The Series Breakdown will take an in-depth look into each of the series in the Western Conference Playoffs. Second Round action is the focus. This will include: the top players to look for, which players could be the breakout stars, and a series prediction.
1. Anaheim Ducks vs. 5. Calgary Flames
This could be one crazy series. You have the Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf duo against the Sean Monahan-Johnny Gaudreau-Jiri Hudler line. Now talk about your point potential! There were times in the Winnipeg series where Getzlaf and Perry were downright unstoppable. Anaheim was also very resilient in third period as they came back a few times in the series and then delivered a 5-2 hammer blow in Game 4 for the sweep. Calgary rode their top line then watched them have an amazing Game 6 to clinch the series against Vancouver. The one thing that is going to concern Calgary is that Perry and Getzlaf will not be intimidated or pushed to the perimeter. Also, their depth is probably better than what the Flames possess. Jonas Hiller once played for the Ducks so they know him and he knows them obviously. Frederik Andersen can give up goals in bunches from time to time but the Ducks can truly roll four lines.
Players to Watch
- Sean Monahan
- Jonas Hiller
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Frederik Andersen
I’m looking to Rickard Rakell as the breakout star here. The forward has nice, advanced metrics. It all comes down to does he get the ice time needed to make an impact. That might be dicey but this is all about taking risks after all. Rakell may see a little more open ice in this series as Winnipeg often hit everything that moves and things that sometimes were stationary. There is just something about the player that could wreak havoc if Bruce Boudreau lets him out of the cage.
This is the type of series where it really is Anaheim’s to lose. Almost every advantage in this series tilts towards the Ducks in one way or the other. A line besides the Calgary first line is going to have to have the series of their lives. Unfortunately for the Flames, that does not look like a very likely scenario. Anaheim will win this in five games and be ready for what comes next.
6. Chicago Blackhawks vs. 7. Minnesota Wild
So how does Devan Dubnyk cope with going against the craziest playoff scoring team in the NHL? He did pretty well in his pre-requisite test against the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota was able to get by them in six games. Chicago was a team where the over hit in every single game of the series (six games). No fewer than six goals were scored in every single game. Minnesota came into the postseason with an iffy power play and then scored four times on the man advantage while the Blackhawks power play was their power play. Chicago and Minnesota have speed and depth to burn at 5 on 5 and both play pretty similar styles. Can Corey Crawford get back the form he had against the Wild last year? That will be one we find out quick. There will be a lot of ebb and flow to this series and be the one to watch from a DFS standpoint.
Players to Watch
- Zach Parise
- Devan Dubnyk
- Patrick Kane
- Jonathan Toews
It all could be on Justin Fontaine. The kid has become better and better of a player as the season has gone on. In the playoffs, he has looked good in the time he has played. Chicago may even just overlook him a bit. It is a moderate to high risk pick but again all the chic ones were taken. Minnesota seems to have quite a few of these young players but Fontaine looks like the one that could break out in this series where defense has been a little questionable for the Blackhawks.
Minnesota pulls off the upset over Chicago in seven games. The Wild are built to play teams like St. Louis and Chicago. All they really needed was the goaltending. Now that they have Dubnyk, they just have to keep playing their game and they could go rather far. The Blackhawks have to clamp down defensively at some point if they expect to win this series and no one knows when or if that will happen.