The NHL playoffs are often argued to be the best playoffs in sports. The playoffs bring the fastest, hardest hitting, and overall best version of the game of hockey, all in a quest for the greatest trophy. There are storylines on top of storylines this year, and these playoffs are lining up to be phenomenal.
After zero Canadian teams made the playoffs last year, five teams from the land up north managed to make the tournament this season. While that obviously limits the number of American markets, hockey is Canada’s game and the playoffs are exponentially better with Canadian teams and their fans involved.
Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers (Montreal leads 2-1): Montreal had control of game three from start to finish to take a 2-1 series lead over the Rangers. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been playing great so far, but the team in front of him needs to step it up if they want to retake control.
Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators (Series tied 1-1): This matchup may not pair two of the most exciting rosters, but the games so far would make you believe otherwise. In game one, the Bruins were down 1-0 until they scored two in the third and never looked back. In game two, it was Ottawa who potted two goals in the third period, as well as an overtime winner to even the series at one apiece as both teams head to Boston.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Pittsburgh leads 3-0): In what was supposed to be on of the more compelling 1st round matchup, the Penguins have taken a 3-0 lead after an overtime victory in Columbus. The Penguins easily won both home games and rallied from behind in game three. It would be shocking if the defending champs didn’t move on to the second round.
Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Series tied 1-1): While the Capitals were the best team all season, the first two games of this series have been as strenuous as it gets. After a game one overtime win, the Capitals fell in game two in double overtime. As the series shifts to Toronto, it is set up to be one of the most exciting and intriguing first round series’ this year.
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues (St. Louis leads 3-0): Blues goalie Jake Allen has been standing on his head this entire series. With 114 shots against and only three goals allowed, Allen is the reason the Blues took the first three games and are just a win away from the second round.
Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks (Edmonton leads 2-1): After a 3-2 loss in game one, the Oilers bounced back for a 2-0 win in game two to even the series. The speed of Edmonton, specifically Connor McDavid, was overpowering for the Sharks in game two. San Jose got Joe Thornton back from injury sooner rather than later, but the Sharks were not able to escape the 1-0 loss in game three.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames (Anaheim leads 2-0): The experience of the Ducks has been too much for the Flames early on. With 3-2 victories in both games, the Ducks appear to be in control of this series.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators (Nashville leads 2-0): This series has been as one sided as it gets. The Blackhawks have yet to score a single goal in either of their home games. With games three and four in Nashville, if the Blackhawks don’t figure out what is wrong, this will be an easy four game sweep.