Pens begin playoffs Wednesday against Flyers

Pens begin playoffs Wednesday against Flyers

Pens begin playoffs Wednesday against Flyers

That's right, I didn't stutter. If they lose, and even they lose because Bernier wasn't good, I can't complain.

Pacific Division champion Vegas Golden Knights (51-24-7, 109) vs. The Predators are looking to be on the other side this year, as they have a chance to win their first ever Stanley Cup.

It will be a brutal road to make the Final, but anything is possible come playoff time.

The Capitals got to know the Maple Leafs well past year, getting pushed to six games against a scrappy, up-and-coming team. Eric Staal's 76 points (42 goals, 34 assists) were third-most in team history. "I think our team has shown it over time here that when we play with a certain level of focus, a certain level of discipline and that diligence shift in and shift out, then that's when our team is at its very best". Not to mention goalie Pekka Rinne, who is a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy this year. The final prediction: Winnipeg wins the series in 6 games.

The Winnipeg Jets have been the best team entering the playoffs with a 15-4-1 record in the final quarter of the regular season. They finished what, two points behind us? There they can stand on the sidewalk with a good view of the projector-screen TV the team likes to set up outside the arena, a perk for regular Joe and Mary Penguins fan who didn't spend that week's paychecks for a pair of tickets.

There is no denying that the Vegas Golden Knights have put together one of the best stories of the 2017-18 National Hockey League season. The Avalanche however, have lost a few big pieces to their team as they've lost defenseman Erik Johnson and goalie Semyon Varlamov. While they also allowed the 20th most goals, though they were 13th in the National Hockey League after the All-Star Break.

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.

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Goaltending is crucial in every playoff series but in this one, it's going to be massive. Led by captain Blake Wheeler, sniper Patrik Laine, a tough blue line and Vezina candidate Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg looks ready to give the city its first series win since the old Jets advanced to the second round in 1987.

On the season, the Flyers are averaging 3.0 goals and 20.7 percent power play per game. It put a damper on the end of a season in which he recorded 86 points, his most since the 2011-12 season. The Leafs won three of four meetings this season, but there wasn't much to choose between the clubs. He finished with 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points. This team shouldn't scare the Devils much. It will be tight, but the Lightning should pull through.

Toronto at Boston, 6 p.m. A 27-5-3 streak over 35 games throttled them toward the top of the Eastern Conference, but they might have peaked too early. However, after Gibson got hurt in the playoffs against Nashville, Bernier came in and left Ducks fans wanting. This matchup is a coin flip, because both teams have many things working with them and against them. Beyond this series, Hulu's live TV viewers can stream the top sports networks and live games from major pro and college leagues, including NCAA football and basketball, EPL soccer, NFL, MLB, NBA and more. The Flyers pulled off the upset thanks in part to a meltdown by Pittsburgh.

Alex Ovechkin can still control any game on any given night despite becoming an elder statesman of the league at 32. Defensively, the Flyers is yielding 2.9 goals and 75.8 percent penalty kill per game.

So step aside Chicago, which missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years, and say bye to the Blues, whose six-year playoff run is over.

Vanek's personal numbers are not the only reason he was considered to be the biggest acquisition the Blue Jackets made at the deadline though; his presence also kick started line-mate Boone Jenner and got his scoring touch going once again. This is a series where I don't think we're going to be picked by a lot of people going into it. 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. Paced by Eric Staal, Minnesota had a great start to the second half of the season, but has slowed a bit in recent weeks.

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