The 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on with four teams left in the Western Conference. The first round of the NHL playoffs featured plenty of excitement, including a number of series going the distance and action-packed hockey all around. Eight teams are left standing and the four in the Western Conference can all take home the Stanley Cup, the greatest trophy in sports. Even if your favorite team is knocked out already, there are tons of ways to enjoy the 2022 NHL Playoffs – whether you're playing daily fantasy hockey, participating in legal sports betting, or having fun with Underdog Fantasy, Monkey Knife Fight, or PrizePicks NHL player props. Don't forget to check out our NHL daily projections, NHL Vegas Odds, and more fantasy hockey tools. Let’s now take a look at the two Western Conference semifinal matchups before the action gets underway between the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, and Colorado Avalanche. If you missed it, check out the preview for the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup semifinals.
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions – Western Conference Round 2
Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames
This is the matchup the hockey world deserves. The Battle of Alberta is a special one and it is going to be some of the best hockey we see all year. Calgary and Edmonton are two great teams, and the fact that they meet in the semifinals is just a blessing. The first round was challenging for both teams, but there is certainly one team that has a clear advantage.
Connor McDavid put on a show in the first round and he might have to do even more against Calgary just for his team to have a chance at making it to the next round. Edmonton’s power play is on fire, and they are 4th in goals per game in the playoffs. They’ve also gotten some pretty good goaltending from Mike Smith, but it would be foolish to believe that he’s going to keep that pace up.
Los Angeles had a good offense, but it’s nothing compared to the Flames. Calgary ran into a hot goalie in Jake Oettinger, and if it wasn’t for him, that series wouldn’t have gone the distance. Smith is no Oettinger and Calgary is going to expose him and their mediocre defense.
One player who isn’t mediocre is Jacob Markstrom. He finished the first round with a 1.53 GAA and a .943 SV%. He was excellent during the regular season, but he really took his game to another level to start the playoffs. Even with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, it’s going to be a challenge for the Oilers to score goals against a team that not only has a great goalie but a better defense.
The Flames are the better team on paper and they should be able to take care of business. Edmonton has the two best players in the world, but they don’t have a good goalie, and that is going to be the reason why they don’t advance.
Prediction: Calgary in 6
St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche
It’s just scary how good the Colorado Avalanche are. They made Nashville look like a second-class team, which is hard to do. Granted, it’s easier to abuse a team that doesn’t have their best goalie available, but still, Colorado is legit this year and they are going to go a long way. St. Louis did what they needed to do to get to this point, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for them right from the get-go.
The biggest issue for the Blues is their goaltending situation. Ville Husso was expected to be the guy to lead this team, but Jordan Binnington managed to win his job back thanks to three wins, a 1.67 GAA and a .943 SV%. Is he going to keep that pace up? Very unlikely, but he gives his team the best chance to win right now.
The other issue is trying to slow down Colorado’s red hot power play. They finished the first round with the best power play at 43.8%. That number is going to come back down to earth, but a team that is operating close to 50% with the man advantage is a dangerous team. It really doesn’t matter who is in goal for the Blues, they aren’t going to be able to stop every puck sent their way. Thanks to the strong power play, they are averaging 5.25 goals per game, while only allowing 2.25. The Blues have a lot of depth in their lineup, but can they compete with a team this good? I don’t think so.
Colorado is the better team and they are going to benefit from some additional time off. Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are going to take control of this series and nobody is going to be able to slow them down. This series could be over in a hurry.
Prediction: Colorado in 5
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