What to expect in this year's National Hockey League playoffs

Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin put on a show for the ages in a Penguins win

Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin put on a show for the ages in a Penguins win

The only reason Philadelphia doesn't get swept in four is because Pittsburgh did give up 3.02 GA/GP, so they'll find a way to out score the Penguin in one game, but that's all. When Crosby was asked afterward why he did it, the Penguins captain responded: "I don't like them".

Fellow superstar center Sidney Crosby: "I appreciate having him on our team and as a teammate, what he brings and what he's done consistently". The Penguins have won 11 series since then. "If you look at it, it was wild". "So, when you get to lift it, it's really worth it".

That's not to say Laviolette didn't play the "everyone's picking Chicago" card as motivation a year ago.

With Hulu becoming an National Hockey League partner, of course, that means you will be able to watch every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Finals.

In a weird twist of National Hockey League scheduling fate, this year's first-round matches that 2012 series, with both dates and days of the week. All of those teams finished with over 100 points.

If the Penguins are going to make another run at a third consecutive championship, they will need a stellar effort from goaltender Matt Murray.

This has to be the Tampa Bay Lightning.

We can tell you he's eyeing the Jets, the fifth choice on the odds board at 8-1. "Sometimes you pass the test".

It didn't take long before the Knights made their presence known, finishing their inaugural season with 109 points - the most ever for a first-year franchise - earning them the Pacific Division title and home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds. The Wild are making their sixth straight playoff appearance, though they've been eliminated in the first round each of the past two seasons.

"I think our guys are well aware of what went on past year", Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.

Brion Elliott had a good game against the Rangers as he stopped all 17 shots that he faced for his first shutout of the year and the 37th of his career, plus we note that the Flyers are 10-1 in his last 11 starts.

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When it comes to a toss-up series like this, I'm going with the hotter goalie as Gibson can outduel San Jose's Martin Jones. Will Nashville get back to the finals? The Jets this year made MTS Centre a place no one wanted to play, ending the year with the best home record in the National Hockey League (32-7-2). The adrenaline of the playoffs also means that getting into a fight to light a spark is unnecessary.

"We seem to be doing a better job (with) that group, which is nice, as you want to have two really risky groups".

No one can dispute the talent and ability of Alex Ovechkin, but it's just not enough to take the Capitals deep into the playoffs.

Most of the playoff series have been set, but tonight's final game of the season will determine the victor of the Atlantic Division.

Mike Sullivan is part of that different coaching staff, and the bench boss has done a tremendous job of helping his team to become mentally strong and resilient; and establishing a level of discipline and focus that he feels is essential to winning. Evgeni Malkin put up the best season since his MVP-winning 2011-12 campaign while Phil Kessel recorded 92 points, 12 more than his previous carer high.

I'm calling three-peat now. "I think personnel has changed. There's always a heightened emotion associated with the games".

The Flyers come in playing some good offense of late, while the Penguins have been a very good offensive team all year, but I just can't pull the trigger on the over in this one. The only shot that matters isn't the last one, but the next one.

Crosby also sent signed photos to each of the survivors of the crash, which happened Friday.

The Predators have the Presidents' Trophy, and the NHL-expansion Golden Knights carry the buzz entering the Western Conference playoffs, which have the potential of resembling nothing from the past.

Why the Devils will win it all: The Devils have more playoff experience on their roster than people think.

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