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NHL Playoffs Off to Competitive Start

After a season with very close playoff races and a couple teams just squeaking into the postseason, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway. There are many intriguing first round match-ups that are due to bring upsets and bring a team’s playoff hopes to a quick and abrupt end.

While many experts originally thought the Washington Capitals will make an easy playoff run and sweep through the playoffs with no problem, the experts were forced to think again. The President’s Trophy winners hit a little bump in the road toward the end of the season losing their last five of seven games.  For the Capitals, “That first-round series won’t be easy against a Philadelphia squad that had success against the Caps this year, but this seems like the year for Washington to do something special” according to Chris Peters from CBS Sports.

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These Stanley Cup Playoffs have a very unusual mix of teams.  Looking at the playoff bracket, “There may not be any Canadian teams in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there are still plenty of terrific first round match-ups to watch” according to Sportsnet Staff.  As many Americans know, hockey is the sport in which Canadians live and breathe.  

To not have a team represent Canada in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is very unusual as they usually produce great players and have great fan bases.

There are many interesting first round match-ups in the playoffs this year.  A TSN writer, Scott Cullen, believes the first round winners will be the Capitals,  Penguins, Blues, Ducks, Sharks, and Panthers winning in six games.  The Lightning will win in seven, and the Stars will win in five.  Of course, none of these are for sure by any means, but it is nice to get some expert’s incite on whom he believes will advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Everyone loves a Cinderella story, but according to some experts, the two eight-seeded teams – the Philadelphia Flyers and the Minnesota Wild – seem to be the losers in many first round predictions.  Once again, everyone loves an upset, and from the previous playoffs that may just happen.

There really is no guaranteed winner this year, but it’s like that every year. Having a multitude of teams in the playoffs this year with very different playing styles and players should make for a very exciting Stanley Cup run for all of these teams and their fans.

As of April 17, 2016 the Capitals, Stars, Sharks, and Predators all currently have 2-0 game leads against their opponents.  The Rangers and Penguins are tied a game apiece at 1-1. Finally, the Blues, Lighting, and Islanders lead their series 2-1.

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