With the start of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs getting underway in just over 48 hours, it’s time to take a look at the teams that are in the field and their respective first round matchups while offering a few predictions on my quartet of conference finalists.Here are the first-round playoff matchups that will be taking place in the NHL this postseason. The top three teams in each division earn berths in the playoffs. The next two teams in terms of total points in the conference, regardless of division, earn the wild-card spots. This provides a total of eight teams from each conference.The top seed in each division plays one of the wild-card teams in its conference. The division leader with the most points plays the wild-card team with the fewest points. The second and third seeds in each division face each other in the first round. Find out more about the updated NHL betting odds here.
2017 NHL Playoffs Projected Matchups & Conference Predictions
Montreal Canadiens vs. New York RangersThe seventh-seeded New York Rangers (48-28-6, 102 points) may have the better record in this first round series, but they also struggled mightily down the stretch by losing two of their last three games, five of seven and seven of their final 10 games overall.Conversely, the second-seeded Canadiens (47-26-9, 103 points) won six of their final eight games while taking the regular season series against the Rangers 3-0. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.Jan 14, 2017: New York 4, Montreal 5Feb 21, 2017: Montreal 3, New York 2 (SO)Mar 4, 2017: Montreal 4, New York 1
Ottawa Senators vs. Boston BruinsFifth-seeded Boston (44-31-7, 95 points) had won six straight until dropping their final two regular season games. Ottawa (44-28-10, 98 points) ended its regular season with a 4-2 loss against the Islanders, but won their previous three games – after dropping its previous five. Ottawa won their first two meetings against Boston by two goals while taking their final two regular season meetings by a goal. Still, fifth-seeded Boston has the edge in every significant statistical category except goaltending. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Regular season series (Senators lead 4-0-0)|
Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple LeafsTop-seeded Washington (55-19-8, 118 points) recorded more points than any team in hockey and closed out the regular season by winning four of their final five games and eight of 10 overall. Eighth-seeded Toronto (40-27-15, 95 points) dropped three of their final four regular season games, including a humbling 4-1 loss at home against Washington while losing the regular season series against the Caps 3-0. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Nov 26, 2016||Washington 2, Toronto 4|
|Jan 3, 2017||Toronto 5, Washington 6 (OT)|
|Apr 4, 2017||Washington 4, Toronto 1|
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue JacketsSixth-seeded Columbus (50-24-8, 108 points) managed to snap its uninspiring six-game losing streak by beating Toronto 3-2 in its regular season finale while third-seeded Pittsburgh (50-21-11, 111 points) dropped its final two regular season games after winning their previous four games. These two Eastern Conference Stanley Cup hopefuls split the regular season series 2-2. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Regular season series (Series tied 2-1-1)|
Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary FlamesSeventh-seeded Calgary (45-33-4, 94 points) lost three of their final four regular season games including a 3-1 road loss to Anaheim. The second-seeded Ducks (46-23-13, 105 points) closed out their regular season by winning four straight and eight of their last 10 games overall. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Regular season series (Ducks lead 4-1-0)|
Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose SharksSan Jose (46-29-7, 99 points) hits the postseason having won three of their last four games, but Edmonton (47-26-9, 103 points) is much hotter having won three straight and eight of their final nine regular season games overall. More importantly, the Oilers have the edge in scoring and goaltending. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Regular season series (Oilers lead 3-1-1)|
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville PredatorsEighth-seeded Nashville (41-29-12, 94 points) hits the postseason having lost three of four and five of their last seven games overall, but top-seeded Chicago (50-23-9, 109 points) lost four straight to close out the regular season and a uninspiring seven of their last 10 games overall. Still, the Chicago Blackhawks won four straight in their regular season series against the Predators, including four straight. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Regular season series (Blackhawks lead 4-1-0)|
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis BluesFifth-seeded St. Louis (46-29-7, 99 points) closed out the regular season by winning three straight and seven of their final 10 games but third-seeded Minnesota (49-25-8, 106 points) won four straight and five of their final six games. The Wild will be looking for revenge after losing the regular season series 3-2. Here is a look at the regular season series outcomes.
|Regular season series (Blues lead 3-2-0)|