With that in mind, let's take a look at the competition this season and how it could all shake out.
In the Western Conference, the competition seems as tough as ever. Colorado beating Nashville in an 4-over-1 upset wouldn't be that shocking - it's how the Preds began their playoff run a year ago - but I could live with that. As coaches, sometimes you take it for granted because we've seen it a number of times over the course of a few seasons. San Jose has been a playoff failure for so many years, but I think they've gotten past that label. Future Vezina Trophy victor Pekka Rinne was elite this season, their defence was once again top in the league thanks to P.K. Subban and Roman Josi and their offence is just good enough to finish in the top half of the league. Jones is going to need to help his team steal one if they want to make it to the next round, which is completely possible.
Fleury out-dueled his Kings counterpart Jonathan Quick, who finished the night with 27 stops.
Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators enter the postseason with a ton of fanfare once again, but they face hard matchups against divisional foes. Expect the Jets to fly right by. "For us, it's focus on what we've been doing the last two, three months". Last spring, they drilled Ottawa 7-0 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals to go up 3-2 in the series only to lose Game 6 two days later. If any player, in particular, is made for the limelight in this league, it would be Subban.
The game was over within the first 20 minutes.
The Leafs and Bruins are a near-toss up in this series, with Boston having a slight edge because of the home-ice advantage. The Ducks enter the playoffs as one of the hotter teams in the West, winning eight of their last ten games of the season, but the health of their goaltender John Gibson is a source of concern.
A huge brawl broke out toward the end the third period.
"You guys are talking about sort of all the details and it's just things that we can't be thinking about", Giroux said quickly after an early skate Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are lead by a three-headed monster of youth. He now has 32 goals on the year and 60 career goals in the postseason.
Nevertheless, Boston looks to show the National Hockey League that they are no fluke and have the roster to win it all this year.
The Colorado Avalanche were one of the worst teams last season and were nearly singlehandedly carried by MacKinnon and co. this year. If you don't have a team to watch this postseason, I'd recommend following this series closely. Elliott said afterwards the whole team must be better for the Flyers to compete against their in-state rivals.
The Devils surprised many as the new kids on the rise this season, and qualifying for the playoffs with 44 wins while out-dueling the Florida Panthers for the final Wild Card spot.
From the Metropolitan Division we have our usual players, as the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are likely set up for yet another second round matchup.
They scored three goals on their first 10 shots and five on 19 against the 33-year-old journeyman Wednesday.
"It's one game. Whether it's 7-0 or 1-0 in double overtime, it's one game", said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who had a hat trick in Game 1. The teams split their season series at two games apiece. This part is complicated. Every once in a while they come up with the highlight reel goals.
Thus, I have convinced myself, for the 10th year in a row, that it is the Caps' year.
"In reality, when you have to earn your way and your margin of error is pretty short all the way along, it tests you", Philadelphia coach Dave Haksol said.