The NHL Playoffs are one of the best sporting events every year.
The intense battles on the ice are matched by the passion of the fans. Home ice is not always an advantage and series more often than not go to seven games. Reverse sweeps (where a team comes from 0-3 down to win a series 4-3) are not uncommon and the lowest seeded teams seem to have much greater chance to win through the playoffs than in other sports.
Even if your team is not playing, which mine (the Philadelphia Flyers) is not this year after a frustrating season, which is another story altogether, the playoffs are a must watch event.
A great feature of playoff time is the Stanley Cup Bracket Challenge run on nhl.com.
I have had a go at one which can be seen below.
In the Eastern Conference finals I have a replay of last season, with the New York Rangers defeating the Montreal Canadiens to progress to the Stanley Cup finals.
I will however, be pulling for the New York Islanders to come through, giving the ling-suffering fans a thrill in their last season at the Nassau Coliseum. I see a second round match up with the Rangers which will excite New Yorkers no end. This unfortunately is where it will end for the Islanders.
Out in the West, Nashville, coached by former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, will get the job done over the cinderella team of the playoffs Calgary.
If the Predators make the Western Conference Finals they will have to go through Chicago and most likely St.Louis, two tough teams but certainly gettable in the early rounds of the playoffs.
Each year a team challenges for the title that was not expected to and this year it will be the Flames. Rookie Johnny Gaudreau has been a very important player for Calgary with 64 points from 80 games, earning the nickname “Johnny Hockey”.
It by no means will be an easy task for the Flames. If they can get through the grudge match with the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, the equal Western Conference leader Anaheim Ducks will most likely await.
In the Stanley Cup finals, the New York Rangers will end their 21 year Stanley Cup drought and take home the Cup
What does your bracket look like? Feel free to critique mine.