It took until the last game of the last night of the NHL regular season to set up the clashes for the first round of the playoffs.
Of course, the battle for the Stanley Cup begins in less than 72 hours.
Technically there is still a more insignificant match and postponed by the time that will be played on Sunday, but the eight series of the first round are ready. The playoffs begin Monday when Metropolitan Division champion Carolina Hurricanes hosts the Boston Bruins in Game 1.
Nashville had a four-goal lead and lost to last place, Arizona, hours after Dallas defeated Anaheim with an emergency substitute goalkeeper in the net for the third period that reversed two games in the Western Conference. The Predators will now open in Colorado’s first seed and the Stars go to Calgary to face the Flames.
Colorado lost to Dallas in the playoffs two years ago and can now have an easier path to the playoffs against Nashville, which could be without injury to starting goalkeeper Juuse Saros. The winner of the Avalanche-Predators series will face any team that comes out of what promises to be a convincing showdown between Minnesota and St. Louis.
The Wild and Blues were the first series to be locked up, but it took until Friday night to determine who had ice in the house. After Minnesota had beaten Colorado and St. Louis lost to the newly eliminated Vegas, the series will begin in St. Louis. Paul on Monday.
Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers open at home against the Los Angeles Kings with the winner advancing against the Calgary-Dallas survivor. The Oilers have not won a round since 2017.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004 and face a major challenge in trying to break that trend against defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Leafs beat the Bruins to organize a series against the Lightning starting Monday in Toronto.
Carolina-Boston is a rematch of the 2019 Eastern Finals and a slump in the second round of 2020. The Bruins have won each of those series but fall into this as a slight disadvantage, according to FanDuel Sportsbook Hurricanes Frederik Andersen misses at least the start of the first round.
He’s not the only Eastern team with goalkeeper questions.
The Washington Capitals are limping into the playoffs in a four-game skid without it being clear whether Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek will be in the net for the first game against the Florida Panthers, winners of the Presidents Trophy, on Tuesday. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has also missed the last three games with an apparent left shoulder injury.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have not been without starter Tristan Jarry, and their situation remains unclear in their series against the New York Rangers starting Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Tampa Bay still has 2021 playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy in the pipeline, but the Rangers are entering this postseason with the likely winner of the Vezina Trophy in Igor Shesterkin.
The winners of the Panthers-Capitals and Maple Leafs-Lightning series will face off on the Atlantic Division side of the East Group, while the winners of the Rangers-Penguins and Hurricanes-Bruins will face off in the Metro half.
All eight teams from the East finished with 100 or more points, the first time that happened in one of two conferences in NHL history.
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NHL playoff clashes were determined after the frantic final night
Source link NHL playoff clashes were determined after the frantic final night