New Jersey Devils vs Tampa Bay Lightning
The Devils will play in their first playoff game in five years, last time the Devils made a playoff run was in 2011-12 where they lost in six to the Kings for the Cup. The Devils are seeming to be the underdog here tonight but a lot see them as being a potential contender for Tampa Bay while some think this is going to be a four to five game series. The Devils will be looking to go with Keith Kinkaid it seems like tonight, making his first playoff appearance. The Devils will have to use their grit and fast pace play to stay with Tampa tonight. An advantage the Devils have though is that the Lightings penalty kill is ranked 28th in the league, vs their 10th ranked power play. Disadvantage the Devils have they have to face Tampa’s power play with Kucherov and Stamkos on either side. Yes, Steven Stamkos is confirmed tonight. The Lighting are favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference, and with the line up they have, there is no reason they shouldn’t. For game one in Tampa going Lightning.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins
If you are the Bruins you are not so happy right now, the Bruins had a chance to face the Devils first round instead of Toronto but with a loss to Florida Sunday the Bruins now face Toronto. This series goes way back, being original six teams these two have faced each other numerous times in the past(16 I believe). The Bruins will be without Brandon Carlo on the back end but should be healthy up front. The Bruins have been a powerhouse this season and with their success in the regular season, it will be tough to knock this team off. But luckily one team that can do is Toronto, with the firepower of Auston Matthews and other young guns, plus Nazem Kadri playing on Brad Marchand, and with Frederik Anderson’s 10-1-0, 2.09 GAA in his career vs Boston. The Maple Leafs are not going to down as easy, if at all than most think. This series is split down the middle, their offenses match up, Bruins have the better d-core, and the goalies match up. But tonight for game one I’m going Bruins.
San Jose Sharks vs Anaheim Ducks
The Sharks were one point away from having home ice advantage here in this series but late in the season the Ducks surged and made a push for second in the Pacific. The Sharks and Ducks match up quite well, two very similar teams but the Ducks have one(or two) things the Sharks do not. Ryan Getzlaf. We saw what Getzlaf did last year int he playoffs and having missed some time this season this guy is going to be well rested. The Ducks and Sharks will battle for the rights of California. A big test we can see in San Jose is Evander Kane in playoff hockey, Kane has played in zero playoff games during his career. With John Gibson probably back for game one this helps the Ducks a ton, but even with Ryan Miller in net for a few games, the Ducks should be fine. This will turn out to be one of the better series of the playoffs, a series that falls under the radar and not many pay attention to. A majority feel, coming from fans seems to be Anaheim, but it’s playoff hockey and anything can happen. For game going Anaheim.
Other games on tonight…
Columbus vs Washington: Columbus
Colorado vs Nashville: Nashville