Connect with us


Four First Round Series We Need in the NHL Playoffs

We’re just a few weeks away from the first round – here’s what we’d love to see.

Vegas vs Edmonton

Neither team deserves this matchup in the first round, but it sure would make for an entertaining series. The city of Edmonton is going to be juiced up for the postseason regardless of who they’re playing first, but an opportunity to get a measure of revenge on the defending champs would amplify everything. 

Vegas may have been stumbling a few weeks ago, but the team has turned it around recently and is 8-2-1 in their last eleven games. They’re also currently without a few players that could very well be back for Game 1 of the playoffs. On the other side, everyone knows about Edmonton’s struggles at the beginning of the season, but since their coaching change, they’ve been the best team in the NHL. It’s no exaggeration to say that this series would have two legitimate Cup contenders battling just to get through the first round. Many people think that Edmonton’s postseason breakthrough will happen soon, but every failure from now on will weigh more heavily than the last on this team. Despite the brilliance of Connor McDavid, he has only been on the Oilers for four series wins and has been to the Western Conference Finals just once.

Again, neither team deserves to see the other here after their seasons, but with how stacked the West is, some very good teams won’t make it to the second round. As a neutral hockey fan, every game of this series would be must-watch TV.

Colorado / Dallas vs Winnipeg

It almost a certainty at this point that Winnipeg will end the season at third in the Central and face either Dallas or Colorado in the first round. They’ve been trending in the wrong direction for the last few weeks and have just one win in their last seven games. However, any team with Connor Hellebuyck in the crease will have a chance to do some damage in the playoffs. It also wasn’t that long ago that some were calling this team one of the best in the NHL. Winnipeg’s sustained success wasn’t a fluke this season, but they’ll need to find their game again in these last few weeks before the playoffs.

Unfortunately for both teams playing, the Central division has set up another very tough road to the Cup. Despite Winnipeg’s successful season, it’s tough to imagine them going up against either Dallas or Colorado without home ice advantage and winning the series. Both teams are playing some of their best hockey of the season right now and have more experience with deep playoff runs. However, I’d expect the Jets to give them a very good series and make this another must-watch matchup in the Western conference’s first round. 

Florida / Boston vs Toronto

Any first round series involving Toronto will get national interest and attention, but a matchup with either of these two teams will be incredible. With the way the standings are looking, it’s almost inevitable at this point, too. Like Winnipeg, the Maple Leafs are probably a little too far back to challenge for their division’s top spot and will most likely stay in third place for the rest of the season. This will set them up with a very tall task in the first round.

If you asked Toronto fans which team they’d rather see to open up the playoffs, I’m sure you’d get a lot of both answers. It’s truly a ‘pick your poison’ situation, as the Panthers eliminated them last season in five games while the Bruins have ended three Toronto seasons in Game 7 over the last eleven years. However, the Maple Leafs will eventually have to beat the best to be the best, and a first round matchup with Florida or Boston will give them an opportunity to do just that. 

It’s safe to say that Toronto has bad blood with both Boston and Florida. Because of that, this Atlantic Division series is going to be fantastic. Despite being dominated last year by the Panthers, I think Toronto will be more ready for the type of game they’ll be going up against this year. If they get Boston instead, no one will have to remind anyone in the room what Brad Marchand and the Bs have done to the city of Toronto in playoff hockey recently. For neutral hockey fans looking for a great first round series, this is a win-win situation. 

New York Rangers vs Tampa Bay

If there was one Wild Card opponent I wouldn’t want to see in the first round this year, it would be the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite a less than stellar regular season, this team cannot be taken lightly in the postseason. Even if they had limped into the playoffs, they’d be a scary team to see, but that’s not the case right now. The Bolts seem to actually be hitting their stride lately and are 8-1-1 in their last ten games. 

Of course, the other team in this series is no joke either. In fact, despite Tampa Bay’s playoff reputation, the Rangers would still be the favorite in this matchup after a fantastic regular season. Artemi Panarin and the core group of forwards have been incredible all year for New York, but most importantly, Igor Shesterkin is coming into form at exactly the right time. Shesterkin had a tough start to the season, but since the All-Star Game, he’s been excellent. Veteran goalie Jonathan Quick also played a large role in winning games when Shesterkin was slumping, so the Rangers know they have two guys who can get it done in the crease. 

Overall, this first round series would be amazing. Could the battle tested Bolts best one of the regular season’s top teams and continue to defy the odds in the postseason, or would the Rangers avenge their Conference Finals loss from two seasons ago? With New York actually in the conference’s top position right now, this matchup isn’t a guarantee like a few others on our list. However, given the playoff history of these teams both separately and against each other, we’d love to see them meet again.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Must See

More in Hockey