NHL 20 Sim Results Western Conference Play-ins
Written by: Raffi Sarrafian
It’s now time to reveal the Western Conference play-in winners. These series didn’t have as big of upsets as the Eastern Conference play-ins did, but nonetheless there were some lower seeds making it to the playoffs. There was a wide variety of close defensive games, and high scoring offensive games so let's dive right into the Western Conference play-in results.
Western Conference Series Results
Edmonton (5 seed) vs Chicago (12 seed)
Game 1: Edmonton: 7 Chicago: 3 (Edmonton leads 1-0)
Game 2: Chicago: 5 Edmonton: 3 (Tied 1-1)
Game 3: Edmonton: 4 Chicago: 3 (Edmonton leads 2-1)
Game 4: Chicago: 4 Edmonton: 1 (Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Edmonton: 5 Chicago: 3 (Edmonton wins 3-2)
The west was a bit less wild than the east, but there were some lower seeds advancing on this side of the bracket. Edmonton although getting taken to 5 was able to pull through and narrowly escaped the same fate Pittsburgh had as the other 5 seed. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as they each had 8 and 6 points respectively. It was a good thing they had them as the defense was awful and Mikko Koskinen was hurt by that with his .878 SV% and 3.81 GAA. Both defenses played awful and left their goalies out to dry as Crawford also had poor stats with a .885 SV% and 3.82 GAA. Although Alex Nylander and Dylan Strome stepped up with 6 and 7 points respectively, the Oilers offense was too tough to beat, and Edmonton will now get to face off vs the 4 seed St. Louis Blues.
Nashville (6 seed) vs Arizona (11 seed)
Game 1: Arizona: 7 Nashville: 2 (Arizona leads 1-0)
Game 2: Nashville: 4 Arizona: 2 (Tied 1-1)
Game 3: Nashville: 2 Arizona: 1 OT (Nashville leads 2-1)
Game 4: Nashville: 2 Arizona: 1 OT (Nashville wins 3-1)
After game 1, it looked like Pekka Rinne once again was going to have another terrible postseason. However, he quickly turned around after his horrendous first game with allowing only 1, 1, and 2 goals in the next 3 games. He finished with a .911 SV% and a 2.60 GAA, one of the best of all the goalies playing in the play-in round. Nashville also was able to come up clutch twice in OT with Craig Smith scoring the winner in game 3, and Ryan Johansen with the winner in game 4. After allowing 7 goals in game 1, Nashville’s defense carried the offense by keeping them in games and only allowing 4 goals in the next 3 games. Although Darcy Kuemper couldn’t come through in OT, he was arguably the best goalie in the play-ins posting a .932 SV% and a GAA of 2.13. This was one of few series where all of the games for the most part had a very low amount of goals. Nashville will aim to shut down the 3 seed Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs.
Vancouver (7 seed) vs Minnesota (10 seed)
Game 1: Minnesota: 2 Vancouver: 0 (Minnesota leads 1-0)
Game 2: Minnesota: 6 Vancouver: 3 (Minnesota leads 2-0)
Game 3: Vancouver: 3 Minnesota: 2 (Minnesota leads 2-1)
Game 4: Minnesota: 5 Vancouver: 4 (Minnesota wins 3-1)
Vancouver repeatedly failed to score goals and produce enough offense to beat Minnesota. They had only 3 guys finish with 3 points, and only 2 players scoring twice. With not too much help on defense either, Jacob Markstrom struggled in net with a SV% of .888 and a GAA of 3.81. Minnesota on the other hand was much better all around as offseason addition Mats Zuccarello had 7 points in the 4 games led the charge offensively, and Devan Dubnyk was great in net with a .913 SV% and a 2.51 GAA. Zach Parise had the game winner late in game 4 to get Minnesota into the playoffs where they will face off vs the 1 seed Dallas Stars.
Calgary (8 seed) vs Winnipeg (9 seed)
Game 1: Calgary: 2 Winnipeg: 0 (Calgary leads 1-0)
Game 2: Winnipeg: 3 Calgary: 2 (Tied 1-1)
Game 3: Winnipeg: 3 Calgary: 1 (Winnipeg leads 2-1)
Game 4: Calgary: 2 Winnipeg: 0 (Tied 2-2)
Game 5: Winnipeg: 4 Calgary: 2 (Winnipeg wins 3-2)
This series was by far the best series defensively and in net, Connor Hellebyuck showed why he deserves Hart or Vezina Trophy votes with a .931 SV% and a 1.81 GAA. Big save Dave Rittich was also dynamic with a .939 SV% and a 2.02 GAA. For two teams that lacked defense in the regular season, they both shut down the opposition, making it a great playoff hockey series. At the end of the day, it was Winnipeg’s first line of Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Nikolaj Ehlers that was able to get Winnipeg goals when they needed them the most. Winnipeg will look to have similar success on defense and in net when they take on the 2 seed Colorado in the first round of the playoffs.
Connor Hellebyuck showed Hart Trophy voters how valuable he is to his team, Pekka Rinne has a good start to the season restarting, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl continue to produce, and Minnesota is able to produce more offense than Vancouver. Now, here are the reseeded round 1 matchups.
1 Dallas Stars vs 10 Minnesota Wild
2 Colorado Avalanche vs 8 Winnipeg Jets
3 Vegas Golden Knights vs 6 Nashville Predators
4 St. Louis Blues vs 5 Edmonton Oilers
With all of the play-ins for both conferences being over, the playoffs are ready to go so be sure to stay updated on the official Hot Shots Media NHL 20 playoff simulation.