Opening Round of 2017 NHL Playoffs

The Stanley Cup

The 2017 National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs start today.

Highlights of this year’s playoffs include the Washington Capitals winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the second straight year with 118 points.  The Detroit Red Wings failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1990 after 25 consecutive seasons, and the third longest in league history.  Five Canadian teams (Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto) after no Canadian team made the playoffs last year.

The opening round match-ups breakdown as follows:

Eastern Conference

Toronto Maple Leafs (95 points) vs. Washington Capitals (118 points)
This is Toronto’s first playoff appearance since 2013.  This is the first time the two teams have met up in the playoffs.  Washington won two of the three meetings this year.  Watch for Toronto to outlast Washington in seven games.

Columbus Blue Jackets (108 points) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (111 points)
The two teams split their four game regular season series and this is the second time the two teams have met in the playoffs.  The last time, in 2014, Pittsburgh won in six games.  Look for Pittsburgh to repeat that this year.

New York Rangers (102 points) vs. Montreal Canadiens (103 points)
This is an Original Series match-up, and is a rematch of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, which New York won four games to two.  This is the 16th time the two teams have met in the playoffs, with New York winning eight of the first 15 meetings.  Look for Montreal to win in six games.

Boston Bruins (95 points) vs. Ottawa Senators (98 points)
Ottawa won all four regular season games this year, and this is the first time since the 1927 Stanley Cup Finals that a team from Ottawa faces off against the Boston Bruins.  The 1927 Ottawa team won that series.  Look for a close series, going seven games, with Ottawa coming out victorious.

Western Conference

Nashville Predators (94 points) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (109 points)
This is the third playoff series between the two teams, the last one being in the firstround two years ago.  Chicago won both previous series.  Having won their conference, Chicago is guaranteed home ice advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs. Look for Chicago to win in five.

St. Louis Blues (99 points) vs. Minnesota Wild (106 points)
Minnesota won the only previous playoff series between the two teams, back in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, in six games.  Look for St. Louis to win in six games this year.

Calgary Flames (94 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (105 points)
This is the fifth straight season that Anaheim has finished first in their division.  Anaheim won four out of five regular season games this season, plus the previous two match-ups in the postseason, with the last time being in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.  Look for Calgary to win in seven games.

San Jose Sharks (99 points) vs. Edmonton Oilers (103 points)
Edmonton won three out of the five regular season games between the two teams this season and won the only other meeting between the two teams, in the Conference Semifinals back in 2006.  Look for Edmonton to win in six games.

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