The 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin today with three games. Here are some thoughts and my predictions for all of the first round match-ups.
- The Boston Bruins clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the second time in franchise history. They last won it in 1989-90 and have finished first a total of 13 times.
- The Bruins and Detroit Red Wings are meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 1957, when Boston won their semifinal series in five games. Either team could win the Stanley Cup by playing against all Original Six teams.
- The Red Wings’ current 23-season post-season appearance streak is the longest active streak of any of the four North American major professional sports leagues. The Bruins hold the record for the longest post-season streak in North American major professional history – 29 seasons from 1967–68 through to 1995–96.
- The Montreal Canadiens are the only Canadian team to make the playoffs. The last time only one Canadian team made the post-season? In 1973, the Habs defeated the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have made the playoffs for just the second time in their history. And if it wasn’t for some significant injuries, I’d be picking the Blue Jackets to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins (Bobrovsky > Fleury) in the first round.
- The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are meeting for the first time in the playoffs since the 1997 Eastern Conference Final.
A1 Boston Bruins vs. W2 Detroit Red Wings – BOSTON in 5
A2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. A3 Montreal Canadiens – TAMPA BAY in 7
M1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. W1 Columbus Blue Jackets – PITTSBURGH in 6
M2 New York Rangers vs. M3 Philadelphia Flyers – PHILADELPHIA in 7
P1 Anaheim Ducks vs. W2 Dallas Stars – ANAHEIM in 6
P2 San Jose Sharks vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings – LOS ANGELES in 7
C1 Colorado Avalanche vs. W1 Minnesota Wild – COLORADO in 5
C2 St. Louis Blues vs. C3 Chicago Blackhawks – CHICAGO in 7
The complete schedule, including broadcast info, is available at NHL.com.