To win in the playoffs, teams need big games from their best players. I'm just here to make my picks for the first round.
In Boston, the Bruins have to be better in Game 2 (8 p.m. ET, NBC) on Saturday after losing the series opener on home ice. "I don't think I deserve to be suspended". They're a high-end 5v5 team, elite on the power play, elite on the penalty kill, and they have a Vezina-caliber goaltender. The Capitals led 2-0, and all seemed well.
In a matchup of the two top goaltenders in games won this season, Columbus' Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for Tampa Bay.
The highly anticipated match-up between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs did not disappoint as four of the six games ended in dramatic sudden death overtime with the series victor coming off the stick of Brad Marchand. A year ago the Bruins bested Toronto in the first round and that's where they'll meet up once again. But the lack of goal scoring could be problematic. "Guys should be mad, but it's not going to be easy this time of year".
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Mats Zuccarello also scored, helping Dallas continue its success from the regular season in Nashville, where the Stars won twice. Oh, and then there is their all-star goaltender in Braden Holtby behind it all. If they can contain the Penguins' power play and capitalize on their chances, then they can move onto the next round. The Penguins haven't had the greatest of seasons, but they still have the individual talent to get through to the second round. It's so special. He is so good, it is just such a pleasure to watch him play and to be on his team.
Teravainen also is second on the team with a plus/minus of 30, right behind Brett Pesce's 35. They don't have a lot of depth while the Penguins do.
It also proves that anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you just have to be in the post-season for the magic to begin.
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Welcome back to the playoffs, New York Islanders.
The Central division bracket is the one pod where it feels believable that any of the four teams could come out alive. Nashville, on the other hand, has been a constant in the playoffs as of late.
Everyone expected Winnipeg to be a wagon this season, but they haven't looked quite right. They have the depth and talent to do it again with the likes of P.K. Subban, Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi and Filip Forseberg, again all guys that have been here before and know how to get things done. This number has actually drifted a dime further in Washington's direction since opening despite metrics indicating this will be one of the tightest first-round matchups. This time the team made good; Staal tipped a point shot from defenseman Dougie Hamilton with exactly five minutes left, tying the game at three with Carolina's first power-play tally of the series. At 19 years, 266 days old, he became the youngest defenseman in franchise history to score in the playoffs and the fifth teenage rookie defenseman with two points in his postseason debut. With the Predators, Jets and Blues all making the Western Conference Final within the last three years, it is safe to say any team has a shot. The Golden Knights are a different team with Mark Stone, who arrived at the trade deadline. Along with players like Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Bryan Little there is no lack of skill. "I've been thinking just to hit the net and get it on it". Binnington is 24-5-1 since his NHL debut with only a 1.89 goals against average (first in the league), and he shows no sign of slowing down. I'm not going to complain about a call or no-call.
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Teuvo Tervavainen has been the second best player on the canes this year by a wide margin.