The National Hockey League has come to an end. Well, the regular season has come to an end. The postseason is here – and now 16 teams are fighting for one goal – the Stanley Cup. Let’s take a look at the NHL Playoff Pairings, and what the next months of hockey will look like.
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche
The top seed in the Western Conference will get Colorado. The Avalanche made a massive difference of nearly 50 points from a season ago. Colorado needed all 82 games to get into the postseason, but they smoked the Blues on Saturday. Now, they will face a tough test as they take on the Nashville Predators. Nashville won the Western Conference a season ago. The Predators won the President’s Cup with a franchise record 117 points.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild
This should be battle royale. Winnipeg has been outstanding this season, and chasing down Nashville. The Jets come into the postseason with five straight wins. Minnesota has sputtered a bit, but ended with 10 points. Minnesota has been the best home team all season long, so if they can steal one on the road, they may have a shot at pulling an upset.
Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks
Two 100 point teams get together. The Ducks finished with 101 points and the Sharks wrapped up 100 wins in a season. The ducks have won five straight games. Anaheim has outscored opponents by 19 goals all season, but getting the job done has been the key. San Jose is battle tested, so this should be a fantastic series.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings
Do not count out the rough and tough Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are one of the toughest teams in the league defensively. The postseason could be a different animal for the expansion team – the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kings have full intentions of ruining the party for the Pacific Division Champions.
Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Washington Capitals did not win the President’s Cup this season, but their 105 points will get them a home series in the first round. They will take on Columbus, who finished with 97 points. The Capitals are 28-11-2 at home, so holding serve at home will be a huge key in the first two rounds of the postseason.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
The battle of Pennsylvania. The Penguins get home ice advantage, as they finished 2 points ahead of the Flyers. Pittsburgh is seeking their third straight Stanley Cup Final. This will certainly be a physical series, but if the Flyers can keep up offensively with the Penguins is the major question coming in.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
The Lightning finished with the most points in all of the National Hockey League. Now, they get a chance to take on the Devils. New Jersey got into the postseason late over the Florida Panthers. The Devils lost in their last game, but winners of 7 out of their last 10, it’s too early to count them out.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Two power house teams this season. These two teams finished with a combined 217 points on the season. The Bruins have been awesome at home, and Toronto has struggled on the road. Boston is back in the postseason with some new faces this season, it should be an interesting first round series.
There is a look at the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Picture. It should be a great couple months of hockey, with one team raising the Cup. Enjoy the hockey!