Western semi-finals breakdowns
Sure the Hawks advanced for the first time in 13 years thanks to three scoring lines and outstanding netminding from
Both teams enter this series feeling good about their chances, but only the Canucks come in without any doubts. They were methodical in exposing the tomato-can defense of a Blues squad that was viewed by many as a favorite to pull the annual playoff upset.
The Hawks, on the other hand, shouldn't have required six games to topple a Calgary team that was decimated by injuries, lacked cohesion on the ice and trotted out a power play that may have been the league's least imposing. They certainly should not have been out shot 44-16 in a potential close-out game.
That's not to say the Hawks can be taken lightly. Although much attention will be focused on a top six that features
Experience didn't provide an edge for the Flames, but it should for the Canucks. The Sedins looked more battle-ready against the Blues than in previous postseasons, and defenders like Bieksa,
The Wings had little trouble handling the Ducks during the regular season, but Anaheim has undergone significant changes since they last met in late-February, especially on the blueline. Though
The champs' lineup may not boast any surprises, but it will pose a decidedly different challenge to what Anaheim faced in San Jose. Unlike the milquetoast Sharks, the Wings are a battle-hardened, playoff-proven bunch with the ability to raise their intensity as the pot grows larger. The skill is there in