The 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Wednesday with five games. Here are some notes, first round predictions and my bracket for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.
League Notes & Stats:
- The St. Louis Blues went from last place in the NHL on January 2nd to finish third in the Central Division, one point shy of first place. The are the first team in 22 years, and seventh in the expansion era, to clinch a playoff berth after ranking last overall at any point after Jan. 1. St. Louis will take on the Winnipeg Jets in the first round.
- The Calgary Flames won 50 games this season, hitting the mark for the second time in franchise history. The other time was 1988-89, when they won 54 games and went on to win the Stanley Cup.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the playoffs for the third straight season, and fifth time in their history (since 2000-01), but have yet to win a round. They play the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time with 128 points (fourth all-time for most points in a season).
- The Carolina Hurricanes are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, ending what was the longest playoff drought in the NHL. That title now belongs to the Buffalo Sabres, who have missed eight straight seasons since 2012.
- There has been a playoff turnover of at least five teams each year since 2012-13 – including three campaigns with an NHL-record seven teams – and 12 times in the past 14 seasons. The Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Blues and the Hurricanes all returned to the postseason this year.
- There were 7,664 total goals scored in the NHL this season, surpassing the previous mark of 7,588 in 2005-06. There was an average of 6.0 goals per game scored, the second-highest total in 22 years behind 6.2 in 2005-06.
- The 138 multi-goal comeback wins in 2018-19 set a single-season NHL record, while the 525 comeback wins were the second-most in League history (537 in 2005-06). The 551 lead changes were the second-most in League history (588 in 2005-06).
- The Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov finished the season with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists), the most by a Russian-born player in NHL history. The previous record of 127 points was set by Alexander Mogilny back in 1992-93. Kucherov’s total was the most by any player in the salary cap era (since 2005-06) and the most by anyone since 1995-96, when Mario Lemieux had 161 and Jaromir Jagr had 149 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Boston Bruins Notes & Stats:
- The Boston Boston (49-24-9) finished second in the Atlantic Division, seven points ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs (46-28-8) to get home-ice advantage in the best-of-7 series.
- The Bruins went 3-1-0 against the Maple Leafs this season, outscoring them 16-10.
- Once again, Boston and Toronto are the only two Original Six teams to make the playoffs. They are meeting in the postseason for the 16th time since 1932-33.
- Boston has won five straight series against Toronto since 1969, including dramatic 7-games series last year and in 2013.
C1 Nashville Predators vs WC1 Dallas Stars – DALLAS in 7
C2 Winnipeg Jets vs C3 St. Louis Blues – ST. LOUIS in 6
P1 Calgary Flames vs WC2 Colorado Avalanche – CALGARY in 6
P2 San Jose Sharks vs P3 Vegas Golden Knights – SAN JOSE in 7
A1 Tampa Bay Lightning vs WC2 Columbus Blue Jackets – TAMPA BAY in 6
A2 Boston Bruins vs A3 Toronto Maple Leafs – BOSTON in 6
M1 Washington Capitals vs WC1 Carolina Hurricanes – WASHINGTON in 6
M2 New York Islanders vs M3 Pittsburgh Penguins – PITTSBURGH in 7
Western Conference Champions – ST. LOUIS BLUES
Eastern Conference Champions – BOSTON BRUINS
2019 Stanley Cup Champions – BOSTON BRUINS
Conn Smythe Trophy Winner – Patrice Bergeron
The complete schedule, including broadcast info, is available at NHL.com.
Here is the list of players I picked in another pool.