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NHL Playoffs Bracket: Matchups, Schedule as Chase for Stanley Cup Gets Underway
July 19 2018, 05:07 | Alexander Lowe
Flyers Draw Penguins in 1st Round of Playoffs
The NHL deal, it's hoping, will get the Hulu brand in front of sports fans and let them know they can catch a wealth of TV sports on the $40-per-month service. The Kings have won two Stanley Cups this decade (2012, 2014). They both have calmer demeanor's. The Penguins are going to get the matchups that they want with home ice in the first two games and they'll also get the matchups they want defensively to shut down Philadelphia's top-end talents. That's fine. In some ways, they've been one all season. They're just moving it around and having puck speed.
There will be no debating this time around for the Penguins as they chase history. Nashville's too deep and talented to avoid a letdown, while the Ducks have the experience to get through the injury-depleted Pacific and untested Vegas. The Preds are loaded throughout their lineup and have more depth than the Avs, most of all in goal with Pekka Rinne. Thing is, that's exactly what Tampa Bay did during the regular season. Colorado is in the playoffs for just the second time in the past eight seasons.
The Golden Knights, who are looking to win the Cup in their inaugural season, play their first playoff game against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena.
But the Jets goaltender did play in a combined 10 games for the United States at the 2015 and 2017 World championships, going 9-1-0 with a.930 save percentage. How they respond to the bright lights and raised intensity of the playoffs, does add intrigue. Los Angeles is back in the postseason after missing the cut a year ago. If there's concern, Stamkos hasn't been fully healthy and told the team's website "my body will never be 100 percent again". Minnesota wasn't too far behind going 27-6-8 at Xcel Energy Center.
They'll garner most of the attention from the NHL's fourth-best defense which allowed just 216 goals this year.
Since the Capitals would need to make the finals to face any of these teams, here's a short look at the series happening out west.
Storyline: Who's got the advantage in goal?
The Predators and Avalanche had very different goals heading into this season. While the Ducks' goalie John Gibson, is injured, their backup goalie Ryan Miller isn't a bad choice to go with as a replacement. There's little doubt this is going to be one of the most heated series of the first round as there's no love lost between the Penguins and Flyers.
Storyline: Which of the Devils D can shut down Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos?
Nashville also boasts the best defence in the National Hockey League; the team's defencemen have combined for 56 goals this season, the highest total in the National Hockey League.
New Jersey earned the second wild card in the Eastern Conference following there 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals to close the regular season on Saturday. Tasking rookie Will Butcher with neutralizing the twosome might be asking a lot, and the same could be said for veteran d-men Andy Greene and Sami Vatanen.
It will be a brutal road to make the Final, but anything is possible come playoff time.
There's a lot of offensive firepower that will be displayed in this series, but it's in net where the most significant story lies. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is third in the east in save percentage and has 37 wins on the season. Standing in their way is a tough Kings team.
"We're all over 30 years old now, we're all supposed to be mature", he said.
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs - A rematch of an unbelievable 7 game series several seasons ago, the Maple Leafs will be out for revenge this time around. All fans in attendance will receive gold T-shirts and towels at every home game.
That's one way to stay penalty-free, and the Flyers did that well during the season, logging the third-lowest total of shorthanded situations in the league. These two teams are infamously known for hating each other immensely. Both fanbases don't like each other.
What happened to the extreme hostilities between the Penguins and Flyers? The Sharks made the Cup final two seasons ago, but were bounced in the first round by Edmonton last spring.
My name is Rob.
"I think sometimes the emotions take over", Couturier admitted.