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Posted (edited)

LA Kings.

Looks like these guys took my comment about not being able to definitively nail down a playoff spot personally....
Since that comment, they have played very well and in fact, are on a current three game winning streak, and are NO LONGER the 'lowest hanging' fruit for teams like Vegas and Vancouver to try and catch for a playoff spot.

LA sits at 94 pts, while Nashville and Dallas (the current wild cards) sit at 93 and 91 respectively.
Vegas is at 89 pts, while Vancouver is at 87 pts.

 


Colorado Avalanche.

So...the running joke now is, which team finishes in that second wild card to be fodder for the number 1 Avalanche.
While that has merit, I just can't shake the feeling that if some somewhat solid defensive team gets in there, like a Dallas, Nashville, or Vegas, that they could actually upset the Avalanche.

Which of course may lead to Avs fans crying about something ELSE this year as to why their team didn't advance.
You know...that actually sounds fun!

Let's go Stars! Let's go Preds! Let's go Knights!
(Sorry Vancouver...even if you make it in, I highly doubt you guys have the stifling necessary to keep Colorado down...you WOULD be fodder...rock fodder!)

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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4 minutes ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

LA Kings.

Looks like these guys took my comment about not being able to definitively nail down a playoff start personally....
Since that comment, they have played very well and in fact, are on a current three game winning streak, and are NO LONGER the 'lowest hanging' fruit for teams like Vegas and Vancouver to try and catch for a playoff spot.

LA sits at 94 pts, while Nashville and Dallas (the current wild cards) sit at 93 and 91 respectively.
Vegas is at 89 pts, while Vancouver is at 87 pts.

 


Colorado Avalanche.

So...the running joke now is, which team finishes in that second wild card to be fodder for the number 1 Avalanche.
While that has merit, I just can't help but shake the feeling that if some somewhat solid defensive team gets in there, like a Dallas, Nashville, or Vegas, that they could actually upset the Avalanche.

Which of course may lead to Avs fans crying about something ELSE this year as to why their team didn't advance.
You know...that actually sounds fun!

Let's go Stars! Let's go Preds! Let's go Knights!
(Sorry Vancouver...even if you make it in, I highly doubt you guys have the stifling necessary to keep Colorado down...you WOULD be fodder...rock fodder!)

I think you are spot on with the Avalanche. I also think they go down in the 1st round to a defensive minded club that can shut them down like a Preds or Stars. The Canucks are done now and the Knights, I think are the team going to be left out.  I definitely think the Preds take down the Avalanche and the Stars will make it really tough.  

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3 minutes ago, Wild Thing said:

I think you are spot on with the Avalanche. I also think they go down in the 1st round to a defensive minded club that can shut them down like a Preds or Stars. The Canucks are done now and the Knights, I think are the team going to be left out.  I definitely think the Preds take down the Avalanche and the Stars will make it really tough.  

 

I won't say the Avs definitely go down in the first round.... hell, they might actually be ready to wrest the Cup for themselves this year.

But what I AM saying is, there is a very distinct possibility that they could find themselves on the outside looking in after one round if the right defensive team matches up with them, even if just for that round.

I've heard lots of excuses from Avs fans over the last two or three seasons or so....injuries, refs, travel...blah, blah, blah.
While some of that may have played a part in the Avs not moving on or missing the playoffs, or whatever it is people were griping about, I like to think that OTHER team on the opposite bench had a lot more to do with it!

A team like Nashville or Dallas ultimately may not make a very long playoff run, but, and this is just a feeling, I feel one of those could be the Kryptonite to the Avs' Supermen.

Feel the same with Florida over in the East.
Could be unseated by a wily Capitals team...or a sneaky tough Boston team.

I mean, if the Blue Jackets can oust a 62-win Lightning team in sweep fashion, some of the above scenarios for the Panthers and Avalanche especially, could happen!

And to be honest, I would find an Avalanche first round exit funny as %$#@! :bigteeth: 

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I also never feel very comfortable with teams that are playing extremely well such as the Avs and the Panthers heading into the playing. I always look for a let down of some sort in the playoffs. Whether that be in the first round of the second round I see it happening with those teams. 

 

I also feel that the teams like the Avs and Panthers have a bit more added pressure on them because they have to be the two teams that are expected to go the distant in their conferences to the finals. That has to add some pressure and all the other teams will most definitely be trying as hard as they can to shoot them down off the top. 

 

I don't see either of those teams making it to the Stanley Cup Finals and there might be whining because of that from their fans as that is what most people are expecting. 

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Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leaves®.

That is looking like the first round match up in the Atlantic between the 2 and 3 seeds there.
Toronto likely gets home ice as they would have to completely fall apart and the Lightning run the table for them to switch places from home team to visitor.

Granted, this is the Leaves® we are talking about, but let's just remember: Their collapses typically don't begin till the playoffs start, so they likely finish strong. :shifty: 

Also, for those out there who feel the defending back to back champions DON'T have pressure:
Look....they are trying to chase history. And right now, that history is the legacy of the early 80's NY Islanders. That is pressure enough.

But to add to that pressure, if they do get the likely first round Toronto opponent, the Bolts have the huge task of keeping alive the tradition and legacy of the Leaves® first round exits!!

I mean, cmon!
Toronto has spent lots of time, money, tears, and years building up that choke reputation.
Bolts simply CANNOT lose to them and ruin all that! :ph34r: 

Pressure from the ghosts of Islanders past, and from the ghosts of dead Leaves® teams.... man, talk about going up against formidable foes...

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2 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leaves®.

Tampa has Columbus twice and NYI to finish the schedule, with the Preds and Panthers.  Boston might only beat the Habs and Sabres, with NYR, Panthers and Leafs.

 

Looks like it'll be Toronto vs. Boston to me.  With them also playing each other in their last game of the schedule.  Toronto takes that matchup.  Even Pens might pass Boston to be the Leafs matchup(Det, Philly, Edm, CBJ).  Still see the Leafs taking round 1 either way.

 

And NYR vs Tampa.  Could be a 7 game series there.

Edited by FireDillabaugh
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6 minutes ago, FireDillabaugh said:

Tampa has Columbus twice and NYI to finish the schedule, with the Preds and Panthers.  Boston might only beat the Habs and Sabres, with NYR, Panthers and Leafs.

 

Looks like it'll be Toronto vs. Boston to me.  With them also playing each other in their last game of the schedule.  Toronto takes that matchup.

 

And NYR vs Tampa.  Could be a 7 game series there.

 

Since the Bruins are only 3 pts behind the Bolts, sure, it is possible for it to be a Tor-Bos first round, which means the Bolts get chucked over to the Metro where they will see either the Canes or Rangers.
Honestly, and taking nothing away from Carolina and/or NY, this wouldn't be a terrible thing for the defending champions....

I still see a Tor-TB first in the Atlantic, but, as they say, that's why they play the games.
To be determined.

If it does turn out to be the Leaves® and Bruins though, Toronto best have a shaman on hand.
Are shamans cleared to enter Canada? Ehhh, for another thread I am sure :ph34r: 


At any rate, Boston has been quite the nemesis for them over the years, particularly in the post season.

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I also see Toronto and Tampa Bay meeting in the 1st round and Toronto will not surprise in what they usually end up doing. It could still be a long series, but Tampa Bay will prevail in the end. 

Edited by Wild Thing
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Again, maybe Tampa loses to Nashville and Florida.  But, I don't see them losing to the Isles or CBJ, which means 3 wins.  I don't see any way they drop to 7 to be a matchup vs. Carolina.  If anything, they just close in closer to NYR, remaining at 5 vs NYR.  Could easily be a 7 game series.

 

I don't see any way for a Tor vs TB series to happen, unless Tampa wants that matchup and tanks a game or two they should win.

 

14 minutes ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

If it does turn out to be the Leaves® and Bruins though, Toronto best have a shaman on hand.
Are shamans cleared to enter Canada? Ehhh, for another thread I am sure :ph34r: 


At any rate, Boston has been quite the nemesis for them over the years, particularly in the post season.

 

New season NHL playoffs.  The past means very little, if anything at all.  And Boston has played some VERY poor games as of late.  While Toronto has been VERY strong aside from them forgetting that they were playing Tampa on Thursday night(with Kallgren in goal, of course).

 

Edited by FireDillabaugh
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Posted (edited)

Edmonton Oilers.

Playing damned good hockey as the season winds down and looking to lock up that home ice playoff spot, and likely to play the LA Kings.
If so, and if Smith and/or Koskinen hold up, I like the Oil's chances of coming out of that series.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl best be ready for lots of close quarter play from the Kings, as well as lots of after whistle shenanigans, and possibly some puck deflating as well....

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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Tampa Bay Lightning.

These guys finally switched on their playoff mode?
Finally put on their "It's Our Damned Cup" faces?

After blowing out the dry Leaves®, I thought the team might be in for a let down against a desperate Nashville team.
Bolts are not only winning 3-1 after 1, but more importantly, seem to be playing with the kind of swagger and attitude that I saw last when they were putting away teams to close out series.

They look sharp in their passing, attacking the net, being much more physical, defending better, and their PP looks lethal once more.
With just a handful of games left before the Big Show starts, they may be starting to play in sync at just the right time.

And if the Champs can play the way they are capable, it really won't matter whether they have home ice or not, and it won't matter if they play Toronto, Carolina, New York, or the stinkin Bruins. (Sorry @Brewin Flames, nothing personal against you!  ;)  ).


Boston Bruins.

Speaking of the B's, solid win vs the NY Rangers earlier today. 
They've been playing some up n down hockey over the last couple weeks and having a fully healthy roster, especially with Ullmark and Bergeron, will be key for them.
The Caps have snuck in right behind them, and they've lost just a bit of ground in their chase to catch TB for the 3rd division spot, but they, like TB, are probably just interested in playing well the last handful of games, as they are likely going to be the road team against whomever they face anyways.

 

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14 minutes ago, Math said:

 

Archived !

 

Hey, let's not forget... I've been giving Dallas a chance all season (pre season I had them finishing behind the Avalanche in the standings), when others had them finishing on the outside looking in without batting an eye.  ;) 

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On 4/13/2022 at 4:46 PM, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

the Panthers are still rather new to this whole "Look we are a winning team!" thing....and as we ALL KNOW, the playoffs are a different colored beast


So it’s not a huge sample of opinion, but based on comments made by Caps fans in their beat writer’s (Samantha Pell) Washington Post articles, here is the consensus:

 

WORST CASE:  Overtake Pittsburgh for 3rd in Metropolitan and face NY Rangers

 

MIDDLE CASE:  Overtake Boston for 1st wildcard and face Carolina Hurricanes

 

BEST CASE:  Stay 2nd wild card, rest up in the final week, lose some games in the process, and face the Sunrise / Pompano Beach / Boca Raton Panthers.

 

Bruins playing solid enough to stay that middle option.  Now, I’m sure the League would frown on it, but do I sense the start of a week-long Race to the Bottom between Pens and Caps to avoid the Rags?  (Of which the current 2-0 Flyers lead over Pens marks the start?)

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1 hour ago, SaucyJack said:

do I sense the start of a week-long Race to the Bottom between Pens and Caps to avoid the Rags?

Halfway through the first against Terranto, it doesn’t look this way for the Caps…certainly not TJ Oshie, he’s a-snipin’ early for 1-0.

 

Plus they’ve given Vanacek a “tough” game unlike his starts @MTL and @ ARI recently.  The duel with Samsonov means they’ll go all out this week in the net. Good chance Pittsburgh avoids the Strangers (?)

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Updates on the Eastern playoff races:

Carolina beats their closest pursuers, the NYR, and clinches the Metro division, so they will be hosting whomever finishes in the 1st WC, and that currently is the Boston Bruins, though there is an outside chance it could be the TB Lightning.

Rangers are getting better and better since last year, but I still think they have some growing to do. Canes were in their place not so long ago, and now I believe, the Canes are poised to make a good run in these playoffs as long as Freddie Andersen holds up in the spotlight and he doesn't bring any of his Leaves® bad luck with him :shifty: 

Speaking of the Leaves®...their win clinches them the 2nd seed in the Atlantic, and as long as the TB Lightning don't lose their last two games while Boston wins the last two games, then the "no way the Leaves® and Lightning meet" matchup will indeed happen, with Toronto playing as the host team.

And speaking of the Champion Lightning....
Those boys are red hot right now! Pummeled Toronto, doubled up on Florida, and took care of Columbus in convincing fashion tonight.
And to me, it's not even about the scores, even though those were impressive as well (8-1 vs Tor, 8-4 vs Fla, and 4-1 against CBS).
It's the swagger, the attitude, the "go get'm" jump about them....the "It's our Cup dammit" way they are playing.
Heating up at the right time? I hope so......really would like them to help keep that Toronto first round exit tradition alive n well! 

Bruins win their game and looked pretty good doing it, against Bobrovsky and the Florida Panthers. They are still perhaps hoping to catch TB for the 3rd Atlantic seed and play against their chew toy, the Toronto Maple Leaves®, but barring that, and barring Washington overtaking them (also possible, though the Caps GOT capped tonight by the Islanders), it likely means Boston goes into the Metro bracket to play the Carolina Hurricanes.


The Pittsburgh Penguins, shedding feathers all over the place down the stretch, lost another one, but hang on by an anorexic point over the Capitals due to Washington dropping their game as well.
Right now, the Rangers will be the host 2nd seed in the Metro, as their quest for the Metro title has ended, and they are lined up against the shaken tuxedoed birds....but still could see the Capitals instead if Pitts doesn't get their beaks out of their egg holes the final couple games.

This leaves (no, not THOSE Leaves® :ph34r: ), the Capitals should they stay in their current 2nd WC position, to face, as the road team, the Florida Panthers in sunrise.
Although, as I hinted earlier and/or elsewhere, the Caps may just be the team to upset the high octane Panthers due to their experience, skill, and "been there before" attitude.
Of course, the Caps best hope they have Alex Ovechkin along for the proceedings (currently out with some ailment), because they will certainly need the big Russian to punch holes in Florida's catnip bag.

A Wsh-Fla series could turn into a track meet, and in that scenario, wild n woolly, I'd say the Panthers take it.
Caps need timely play, smart play, and Ovie doing Ovie things out there!

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1 hour ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

The Pittsburgh Penguins, shedding feathers all over the place down the stretch, lost another one, but hang on by an anorexic point over the Capitals due to Washington dropping their game as well.

These look to be two teams you want your guys to play.  Caps end their home season with familiar 3rd period calamity (albeit without Ovechkin.). Still they might edge out Pittsburgh splitting games in The Apple.

 

I hate to break it to Toronto…but it’s a horrible break for them to play Tampa Bay.  They goin’ down agin’ 1st Round.

 

Carolina getting Boston is no decent reward for winning a division either.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, SaucyJack said:

These look to be two teams you want your guys to play.  Caps end their home season with familiar 3rd period calamity (albeit without Ovechkin.). Still they might edge out Pittsburgh splitting games in The Apple.

 

I hate to break it to Toronto…but it’s a horrible break for them to play Tampa Bay.  They goin’ down agin’ 1st Round.

 

Carolina getting Boston is no decent reward for winning a division either.

 

Eastern playoffs will surely be beastly up n down the brackets!
I will have my Western babblings up soon...

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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Western Playoff Updates:

Well, will start with the ONE match up that has been locked in for some time now: the Minnesota Wild vs the St. Louis Blues.
The only question remaining between these two Central C2 and C3 teams is.... Who gets the home ice?
Both have the same amount of points, though St. Louie holds the tie breaker due to more regulation wins.
Both teams have a similar make up and play style (welcome Wild to big boy hockey...you measure up now!).
Both were outstanding at home, and thus home ice could be very important in a series between these two.

Wild shanked a chance to move ahead of the Blues with a loss to lowly Arizona (squandering their game in hand), but right now, the Blues are losing to the Avs 4-1 in the 3rd as of this posting, so things could remain status quo if Colorado hangs on.

Colorado...well, they have long clinched the Central and are waiting for what many are calling 'cannon fodder' either in the form of Nashville, Dallas, or the now long shot Vegas (Vancouver was flushed down the Orca Bowl but more on that in a bit).
Avs will and should be favored against any three of those teams they face, but you know what? Just like I feel with a Caps vs Panthers matchup in the East, I feel that a team like a Dallas or Nashville (maybe the Knights too...if they survive), CAN upset the 'mighty' Avs due to the defensive play, goaltending, and hard nosed styles.

I would put my mortgage money on it, but let's just say it wouldn't surprise me too much to see the Avs (and their fans) lamenting yet another lost year of MacKinnon and companies prime years!

Sliding on down to the Wild Cards....you have Nashville, who punched their ticket even though they lost in OT to the Flames. And that is because, their fellow WC team, the 2nd WC Dallas Stars, beat the Vegas Golden Knights, leaving Vegas on life support (they will have to win their final two, Dallas will have to lose their final two), and doing away with Vancouver in the process.

The Canucks.
Made a hard charge after getting Bruce Boudreau behind the bench, but, too little too late...and besides, as I stated earlier and elsewhere, I did NOT think they had a chance to upset the Avalanche anyways.
Some tweaking in the off season, maybe a splashy trade or two, get a bit tougher overall, maybe they are in the mix next season.

But getting back to teams that are getting Lord Stanley's invites (or can get one), now the Preds and Stars will see (assuming Dallas wins one more) who finishes in WC 1, and who finishes WC 2. Lower wild card will get their chance to try and upset the Avalanche, but WC2 gets Calgary, which is another beast entirely, as Darryl Sutter has those Flames playing like the championship Kings did some years ago!
Bad news for WC2......... should have made the big deal for the year's supply of canned squid behind door number 1 :shifty: 

Calgary Flames. Will finish as the Pacific Champs, and 2nd overall seed.
Looking good, lots of swagger, lots of toughness, lots of hunger. They are gonna be handful for anyone....and maybe a SC Finalist.

Then we go down to the Edmonton and Los Angeles.
A match up that looked like it was inevitable, then it didn't because the Kings faltered a bit, but then became reality once again once both the Oilers and Kings started putting wins together.

Edmonton put a hurt on Pittsburgh today...smothering those birds in some really nasty castor stuff.
The Oilers will be the hosting team, as I am sure is their preference, and will invite the royal Kings into Canada...only to try and rudely boot them back out over the border!
Canada HAS no kings after all..... and it is TOO LATE for LA to change their name to the Los Angeles Prime Ministers....

Classic match up of speed and scoring vs. defense?
Hmm...one would think, but both the Oilers and Kings have shown themselves down the stretch to be a bit more than just those simple things.
Key will be who can dictate the pace and tempo better.

Oilers have two of the best players in the league on their team, but their goaltending CAN be suspect (looking good lately though), while the Kings have wily ol Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty leading the way for some unknowns and some guys who are somewhat known, but people probably aren't expecting much from.
Also for LA... will Jonathan Quick be given a chance to relive glory? Or will Cal Petersen be given his chance to rise up? Or will they do an old Jacque Lemaire-esque thing he did with Dwayne Roloson and Manny Fernandez years ago with the Wild and just alternate the goalies?

And double also.... Will Drew Doughty keep his mouth shut about what other players are thinking or doing and just focus on keeping his team going in the post season? Or will he Twitter or Instagram his team out of everything, leaving Edmonton with the last laugh (and MAYBE a meeting with fellow Albertans, the Flames) in Round 2?

We will see....

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