The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Wednesday with three games. Here are some notes and first round predictions, plus my bracket for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.
League Notes & Stats:
- Looking back at my 2017-2018 regular season projections, I correctly predicted 10 of the 16 teams to make the playoffs, including all 3 teams in the Atlantic Division in the exact order that they finished.
- The Colorado Avalanche, who finished last overall last season with 48 points, gained 47 points this season to clinch the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The New Jersey Devils, last in the Eastern Conference last season, rose this season to grab the second Wild Card spot in their conference.
- This will be Taylor Hall’s first taste of playoff action after eight NHL seasons and 529 games. San Jose’s Evander Kane waited even longer: nine years and 579 career games.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins seek to become the first team since 1982 to win three straight Stanley Cups. The New York Islanders won four straight from 1980 to 1983.
- The Washington Capitals have not made it past the second round of the playoffs since 1998.
- The Vegas Golden Knights shattered records for expansion teams, including points (109), home wins (29) and road wins (22).
- EA Sports NHL continued its annual tradition of simulating the NHL Playoffs. According to their simulation, the Winnipeg Jets will win the Stanley Cup, defeating the Boston Bruins in seven games. Patrik Laine will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP.
Can’t help but feel a little self-important today. 16 teams and millions of fans begin a two-month battle all for the right to raise me. #HumbleBrag— The Stanley Cup (@StanleyCup) April 11, 2018
Boston Bruins Notes & Stats:
- Boston and Toronto are the only two Original Six teams to make the playoffs this season. They are meeting in the postseason for the 15th time.
- While the Maple Leafs have an 8-6 edge in the 14 previous series, they have not beat the Bruins since the 1959 Semifinals.
- Boston last faced the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs in 2013, when the Bruins rebounded from a 4-1 deficit in the 3rd period of Game 7 to win the game and series in overtime. The Maple Leafs have not won a playoff round since 2004. Their series kicks off in Boston on Thursday.
- Boston and Toronto were the only teams to have three 30-plus goal scorers; David Pastrnak (35), Brad Marchand (34) and Patrice Bergeron (30) led the Bruins, while James van Riemsdyk (36), Auston Matthews (34) and Nazem Kadri (32) were the Maple Leafs’ top goal-scorers.
- The Bruins are the first franchise in NHL history to record ten 50-win seasons, three more than the next-closest club (Montreal Canadiens with 7).
C1 Nashville Predators vs WC2 Colorado Avalanche – NASHVILLE in 5
C2 Winnipeg Jets vs C3 Minnesota Wild – WINNIPEG in 6
P1 Vegas Golden Knights vs WC1 Los Angeles Kings – LOS ANGELES in 7
P2 Anaheim Ducks vs P3 San Jose Sharks – SAN JOSE in 7
A1 Tampa Bay Lightning vs WC1 New Jersey Devils – TAMPA BAY in 7
A2 Boston Bruins vs A3 Toronto Maple Leafs – BOSTON in 5
M1 Washington Capitals vs WC2 Columbus Blue Jackets – WASHINGTON in 6
M2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs M3 Philadelphia Flyers – PHILADELPHIA in 7
The complete schedule, including broadcast info, is available at NHL.com.