NHL playoffs preview


Reggie Hildred | Wikimedia Commons

Jeremy Dobin

The 2023 NHL Playoffs are set. The top eight teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences begin their quests for the Stanley Cup.

The first three teams in each division make up the first six seeds in each conference, and the final two wildcard spots per conference are determined by the records of the remaining two best teams.

The No. 1 seeds in each conference are the Las Vegas Golden Knights from the West and the Boston Bruins in the East.

In 2018, the Golden Knights made history by reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in the franchise’s first year of existence. As the No. 1 seed in the West, the Golden Knights are looking to reach the Finals for the first time since that inaugural season, when their 2018 magical championship run ended with a loss to the Washington Capitals.

The Golden Knights will open the playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Boston Bruins became the winningest team in NHL history this season after winning an incredible 65 games and compiling 135 points. A total of 135 points marks the largest point total ever accrued by a team, dethroning the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens as the previous record-holder with 132 points.

The Bruins face the hungry Florida Panthers in the first round.

The Colorado Avalanche will look to defend their 2022 title. The Avalanche finished this season tied for second in the West with 109 points and a 51-24-7 record. The Avalanche’s title defense will begin against the Seattle Kraken.

This will be the first-ever playoff series for the Kraken. Seattle joined the NHL as an expansion team in 2021, reaching the playoffs in just their second season.

The NHL Playoffs will be a busy time for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils have all made the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

The Devils and Rangers will each cross the George Washington Bridge as the teams clash in round one. If the Islanders can pass the Carolina Hurricanes, they will face the winner of Rangers/Devils in the second round. An Islanders/Rangers matchup would be a true subway series.

The Tampa Bay Lightning look to appear in a fourth-consecutive Stanley Cup Final and win their third championship in four years. Tampa Bay won titles in 2020 and 2021. Dreams of a three-peat were crushed last season when the Lightning fell to the Avalanche.

The Edmonton Oilers is a must-watch team this post season. Conner McDavid—the league leader in points and goals—is considered the best player in the world, producing electrifying plays every time he is on the ice.

McDavid tallied a ridiculous 153 points this season, including a mind-boggling 64 goals. His teammate, Leon Draisaitl, is second in the league in total points with 128, including an amazing 52 goals.

The potent duo makes Edmonton an exciting team to watch. The Oilers battle the Los Angeles Kings in the first round.

Competition, pandemonium and high intensity moments are staples of playoff hockey and contribute to the fun and nerves that come with the NHL Playoffs.