Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers preview and prediction

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers preview and prediction

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers preview and prediction

The 10-game winning streak in January was the period that showed me Bernier was going to help this team make the playoffs. These teams last met in the postseason in 2012, when the Flyers won a high-scoring and violent series in six games.

The Golden Knights, who are looking to win the Cup in their inaugural season, play their first playoff game against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena. Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov were horrendous.

New Dorp Beach resident Kevin Labanc is a right wing for the San Jose Sharks while right wing Zach Aston-Reese is a right wing for the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

The next matchup is going to be called: The Battle of California, as the (2) Anaheim Ducks will take on the (3) San Jose Sharks. He finished with 98 points and lead the team. If necessary, Games 5 and 7 will be played in Tampa, and Game 6 in Newark. I think the Sharks have better goaltending in Martin Jones compared to Anaheim's John Gibson and/or Ryan Miller, but the Ducks are more physical and tough than the Sharks are. He's gone 12-6-6 and has a.928 save percentage.

The Leafs never fell off, however, thanks to a number of factors, including the goaltending of Andersen and backup Curtis McElhinney, the ability to put the puck in the net (277 goals, tied for second overall) and strong special teams (second overall on the power play and 11th on the penalty kill).

The Presidents' Trophy-winning Predators beat the Avalanche in all four of their meetings this season. The season series doesn't offer Colorado much hope here, sadly. Nashville has proven to be an offensive scoring machine against Colorado. But the Predators' deep forward group and stud defence backstopped by Vezina Trophy contender Pekka Rinne is a hard hill to climb. This is a really good Philly team and we know all about them, they know all about us and the rivalry here and all that.

(3) Minnesota Wild vs (2) Winnipeg Jets: This is by far the most interesting series in the first round in the west.

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With only a few games remaining in the National Hockey League regular season, it's time to shift your brain into "playoff mode". The Wild's goalie Devan Dubnyk has a 35-16 record, but has more playoff experience.

Rick Nash missed Boston's final 12 games with an upper body injury after being acquired in a trade with the Rangers. "Them getting (Derick) Brassard as a third-line center, I mean, he's not a third-line center on any other team".

Storyline: Will whoever steals home-ice advantage win the series?

In a league with so much parity, it is unsafe to call a series over before it even starts.

The Washington Capitals have not gone beyond the second round of playoffs since Alex Ovechkin joined them in 2005, a blemish on the record of the 600-goal scorer who has seen rival Sidney Crosby collect three Cups in the same span. Ovechkin has 46 goals and 90 points in 96 career postseason games, so it's not all his fault. These two teams are infamously known for hating each other immensely. But, there's always that one aspect of each series that many fans and critics will keen on keeping an eye on. Claude Giroux bounced-back this season with his first 100 point season of his career, in the process making himself a prime Hart trophy candidate. He had to make just 17 saves in the latter contest and, when tested, looked much better than he did against the Hurricanes. Pittsburgh was at 91.0% which is at the bottom of the league and Philadelphia's was 92.4%, good for 14th.

Tampa opens their playoff series at home against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, the same night Boston and Toronto kick off.

A Penguins-Capitals style repeat could happen this year with the Central's Predators and Jets on a crash course for a second-round showdown and the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning locked into a stacked Atlantic bracket with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Keith Kincaid took over the crease as the Devils pushed for the playoffs before securing the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but veteran netminder Cory Schneider remains in the picture should he falter.

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