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Rick Zamperin: Flames, Jets, Predators and Golden Knights vying to win NHL’s wild west

The puck drops on the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday night so what better time than the present to pick which teams are going to thrill and which will disappoint their fans?

I’ll start with the Western Conference.

The Calgary Flames meet one of the hottest teams entering the playoffs in the Colorado Avalanche. Calgary swept their regular-season series and is one of only two teams to win 50-plus games this year. I’m picking the Flames to continue their dominance of the Avs by winning this series in five games.

Vegas eliminated San Jose in six games in the second round last year. This spring, the Golden Knights will do it again, but this time the series will go the distance.

Odds are the red light won’t be lit very much when Nashville and Dallas meet. The Predators will win the series in five games, but I think at least three of the games will end in overtime.

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One of the best matchups of the first round in either conference is Winnipeg versus St. Louis. This series will go seven games before the Jets prevail — I can feel it.

READ MORE: Rick Zamperin: Welcome to the Stanley Cup playoffs

Round 2 in the West will bring us two amazing series: Calgary versus Vegas and Nashville versus Winnipeg.

The Golden Knights, thanks to goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, douse the Flames in a Game 7 OT thriller.

The Jets dumped the Predators in Round 2 last year, but this time Nashville keeps Winnipeg grounded, winning the series in six.

WATCH: Hockey legend Doug Gilmour visits Global News Morning

Hockey legend Doug Gilmour visits Global News Morning
Hockey legend Doug Gilmour visits Global News Morning

Vegas and Nashville in the Western Conference final sounds like an exciting series, and I’m choosing the Predators to go back to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 2017.

Which team will represent the Eastern Conference? Those picks — and my Stanley Cup winner — will be unveiled on Wednesday.