis– Kopitar, Quick, and Doughty may be the best three players on the ice, and one could argue Richards over Pietrangelo or Backes for number four. Despite this, the Kings’ offense still scares me, not in a good way, and the Blues are far deeper as a team. St. Louis was +45 in the regular season, LA +15. Pick ’em, but I’ll go with the Blues in six.

Phoenix is the better of two bad possession teams here (18th vs. 29th); both teams also beat opponents with better offenses in Round One thanks to lights-out goaltending (Detroit outshot Nashville 160-116; Chicago outshot Phoenix by an awful 241-159; Mike Smith’s saves by game: 43, 46, 35, 30, 36, 39). Phoenix is also somehow the 4th oldest team in the NHL, Nashville the 3rd youngest. Depth is the relevant factor here, and scoring-wise that would be Nashville. Phoenix was +12 in the regular season, Nashville +27. Predators in six.


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