It seems Everett Silvetips fans are feeling confident about the second round of the WHL playoffs.
Everett faces the Spokane Chiefs in the second round, with the best-of-seven series beginning Saturday night at Angel of the Winds Arena. The series pits the U.S. Division champion-Silvertips against the team that finished second in the division for a spot in the Western Conference finals.
Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on the upcoming series. Specifically, readers were asked which team they thought would win the series and in how many games. Here’s how you voted:
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) April 1, 2019
Add the two together and more than 80 percent of the voters picked Everett to win the series. More than half — 51 percent — predicted the Tips would win a closely-contested series in six or seven games, while another 33 percent have Everett winning comfortably in four or five games. Just 11 percent had Spokane in a close series, winning in six or seven, and a mere 5 percent stumped for a Spokane blowout in four or five.
This is not a surprising result. Everett is the favorite in the series, having finished 12 points ahead of Spokane during the regular season and won six of the eight regular season meetings, including going 5-0 in games decided in regulation. Add on that the vast majority of voters surely were Tips fans, and the overwhelming tilt in Everett’s direction was to be expected.
However, in my own opinion the teams are more evenly matched than the numbers indicate. In a way this series is much like the series between Everett and Tri-City in last year’s conference finals. The Tips were the favorite in that series, too, but because of trades and injuries the Americans had fielded their full lineup just once against Everett during the regular season. Therefore, we didn’t really know how the teams matched up.
That’s somewhat the case again with regards to Spokane. It’s not as drastic as last year, when Tri-City had three first-round NHL draft picks who missed several games against Everett. But Spokane’s top forward, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, missed more than half the season because of injury and playing for Canada at World Juniors, and therefore he appeared in just one game against the Tips. There’s no telling whether Anderson-Dolan’s presence would have flipped any of those regular season games (Everett won 3-1 in Spokane in the one game Anderson-Dolan played in), but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt the Chiefs’ chances.
So I expect an entertaining and highly competitive series between Everett and Spokane, despite the records suggesting the Tips have the advantage. You can hear Tips beat writer Josh Horton and I talk about the upcoming series, as well as review Everett’s first-round victory over Tri-City, in Josh’s Tips Talk podcast:
A new episode of Tips Talk is now in your podcast feeds!
I looked back (and forward a bit) with @NickHPatterson about Everett's success in Round 1 and what Round 2 may bring.
— Josh Horton (@JoshHortonEDH) April 3, 2019