April 17 2015 05:36PM
For the second straight season under the new playoff format, five of the eight Western Conference playoff spots have been captured by Central Division teams. In the first round of the playoffs, as a result of this, we get a match-up between the Central's best team and arguably the hottest team in the NHL.
The St. Louis Blues have been one of the NHL's better teams for the past few seasons, finishing near the top of the West in each of the past four seasons. Once again, under the guidance of Ken Hitchcock, the Blues have finished strong. Last season, a strong Blues finish was erased by the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat them in the first round.
And once again, the Blues have drawn a red-hot team to open the post-season. This year it's the surging Minnesota Wild, who went on an incredible run to even make the playoffs: they went 27-10-2 following the acquisition of Devan Dubnyk from Arizona. Dubnyk started all but one of those games.
The Dubnyk Factor is but one of several things that will decide this series, and whether the playoff legacy of the Blues will again be tarnished.
Nation World HQ
April 17 2015 06:30AM
The first round, Leaf's mass firing, Canucks defense could be problematic, Jets least likely to win Cup, Jay Feaster's Flames, a look at Mac T's first 2 years as Oilers GM and more in this week's Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.
April 16 2015 12:46PM
This series really looks like David vs. Goliath at a glance. The Lightning, who are one of the strongest offensive teams in the league, will face a team who faded down the stretch, just limping into the playoffs. The Atlantic Division rivals have become accustomed to one another over the season, but have never met in the playoffs, as Detroit was just recently relocated to the Eastern Conference.
The Red Wings know all about the playoffs. In fact, they haven’t actually missed the playoffs since the 1985-86 season, meaning they’ve made it to the big show in every single season that their opponents, the Lightning, have even existed as an NHL franchise.
The Lightning have looked poised to break out and establish themselves as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, and perhaps the cream of the Eastern Conference, but while somewhat inconsistent this season, Detroit still boasts a strong and experienced group capable of doing damage in the playoffs.
Let’s take a look.
April 16 2015 11:16AM
In the immortal words of Fox Mulder, "Nobody likes a math geek, Scully."
Especially when they predict that the St. Louis Blues will win the Cup this year. Ugh.
And yet, there we are. So how exactly did we get to this horrible, horrible outcome? Let's open up this particular X-File and find out...
April 15 2015 08:00AM
It is the eye of the storm for fans devoted to the Winnipeg Jets. The celebrations for the Jets very first playoff excursion since the move have all but settled. For some, this is their first time. For others this is just the first time in a long time.
The playoffs are far more familiar territory for the Anaheim Ducks, with only missing twice since the last lockout-cancelled season. Situations may look familiar to some Duck fans, but there are some significant changes this year and the Ducks are hoping these push them past their second round roadblock.
Let's take a deeper look into this series after the jump.