NHL Playoff Format Unkind to Top Clubs

Now to be honest, I'm gutted this series is even happening.

New Jersey will instead face the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Columbus will play the Washington Capitals. However, they still have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and those two formidable stars are quite likely the best 1-2 punch in the sport when they are on top of their game.

A day before the start of the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs, Hulu announced a deal with the hockey league to be an official sponsor for the playoffs and final.

On Sunday, those in the hospital received visits from Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, Edmonton Oilers coach Todd Mclellan and former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who was a survivor of the 1986 bus crash involving the Swift Current Broncos junior hockey team.

After finishing the season 29th in the league on the penalty kill with a 75.8 penalty kill percentage, this could be where the Penguins hurt the Flyers most.

Toronto is 3-1 in four games against the Bruins this season and Mike Babcock is one of the best coaches the game has ever seen. Crosby recalls more fights between the teams in the past - he was involved in two six years ago in the game he swatted Voracek's glove away - but doesn't want to downplay the intensity of this rivalry.

This is where Philly has the best chance to swing the series.

There are going to be inevitable articles about the Capitals', um, troubled playoff history. The Pens have won the last two titles as a number three seed and this year they will have to do so as a number four seed.

Guardiola: It's a pity it was a special day for United
Guardiola continued to stress that you have to take your chances at this level, adding: "Football is boxes at that level". However, what happened at Anfield on Wednesday would have given the Catalan coach food for thought.

The team's struggles this season were punctuated by losses at Barclays Center, where they were 59-26-16 since moving to the Brooklyn arena before the 2015-16 season.

What happened to the extreme hostilities between the Penguins and Flyers? But, there's always that one aspect of each series that many fans and critics will keen on keeping an eye on. The Bruins have a slight edge in depth and goaltending, as well as home ice advantage. That means the Lightning play New Jersey - the rare Eastern team I don't see as often as I'd like - and pits Boston against Toronto in the only Original Six matchup of the first round (which could be a dandy). The Stanley Cup Final series will be carried on NBC and NBCSN. His presence along with Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov's will be enough to fuel the Capitals past the Blue Jackets, who have scored the second-fewest goals among playoff teams this year.

Maybe it's because Winnipeg scores a bunch of goals at home (3.80 G/GP) and not as many on the road (2.85 G/GP), or it could be because Minnesota is elite at home? His playoff history tells a different story, with.923 and.937 percentages and allowing more than three goals only three times in 11 games in his appearances a year ago.

Outlook: The Penguins have their sights set on their third straight Stanley Cup championship, and they definitely have the offensive firepower to make it happen. It'll be interesting to see how the young and inexperienced squad adapts to playoff hockey, especially against a hardened veteran group like Los Angeles. This series could be a pitchers duel (or goaltenders duel) between these two combatants, allowing for every game to be even more exciting. "You have to have a mindset that you're going to play teams in your division first and foremost and that's just the way it is". The Ducks have a little more skill, and ranked third in GAA and fifth in penalty killing, but the Sharks also ranked in the top 10 of both GAA and PK percentage.

NATE THE GREAT - The Predators first-round opponents are the unbelievable Avalanche, who rode Nathan MacKinnon's breakout season to a wild-card spot after finishing last overall last season.

You can't measure experience, but it definitely plays a factor in the playoffs.

Murray returned and after a wobble in the middle of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final against Nashville, held the Predators scoreless in Games 5 and 6.

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