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Top Matchups to Watch for the NHL Playoffs

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    I have been waiting a year for this. The NHL playoffs are finally here! If you are wanting to get a friend interested in hockey, the playoffs are most definitely the time to do it. As always, there are a few times this year that have a really good chance at winning the cup.

    The Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators:

    I am going to give this matchup to the Blackhawks. They are the top-seeded team in the Western conference, and looking to win their 4th Stanley Cup in eight seasons. That's an impressive record. An important note in this matchup is that 2/3 times the Hawks have won the cup recently, they have played the Predators in the first round. It would be pretty stunning if the Predators took them out this year.

    The Washington Capitols vs. Toronto Maple Leafs:

    I am giving this matchup to the Capitols. They are favorite for the cup this year, even though they have a record of burning out in the postseason. And I'm not only saying that because they are favored, I genuinely cannot see the Leafs taking them out. The Caps have more heavy hitters and much more speed than the Leafs.

    I would normally have more top matchups for the playoffs, but this year is looking scarce for teams that will be both entertaining and can make the cut. So I'm going to stick with the 3 that I actually see having both of those qualities.

    My 3rd top matchup (and to me, least likely to win the cup):

    The Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets:

    I am giving this matchup to the Penguins. Both teams have similar qualities, but the penguins have veteran Marc-Andre Fleury. That is the determining factor for me. The Jackets won't be able to penetrate the pucks to the net.

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    Well, you got 2/3 right. But I was shocked the Blackhawks got swept, as I'm sure you were from what you wrote. When's the last time they got beat 4-0, let alone didn't make it out of the first round?

    Seems the Predators might be good enough to go all the way. Next up for them is the Blues. I can see them winning there for sure. Then it's either the Oilers or the Ducks. Call it a coin flip to get to the finals. Just feels like they are playing the best of the teams that won, from the first round.

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    Dallasite Wrote:

    Well, you got 2/3 right. But I was shocked the Blackhawks got swept, as I'm sure you were from what you wrote. When's the last time they got beat 4-0, let alone didn't make it out of the first round?

    Seems the Predators might be good enough to go all the way. Next up for them is the Blues. I can see them winning there for sure. Then it's either the Oilers or the Ducks. Call it a coin flip to get to the finals. Just feels like they are playing the best of the teams that won, from the first round.

    It was extremely infuriating to watch. The Hawks had several power-plays throughout the round WITH ONLY ONE SHOT ON GOAL. That is insane.... I have seen occasions that the penalty team keeps it out of their side during the duration of the time, but that's not what happened here. The Hawks were way, way too busy trying to pull all of the crap that has been proven to only work 1/10 times. In this situation they have 1 more player than the Preds, they have it on the Pred's side, and.....nothing. They just pass the puck back and forth while being sure to leave "drop pucks" as they fly by another Hawk's player. And I repeat, this is happening on the Pred's side, while they are 1 man short. GET THE PUCK TO THE NET, HAWKS. That is the only was to score. Period. That's it. If you don't shoot the entire time you have a +1 man advantage, then you won't score. Passing the puck back and forth the entire time looks foolish and makes you look scared and weak.

    The Hawks did it to themselves this year. They played ridiculous. Short bursts of offense doesn't make up for skating the entire 4 games. Stop trying to make fancy passes. Stop waiting until the last second to get that same crazy win you did a few years ago. Start getting the puck to the net. And don't even try to say it was playing it safe to keep the puck from the Preds. You play it safe when you are 1+ up and it's 3 minutes till the final buzzer.... You know, like the Preds did.