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Just for picks

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
I had too much to dream last night.

Just as Shawn Matthias was hoisting the Stanley Cup, my alarm blared and I was hurled back to reality.

The dream is real, my timeline for having it so soon was not.

It takes 16 wins to capture the Holy Grail and Vancouver’s quest to do so begins tonight in Vancouver during Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-Final.

From here on out forget looking at the big picture, every game is a battle and if we win the battles, we'll win the war.

Based on what I’ve read going into the series, many aren’t giving the Canucks a chance in battle, let alone war.

Let’s take a closer look.

NHL.COM

Fourteen members of the NHL.com team made predictions for every Round 1 series, the Stanley Cup Final, Cup champions and Conn Smythe winner.

Seven chose the Canucks, while seven went with the Flames; either way, neither team was predicted to make the Stanley Cup Final. Chicago was the popular vote earning seven votes and the New York Rangers took home five.

Feel free to fully ignore their input.

ESPN.COM

A crew of 12 looked into the ESPN crystal ball and seven went with the Canucks, highlighted with Craig Custance taking Vancouver in five games. Tall task, but I like it.

Similar to Sports Illustrated, no one from ESPN took the Canucks or Flames to advance to the Cup final; five chose the Blackhawks, three picked the Rangers.

I’m starting to see a pattern here.

SPORTSNET.CA

Ten of the best hockey minds the business put their prediction hats on and the four smartest of the group made themselves known.

Only Elliotte Friedman, Dan Murphy, Chris Johnston and Thomas Drance were brave enough to go with the Canucks, who apparently just won’t be able to take the heat.

I think I’ll have a word with Mark Spector on his “Flames in 7” pick – he’s seated three seats from me right now at morning skate. Nothing like a media scrap to open a series!

TSN.CA

Scott Cullen, who does analytics for TSN.ca, stepped up to the plate to prognosticate and he knocked it out of the park taking the Canucks in six.

“Where the Canucks may have an advantage is that their defence corps is healthy now and that should allow them to get favourable matchups against the Flames' top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler. If the Canucks can slow them down with Chris Tanev and Alexander Edler, that will put pressure on the rest of the lineup to produce. In the Canucks' case, obviously the Sedins will be the focus, but they also diversified the attack later in the year, with Radim Vrbata giving the second line an offensive jolt.”

Well said.

Where Cullen goes wrong is taking the Winnipeg Jets over the Canucks in the Western Conference Semi-Final, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.

CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG.COM

Our friends over at the blog about Canucks hockey didn’t shy away from their team bias. “But other than being a homer, I think the Canucks penalty kill and their recent experience in playoffs will be their advantage,” wrote Victoria Pattison Denault in her Canucks in six prediction.

Since CHB is known for its accuracy, it’s comforting knowing eight of 10 contributors asked for predictions went with the Canucks in six games.

Forget you Chris and Nicole! Times sure have changed.

*****

Canucks? Flames? Who are you predicting wins this series and in how many games?

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