The Stanley Cup playoffs are just beginning with the hottest teams in the league competing for the prestigious Stanley Cup. The top sixteen teams make the playoffs with 3 teams coming from each division with two wild card teams.
The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins look to three peat this year with veteran leader and captain Sidney Crosby. They will play their interstate rival the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs.
The number one team coming out of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division champions is the Tampa Bay Lightning strive to continue their success in the playoffs and return to the championship game after three years when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 the finals. Tampa Bay will take on the New Jersey Devils in round one.
All three California teams made it into the playoffs this year. The Anaheim Ducks captured second in the Pacific division after the last game of the regular season, San Jose placed in third, and the Kings took the first wild card spot.
The President Trophy winner (the team with the best seasonal record) the Nashville Predators are looking to return to the finals this year and win this time.
Anaheim is set to play San Jose in the first round, while Los Angeles plays the hot new expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas has been the story this season as they are the first expansion team to win their division in their inaugural season.
The team is full of unwanted players from other teams and they play with a chip on their shoulder. They have proved to the league that they could be a powerhouse.
Therefore an exciting first round preludes to the second round. The first round consisted of a couple of sweeps and a couple series that when down to the wire in a winner take all game seven.
The Vegas Golden Knights are set to take the San Jose Sharks after their sweep of Los Angeles and after San Jose swept Anaheim in the first round. The other Western Conference series has the Winnipeg Jets against the Nashville Predators.
Winnipeg defeated the Minnesota Wild in five games. Nashville beat the the Colorado Avalanche in six games.
In the Eastern Conference the second is set with the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Boston Bruins.