3 Intriguing 1st Round Match-ups if the NHL Playoffs Started Today
Yes, the NHL Playoffs are right around the corner. However, we were curious what the NHL Playoffs would look like if it were to start right now. What we found were three key match-ups on the board that would make for interesting series to watch at home.
New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
This could easily be an Eastern Conference Finals matchup this NHL Playoffs, so it would be unfortunate if one of these teams were to be ousted in the first round. As their records show, both teams are pretty even. The New York Rangers are 43-24-9 with 95 point, while the Pittsburgh Penguins are 43-25-8 with 94 points.
Just five days ago we saw a preview of what a first round battle between these two rivals may look like. The Penguins won a tough game on the road to defeat the Rangers 3-2 in overtime. The win gave the Penguins a 3-1 edge in the regular season series.
This would be a very exciting first-round match-up and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the winner of this series goes on to eventually win the Stanley Cup.
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Are the Blues getting hot at just the right time or are they peaking too early? They are currently on a 5-game winning streak and have four shutouts over that span, only allowing one goal in the other game. On the flip side, the Chicago Blackhawks have not been playing their best hockey as of late. In their last 10 games, they have a record of 3-5-2.
Despite the poor play by the Blackhawks, they have still clinched a NHL playoffs berth and are very capable of turning it on once the playoffs start. The St. Louis Blues are playing their best hockey and are in the midst of capturing the 1st seed in the Western Conference with a record of 46-22-9 with 101 points.
However, the Blues’ achilles heel has always been underachieving in the playoffs. The prospect of playing the defending champions in the first round may not be the ideal match-up as it could be yet another scenario where the Blues end up playing the wrong team at the wrong time.
Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
On the surface, this looks like a huge mismatch. The Washington Capitals have 16 more wins to go along with 114 points compared to the Philadelphia Flyers 89 points. Despite being out-matched on paper, the Flyers could still be a very dangerous first round opponent for the Capitals.
The Flyers have been one of the best teams in hockey since the all-star break and have gone 12-3-2 since Feb. 25th. They also just beat the Caps 2-1 (SO) in a game where they clogged the neutral zone and used their physicality to disrupt the Caps offense.
The season series is now deadlocked at 2-a-piece, with three out of four games being decided by one goal. This would be a very interesting first round series to watch and could have upset potential written all over it.