Watch NHL Playoffs 2018 Live Stream Online now. The NHL playoffs are finally starting! Will Pittsburgh Penguins win the Conference for the third consecutive year or Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs could threaten the sovereignty of the Pennsylvania franchise?
Pittsburgh Penguins (#2) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (#3)
The current two-time champions are looking for a three-time championship that has not happened since the great Islanders dynasty in the 1980s. Already in the first round they will face one of the most indigestible rivals - a duel of two teams from the same state. It's the Pennsylvania Bowl! Keep an eye out for the teams there in 2018: they've already had a Super Bowl with the Eagles and an NCAA championship with Villanova.
It's no news that these two teams hate each other - this was made clear in the first game of the series on Wednesday night. What was seen in practice was an absolute dominance of the Penguins and a rout of 7 to 0: Sidney Crosby scored a custom hat trick and goalkeeper Matt Murray counted 24 defenses. Will the Flyers react? The last time the two teams met in the playoffs in 2012, we had a run of goals in the six-game series. The tendency is for this to be repeated here.
Tampa Bay Lightning (#1) vs. New Jersey Devils (Wild Card #2)
Already classified, Lightning defeats Islanders in a 13-goal showdown. The current NHL season has gone down in history with seven non-playoff teams in 2017 qualifying for 2018. Two of those teams are here in one of the series that most promise in this first round! These are two teams that started the year in very different ways: while the Devils surpassed all expectations, Tampa Bay was the main title favorite from the start - especially after an overwhelming start.
On Lightning's side, the team hopes to have Steven Stamkos healthy to shine alongside Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman ... What a trio of respect! New Jersey already has nothing less than Taylor Hall, freshman feel Nico Hischier and several veterans with post-season experience. The strong Devils attack can steal a game or two, but you will not be able to take this.
Boston Bruins (#2) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (#3)
I bet no Canadian citizen will forget the duel between Maple Leafs and Bruins in the 2013 playoffs. For those who do not remember, Toronto went on to open 4-1 in Game 7 and eventually took the overtime turnaround. As the promise is of an extremely balanced match, of two teams with real chances of winning the Stanley Cup, it is quite possible that everything will be decided again in the final game seven.
Much has changed on the Maple Leafs side since the 2013 elimination: the team brought coach Mike Babcock, Andersen on goal, and has several talented youngsters like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Now the Bruins have had a spectacular second half of the season and can face the Canadians, sir! The trio Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak have been playing too much.
Washington Capitals (#1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Wild Card #1)
Perhaps the most balanced showdown of this post-season with two teams with MUCH to prove. Despite the massive investment, the Capitals have been disappointing in recent years and failed to even pass the second round of the playoffs in the Alex Ovechkin era. Even losing several important athletes in the last off-season, the team managed to win the Metropolitan Division for the third consecutive year.
The reward? Facing a Columbus Blue Jackets by Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin and commanded by John Tortorella. The team was one of the strongest in the NHL in the second part of the regular season and has a cast full of young talents. The pressure here must also exist, as the franchise is still looking for the first win in NHL playoff history. Certainly this is the most complicated series of betting on the East.
After months of regular season, that time has come to separate boys from men in the NHL ... The playoffs will start! The Stanley Cup race promises to be hot on both sides of the United States - with the traditional four clashes from the East and the West. Stay tuned: matches begin this Wednesday (11) by melting ice in Uncle Sam's Land. Unmissable!
Although double champion Pittsburgh Penguins is in the East, the West is a much more exciting conference with several title contenders facing each other. Who's going to play in that first post-season round? See the preview of the duels with Oddsshark's predictions and betting tips .
Winnipeg Jets (#2) vs. Minnesota Wild (#3)
It's the first time in the history of the playoffs that this confrontation happens! With pardon, the Jets fly with the best NHL quarter-final campaign: 15-4-1. It is with good reason that they appear as favorites, but, as I said at the beginning of the text, this is the time to separate the boys from the men. Winnipeg is a very young team and has a lot to prove in this post-season. This is the second time the franchise has reached the playoffs since moving to Atlanta - and are still looking for their first win.
On the other side, we have a team that makes the sixth consecutive appearance in the post-season, but never gets anywhere. Coach Bruce Boudreau is excellent in the regular season but always ends up being easy prey during the playoffs. The Jets have the second most productive attack, the fifth best defense in goals conceded and are the four best in the use of power-a-play. With the senseless absence of Ryan Suter on the Wild side, they will not have much of a chance here.
Vegas Golden Knights (#1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (Wild Card #1)
On special night for Dustin Brown, Kings defeat Avalanche. What is the limit for this Golden Knights team? We're talking about the biggest campaign in history for an expanding team! They finished first in the Pacific, have the third best campaign of the West, an overwhelming attack and a goalkeeper who was once champion of the Stanley Cup. How not to get excited about this team?
A lot of people tired of making money from them in the regular season - by being considered the underdogs and winning. Does it repeat itself here? I have my doubts. Lack of experience can weigh! How will Erik Karlsson react by being closely scrutinized by the ferocious Drew Doughty? The Kings have several players who have already won the Stanley Cup in the cast - those called clutch: Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Doughty, Jonathan Quick and the reborn Dustin Brown. In the hour of the jaguar drinking water, Kings will give.
Nashville Predators (#1) vs. Colorado Avalanche (Wild Card #2)
In the shootout, Predators defeat Penguins. Can the curse appear here? Since the new salary cap era, only two teams that received the trophy for the best campaign in the regular season (Presidents' Trophy) have won the Stanley Cup - the last to achieve such a feat was the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012. Could Nashville Repeat Who made the Capitals in the last few years?
Nonsense. The tendency is that, at least in that first round, the Predators pass the tractor. It is the most balanced team in the league - the only one with 13 athletes with at least ten goals. On the other side we have an Avalanche without their starting goalkeeper, Semyon Varlamov, and the team's best defender - Erik Johnson. If 100% healthy would already be a challenge both for Colorado, imagine with them outside the team.
Anaheim Ducks (#2) vs. San Jose Sharks (#3)
Of course the NHL playoffs are never complete without a California rivalry. This is the second time Ducks and Sharks have faced each other in the post-season! Who takes? This is the sixth consecutive appearance of Anaheim in the playoffs - the second under the command of Randy Carlyle. It is a team that played very well throughout the regular season led by Rickard Rakell, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Goalkeeper John Gibson has also been spectacular and could lead the team far into the post-season.
On the other hand, it's worth remembering that San Jose played its first Stanley Cup final in history just two years ago. The team remained consistent throughout the season - until the arrival of Evander Kane elevate this team even more than level. This series is the hardest to predict, but the trend is that the Ducks' best moment will weigh down over time.
You can watch the NHL Playoffs 2018 on the following networks: NBCSN, CNBC, TVA Sports, USA, SN, and NHL Network. You can watch the live stream of the games online on NBC Sports website. Watch NHL Playoffs 2018 Live Stream Online now.