Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

NHL Playoffs Bracket: Matchups, Schedule as Chase for Stanley Cup Gets Underway

NHL Playoffs Bracket: Matchups, Schedule as Chase for Stanley Cup Gets Underway

It's far and away better than the MLB, NFL and National Basketball Association playoffs (in my opinion). That happens to be the total wins necessary for the team to retain the Stanley Cup for a third straight season. There are seven different teams competing in the postseason compared to a year ago and every matchup holds the promise of an upset. He was last seen walking through a corridor adjacent to the Penguins locker room at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex wearing only shorts and verbally fending off a team employee trying to convince him to speak. The Kings have been here before, and several of their best players from the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup champion teams, including Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, still play prominent roles.

It will be a brutal road to make the Final, but anything is possible come playoff time. Trading away star Matt Duchene to begin the year should've meant that the playoffs weren't in their future. Oh, and the Devils have gone 3-0 against the Lightning and are the only team to sweep the Lightning this season in the entire Eastern Conference (per Hockey Reference).

The Penguins head into the playoffs with the league's best power play, operating at 26.2 percent. The two starting goalies, Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby, have been mired in playoff failure for a number of seasons.

Minnesota at Winnipeg, 6 p.m. Mostly, they've survived. And the Flyers have noticed. Unfortunately, the Cinderella season is likely to end at the hands of the NHL's current top team. "They're just more intense and more familiar with this format than they were in the old format".

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Toronto over Pittsburgh in seven games. Consider for a moment that the B's rank 6th in scoring, 4th in goals against, 4th on the power play, and 3rd in penalty killing. San Jose will be without veteran playmaker Joe Thornton, at least for the early portions of this season, which is only going to put more pressure on Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski. While they also allowed the 20th most goals, though they were 13th in the National Hockey League after the All-Star Break.

"The best thing about majority are is the proximity to where they live, the close ones, but I think it needs a good playoff (series) against that individual team to create the rivalry full hand", Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said.

A Penguins-Capitals style repeat could happen this year with the Central's Predators and Jets on a crash course for a second-round showdown and the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning locked into a stacked Atlantic bracket with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kesler is a master at getting under his opponents skin, and that won't change in this series. Both were offensive dynamos, Kuckerov more, hitting the 100-point plateau. The problem is that Tampa Bay has faltered a bit down the stretch, losing five of their final eight games.

13 - Age of New Jersey forward Nico Hischier the last time the Devils made the postseason in 2011-12. New Jersey making the playoffs is a nice story, and Taylor Hall might be the favorite for the Hart Trophy.

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"Ghost" has been a consistent point producer from the backend for his team. It will be tight, but the Lightning should pull through.

BOSTON (AP) - The Bruins didn't seem like the team with the most to gain until it was too late Sunday night. If he struggles, the highly skilled Leafs forwards - Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, etc. - will need to have a tremendous series, and they're certainly capable of that. The Kings led the league in penalty kill percentage and allowed the fewest goals. Plenty of action was sent in on the Knights before the season started primarily because they were a novelty team with big odds. The Flyers pulled off the upset thanks in part to a meltdown by Pittsburgh. If they're not included in the Eastern Conference section, then the dummy writing this must think they reside in the West because there is no way, no how, the defending champs from the Steel City would be excluded, right? The past 14 regular-season meetings have featured all of two Flyers fighting majors.

For the seventh time in history, the 1967 expansion teams will meet in the playoffs. Fans could also elect to receive game start notifications alerting them when their selected teams' games were about to start. Oh, and did I mention the Penguins still have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, arguably the game's two-best players?

Their 98 points were only two fewer than the Penguins, and their top-shelf talent - Voracek, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, all the long-familiar faces - ranks right up there with that of most National Hockey League rosters.

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