The 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs begin tonight with four games across the Eastern and Western Conferences.
It went down to the wire in the final game of the regular season to finalize the bracket for the First Round of the 2023 #StanleyCup Playoffs.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 15, 2023
Eastern Conference Previews
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (8) Florida Panthers
The Boston Bruins seem to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They smashed a 47-year-old record by garnering 135 points, three more than the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens.
They face a Florida Panthers squad that has endured an up-and-down season just a year removed from winning the President’s Cup. A late push secured the Cats a playoff berth, but will they have what it takes to push past the behemoth Bruins? Game one of the series in Boston is tonight at 7:30 on ESPN.
TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT ‼️
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 17, 2023
(4) Toronto Maple Leaves vs. (6) Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning bested the Leaves in seven games last year en route to their Stanley Cup Final loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Tampa Bay struggled against lesser opponents this season but rose to the occasion against tougher opponents. This series is expected to be a nail-biter. Game one’s puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 Tuesday night in Toronto.
You ready, #Bolts Nation?? ⚡️
— x – Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 15, 2023
(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (7) New York Islanders
The Islanders, led by Ilya Sorokin, have a chance at a major upset.
New York has one of the better defenses in the league that is known to wear down opponents. Carolina is a multi-faceted team with a depth of talented scorers, headlined by Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas. The series begins tonight in Carolina.
(3) New Jersey Devils vs (5) New York Rangers
The Devils feature many strong players who are not experienced in the NHL playoffs. Despite this, there is a reason for optimism.
The Rangers added former Stanley Cup champions Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane to their roster at the trade deadline. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider both recorded 30+ goal seasons and will look to factor into the series that begins Tuesday night in Jersey.
(1) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (8) Winnipeg Jets
Vegas is back in the Stanley Cup playoffs after a one-year absence. This season has been a “next man up” mentality for the Golden Knights, who have had key players miss time and in response have seen contributions from every member of the team.
The Jets were a team that looked like an early favorite before limping to the playoffs. They are considered the least dangerous offensive team to reach the playoffs. The series begins Tuesday night in Vegas.
(2) Edmonton Oilers vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings
The Oilers’ late-season surge has them posted to do damage in the postseason.
Since March 1, they are 18-2-1 and have led the NHL in scoring while also allowing the eighth-fewest goals in that time. The Kings lack playoff experience with their goalkeepers but have received offensive contributions from just about every player on their roster.
The series begins tonight in Edmonton.
(4) Dallas Stars vs. (6) Minnesota Wild
Jake Oettinger leads a Dallas squad looking to avenge last year’s first-round playoff exit.
The Stars are one of the most prolific offensive teams in the West, but the question will be if other weapons can ease the burden on Oettinger to perform. Minnesota lost its leading scorer, Kirill Kaprizov, for the final month of the season but still cruised to a playoff spot. They will look for others to step up in his absence and rely on the goaltending tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson to carry them.
The series begins tonight in Dallas.
(3) Colorado Avalanche vs. (7) Seattle Kraken
The defending champions against a franchise making its first postseason appearance in its second season.
The Avs have struggled with their fair share of injuries this year, but that didn’t stop them from winning the Central in convincing fashion. Seattle’s transformation has been due in large part to a top-tier offense. The Kraken are a top-five team in goals scored, with 13 players who have scored more than 10 goals. The series begins Tuesday in Denver.
— y – Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 16, 2023