The National Hockey League playoffs started yesterday. I want to cover the playoffs this year. A lot of people liked how I covered this years olympic tournament. I don’t have as much time to cover this as I did back in February. I will try to follow through with writing about this years playoffs. Just expect some days for me to just not have time to write a blog.
News going into the playoffs. The biggest news was that the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t make the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history. Majority of the league celebrated this. I think Vegas is the hottest hockey market right now and is growing into a sports empire. I think Vegas not making the playoffs is bad for the league from a finical standpoint.
The Montreal Canadians did not make the playoffs. Since February there was a lot of speculation that they would not make the playoffs. The only reason that this is a big deal is that they were in the finals last year. It is almost unheard of but not impossible that a team makes it to the finals only to not make the playoffs the next season. It is an uncommon and super rare occurrence at this level but I don’t think it is the only time it has happened in NHL history.
Seattle didn’t make the playoffs either. There are an expansion team. Most expansion teams don’t make it their first time out. It takes time to build a team that can get to that point in the NHL.
Last thing to talk about heading into the playoffs is the new playoff logos. A new tv deal brings with it new playoff logos. I don’t have much to say about these. There fine. They are kind of what is expected. I do like the minimalistic nature of the design. I am just not blown away by them.
Here is what the bracket looks like for this season:
In the west the Colorado Avalanche are taking on the Nashville Predators. I think Colorado will win that one. The Minnesota Wild are taking on the St. Louis Blues. I am cheering for the Wild in this one because of Marc Andre Fleury. The Calgary Flames are taking on the Dallas Stars. I think Calgary will win that series. The Edmonton Oilers are taking on the LA Kings. I think this rivalry should have a name. Like the great one series or something. Since Wayne Gretzky played a huge role for both teams and the growth of the sport in both regions. I want the Oilers to beat the Kings. I would love to see a battle of Alberta in the second round of the playoffs.
In the east The Florida Panthers are taking on the Washington Capitals. Florida came out of nowhere to become a really good team this season and I think they have a shot at going deep in the playoffs. On the other hand the Capitals have more playoff experience and will be a challenge for Florida. The Toronto Maple Leafs are taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning. This should be another good series. The question heading into this series is will the Toronto Maple Leafs get past the first round. Expectations coming from their fan base are high. Anything less than a championship will be a disappointment for Toronto. That being said they have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since 2004. Toronto’s biggest opponent in the playoffs this year could be the pressure they and their fan base put on themselves. Carolina Hurricanes are playing Boston Bruins. Carolina will win this series but neither team has a real shot at the cup. The New York Rangers are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is a classic matchup. I want the penguins to win. Former Penguin/Golden Knight Ryan Reeves is on the Rangers. He will be a guy to watch out for and I that I will be looking for while watching this series .
For the Stanley Cup Finals I want the Pittsburgh Penguins (I want that every year, every year is our year, steel city baby!!!) to face the Edmonton Oilers. I am a Penguins fan so I always want them in the finals. The Oilers own the Bakersfield Condors which is my hometown team. A lot of the current Oilers have played for the Condors. Due to their relationship the Oilers have kind of become my second NHL team. I would love to see Oilers vs Penguins game seven of the Stanley Cup final, and Crosby score an OT game winning goal like he did back in Vancouver 2010. While this is somewhat unlikely to happen, I can dream.
The first game of the playoffs was game one of Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins. The score was 0-0 after the first period. The Hurricanes would score two in the second period. They took a 2-0 lead into the third period. The Bruins would get one back in the third period. The Hurricanes would score 3 more in the third to make it a 5-1 final. With that the Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs. Game 1. In Toronto. The Maple leafs took a 1-0 lead after the first period. They extended their lead by 3 in the second period. The Maple Leafs had a 4-0 lead going into the third period. The Maple Leafs would shutout the Lightning by final score of 5-0. With that Toronto took a 1-0 series lead.
St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild. In Minnesota. Game one. The Blues took a 2-0 lead after the first period. They would make it 3-0 after two periods. The final score was a 4-0 Blues win. This was the second shutout of the day. With the win the Blues took a 1-0 series lead.
LA Kings vs Edmonton Oilers. In Edmonton. Game one. Last game of day one. The Kings got up 2-0 in the first. The Oilers would get one back late in the first. The score was 2-1 Kings heading into the second period. The oilers would tie it up early in the second with a powerplay goal. The Kings would get the lead back just over a minute later. The Oilers tied the game back up about half way through the second. The score was 3-3 heading into the third. The Kings would break the tie late in the third period. The final score was 4-3 Kings. The Kings took a 1-0 series lead in what was the only close game on day one of the playoffs.
Here are the upcoming games:
*As of writing this it the first intermission of the Penguins/Rangers game, the Rangers have a 1-0 lead but the Penguins are on the power play. Washington is leading Florida 1-0.