NHL Playoffs Are Heating Up!

 

As the 2023-2024 NHL regular season comes to a close, hockey fans around the world are gearing up for what promises to be an exciting and competitive Stanley Cup playoffs. With the top teams in each division competing for the coveted trophy, the postseason is sure to be filled with thrilling moments and fierce competition.

As of now, the teams that have secured their playoff spots include the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and the Edmonton Oilers. These teams have battled hard all season long, and are eager to take their game to the next level and claim the Stanley Cup.

One notable change was the addition of a new division, the Pacific Division, which was formed as part of the NHL’s expansion into Seattle last year. This means that the playoffs will feature a total of eight teams from each conference, instead of the traditional four.¬†

Although teams have clinched their positions in the playoffs notable teams like the Seattle Kraken, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, and the New York Islanders, have fought for their positions in the wildcard picture.

The Boston Bruins are the odds-on favorites to win the 2023 Stanley Cup as the playoffs begin. The Bruins finished the season with an NHL-record 65 wins, surpassing the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings (who finished 62-13-7) and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning (62-16-4) for most wins in a single season. With this historic accomplishment only a championship ring could solidify The Lightning as one of the greatest hockey teams of all time.

Some notable matchups that you should look out to include:

The Boston Bruins vs the Florida Panthers: The Bruins try to repeat their victory over Matthew Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers.

Although the Toronto Maple Leaf’s enjoyed a terrific season as well, they haven’t won a playoff series since 2004. The Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that has won the Stanley Cup two out of the last three years, will be their opponent in the first round.

In the second round, New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers are primed to face off while the Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Metropolitan Division on the final day of the regular season, will face the New York Islanders in their first-round matchup.

The Vegas Golden Knights, a team who missed the playoffs last year for the first time in their history, are back in the Western Conference. In the opening round, they will face against star player Kyle Connor and the Winnipeg Jets.

The Edmonton Oilers, led by NHL’s top goal scorer Connor McDavid, are expected to make a deep playoff run this year. They’ll face their first challenge in a replay of their four-game victory over the Los Angeles Kings in last year’s round-one showdown.

The Seattle Kraken take on the defending champion Colorado Avalanche in the opening round of their bid to win it all again.

The Dallas Stars will play the Wild, who replaced the Star’s previous franchised location in Minnesota in 1993, for just the second game in playoff history.

Fans are eagerly anticipating the matchups and storylines that will unfold. Who will emerge as the underdog and surprise everyone with a deep playoff run? Which players will rise to the occasion and become heroes for their respective teams? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are sure to be a wild ride.

Photography credited to NHL.com