This is the first year since 1970 that no Canadian based team has made the playoffs – guaranteeing that for the 23rd year, no Canadian team will win the Holy Grail of hockey, the Stanley Cup.
Let’s look at the match-ups:
New York Islanders (100 points) vs. Florida Panthers (103 points). This is the first postseason meeting between the two teams. Florida won two out of three meetings during the regular season. The Islanders have not won a postseason series since 1993, but the Panthers have not won a postseason series since 1996. Look for Florida to win in six games.
Detroit Red Wings (93 points) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (97 points). Both teams won two games in their regular season games. The Lightning won the only postseason meeting between both teams, last year’s first round match-up. The Red Wings are now appearing in their 25th consecutive post-season. Look for Detroit to win in seven games.
Philadelphia Flyers (96 points) vs. Washington Capitals (120 points). The Capitals are the winners of the Presidents’ Trophy for having the best record in the NHL during the regular season. They split their four game series during the regular season. This is their five postseason meeting with Washington winning their series in 1984 and 1988, and the Flyers winning in 1989 and 2008. Look for Washington to win in six games.
New York Rangers (101 points) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (104 points). The Penguins won three of four meetings in the regular season. This is the third consecutive postseason meeting between the two teams with the Rangers winning the last two years, but the Penguins winning the four series prior to that. Look for Pittsburgh to win in six games.
Minnesota Wild (87 points) vs. Dallas Stars (109 points). The Stars won four of the five regular season series. This is the first postseason series between the two teams. Look for Dallas to win in six games.
Chicago Blackhawks (103 points) vs. St. Louis Blues (107 points). St. Louis won three out of five meetings this season. This is the twelfth meeting in the postseason between the two teams, with the Blackhawks winning eight of the 11 meetings. Look for Chicago to win in seven games.
Nashville Predators (96 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (103 points). The Predators won two out of three games this season. The Predators also won the only previous postseason series between the two teams, during the first round of the 2011 postseason. Look for the Anaheim to win in six games.
San Jose Sharks (98 points) vs. Los Angeles Kings (102 points). The Sharks won three of the five games the teams played during the regular season. The Kings won two of the three postseason series the two teams have played in. During their last postseason series, the Kings won the first round series in 2014 in seven games after being done three games to none. Look for Los Angeles to win in six games.
Let’s see what happens.