Archive for NHL Playoffs

NHL Power Rankings

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , on April 13, 2011 by Joe

My friend Brian has decided to take a break from his busy and hectic schedule to give us all his first NHL Power Rankings heading into the start of the NHL playoffs tonight. Brian knows more about hockey and the NHL than anyone I know so it’s nice to have his insight into the current state of teams that anyone actually cares about. Sorry New Jersey. You can catch Brian on his podcast and follow him on twitter @otwithb. Without further delay, I’ll let Brian take it away.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the NHL Playoffs. No athletes play harder and no championship is more physically grueling to obtain. 16 qualify and hockey has parity so they all have a legitimate shot for one reason or another. Last season, the NHL Eastern Conference saw the 7th seeded Boston Bruins and 8th seeded Philadelphia Flyers playing in its finals. On the very last day of the regular season, the Minnesota Wild proved that they lay down for absolutely no one and allowed the defending Champion Chicago Blackhawks to back in as the 16th team to qualify by pulling out a regulation win over a Dallas team obvious inspired by Tony Romo’s big game reputation. Let’s run down the top 17.

The Choker:

17. Dallas

Stars had everything lined up for their regular season finale against the old Stars (Minnesota) with Chicago’s loss in regulation to the old stars (Detroit), all they needed to do was to win to get in the playoffs. What happened? Epic fail. After leading the Pacific through most of the season, Dallas went into a tailspin in February spurred by the injury of their best player and UFA to be Brad Richards. I think all Stars fans would rather re-sign Richards to a long-term deal and finish outside the playoffs than make the playoffs. My hope is the NHL’s model southern franchise gets to keep Richards but his former Tampa Bay coach John Tortarella and buckets of cash are waiting in New York.

The One and Done’s:

16. Buffalo

Am I a Sabres hater? Probably. Is it because a grown man in Buffalo attempted to fight me as a 15-year-old wearing a Penguins jersey the last time I was in the city for a hockey game?  Probably, yet my hater status is valid for many other reasons. I openly campaigned for my Penguins to draw Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs. In February it was announced that Thomas Pegula purchased the Sabres from Thomas Golisano when, for the last few years, I thought it was the Penguins who owned the Sabres. Call it the Curse of Kasparaitis, whatever but Pittsburgh is the team Buffalo least wants to see.

The Sabres are missing their top forward, Derek Roy. Ryan Miller has been fairly ordinary since the 2010 Olympics. The current defense has made departed free agents Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder look like Larry Robinson and Serge Savard circa the late 1970’s. Bottom line: Buffalo should be counting light bulbs in 6 games or less. I see people picking Buffalo for an upset of the Flyers. I don’t see it. If I’m wrong, I’ll eat crow live on my podcast. Literally crow.

15. New York

The Rangers rank over Buffalo in the East only because of Henrik Lundqvist’s ability to steal games and the coming of age by the young New York defense. Marc Staal could be edging brother Jordan as the second best Staal in the NHL, Dan Girardi has become a two-way force, and Bryan McCabe has proven that he’s running on more than fumes since his return from hockey exile in Florida. Ryan Callahan’s injury was a major setback to their limited ability to put up goals. With Marian Gaborik reverting to his previous “handle with care” injury status,  the Rangers did get offensive contributions of 20 or more goals from Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, and Cy Young candidate Brian Boyle, whose 21 goals, 14 assists unfortunately lost out to Michael Grabner’s amazing 34-18 year. The Cy Young is one of my favorite hockey’s unofficial cross-over awards along with the Green Jacket (congratulations Chris Phillips on your -35 rating). New York’s other scorers can be grouped into three categories of disappointment: former Penguins (Ruslan Fedotenko, Erik Christensen), general underachievers (Vinny Prospal, Wojtek Wolski) and injured but still bad (Chris Drury, Alex Frolov).

The opponent of the Broadway Blueshirts is the Washington Capitals who have proven themselves as a team likely to be upset. That’s why the Rangers are here and Buffalo is not. The ingredients for a Caps meltdown are there: Lundqvist starts hot, Caps goalie du jour allows soft goals giving the Rangers pop gun offense confidence, and New York remembers it won the season series 3-1. Bruce Boudreau is dripping barbecue sauce all over his face in panic.

The Wounded Youth:

14. Los Angeles

The promising young Kings playoff chances were dealt a couple huge blows when top two scorers Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams went down with injuries. Los Angeles was getting a lot of ink early in the preseason as a top contender, it just hasn’t gone that way for them this year. GM Dean Lombardi refused to mortgage the future on Ilya Kovalchuk or Brad Richards in a trade which could turn out to be a “Let’s Remake the Arthur movie” sized mistake. Lombardi overpaid at the Trade Deadline for Dustin Penner by giving up defenseman Colten Teubert (13th overall in the 2008 draft), a 2011 1st Round Pick, and a conditional 3rd in 2012. Seems like a high price for almost a year and a quarter from a guy with a bloated contract that has won a Stanley Cup yet has a reputation of lazy and inconsistent play. Kopitar’s injury occurred after the Trade Deadline so I cannot help but wonder that had it occurred earlier, Lombardi would have made a move for Richards or possibly Panthers center Stephen Weiss to fill the gap.

Kings look one and done this season. I think most of LA has already moved on to the Lakers or Dodgers or American Idol anyway.

The “How Are They Doing It?” Teams:

13. Phoenix

A common thread among these next three teams is that they have poor goal differentials for the year. That statistic is not the end all, be all of hockey sabermetrics yet it’s troubling to see playoff also ran’s like the Calgary Flames at +13 for the year and the Coyotes at +5, Canadiens at +7, and Lightning at +7. Phoenix is the ultimate WTF team. For two years in a row, they have had more reasons to mail it in than Jon Cryer at Two and a Half Men tapings. Two men have kept them afloat: Coach Dave Tippett and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Tippett continues to show that having 10 dimes at forward still add up to a dollar when other teams have players that could represent a quarter in this misguided analogy. Their forwards are essentially the cast of the Wire, no huge names yet effective at what they do. Bryzgalov put up another great season of numbers and could be trouble to re-sign as he approaches unrestricted free agency.

Credit must also be given to GM Don Maloney for assembling the best 1 thru 6 defense core in the Western Conference. Keith Yandle has broken out offensively and mixed well with veteran horses Adrian Aucoin, Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, and recent acquisitions Michal Rozsival and Rusty Klesla. I mocked Maloney’s Rozsival from the Rangers for Wolski deal. I have to admit that he knew something about Wolski I did not because that trade has been a major win for Phoenix. Their Round 1 rematch with the Red Wings could be another 7 game classic.

12. Montreal

The Canadiens are the team I have the least amount of confidence in my ability to predict. Last season after the Penguins rung up an easy Game 1 victory, I thought Pittsburgh would win in 3 with a possibility for a fourth game in that series. We all know what happened from there. Montreal’s timely scoring last season and an unbelievable performance by goalie Jaroslav Halak could not have been predicted by anyone outside of the province of Quebec. This looks like nearly the same team with the notable exception of Carey Price in-goal and not Halak. Price had a spectacular regular season however when we last saw him as a playoff starter, he gave himself a Bronx cheer in 2009 after an easy save during a sweep at the hands of a Boston Bruins. I trust Price about as much as I would trust Ben Roethlisberger in an empty house with my sister and a bottle of tequila. I give up on the Canadiens, but my inkling is that they are not good.

11. Tampa Bay

Tampa is another team that is hard to figure out. Martin St. Louis will show up, we know that. I have wondered aloud how a guy like Martin St. Louis can be so good and so underrated concurrently. Since there was no 64 point performance by Andrew Cogliano on the last day of the season, St. Louis finished second in the NHL in scoring. Is he underrated because his last name is the same as a U.S. city? Can we call this the Marty St. Louis Doctrine? Further exploration sees that this same name as a city effect applied to former Knicks guard Allan Houston, former Jazz guard John Stockton, and current Steelers cornerback Anthony Madison, but not wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Perhaps the St. Louis Doctrine only applies to unscripted sports.

Everything will come down to the oldest guy and one of the youngest guys on the roster: Dwayne Roloson and Steven Stamkos. Roloson may be 41 yet he spent many years getting light use as a backup and I cannot shake the thoughts of his one man show during the 2006 playoffs. It’s funny to think how the NHL landscape would have been different if Roloson not been run into by teammate Marc-Andre Bergeron and then Carolina Hurricane Andrew Ladd, forcing him out for the rest of the playoffs with a knee injury. The Oilers could have won the Stanley Cup and Chris Pronger would have been an even bigger pariah if he would have requested a trade in the off-season. Back to the topic at hand, Roloson has experience and Stamkos has zero. Many star players have had their first foray into the NHL playoffs go about as well as any Tim Meadows star-making vehicle. Going against Pittsburgh in their first round matchup is that Bolts forwards Simon Gagne and Vincent Lecavalier are long-time Pens-killers. I would not be surprised to see Tampa out in 5 games or hanging around to the Conference Finals.

The Cap Squeezed Champions:

10. Chicago

Looking at the Hawks roster that was etched on the Stanley Cup from last season to this year, you would need to subtract: Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Antti Niemi, Ben Eager, Adam Burish, Nick Boynton, Brent Sopel, Cristobal Huet, Kim Johnsson, and John Madden. This year they added Chris Campoli, Corey Crawford, Michael Frolik, Ryan Johnson, Nick Leddy, Fernando Pisani, Viktor Stahlberg, and Marty Turco. That’s a net loss. The second group is inexperienced with the exception of the now back-up/gambling sharp Turco and Pisani.

The good news includes the play of Jonathan Toews down the stretch, Patrick Kane’s mullet returning for the playoffs, and the matchup with President’s Trophy winning Vancouver. The Canucks may be the #1 seed but the Hawks have knocked them out of the playoffs two years in a row. There’s still some fight in the champions but I cannot trust a team that was a Minnesota Wild no-show job in Game 82 away from early tee times. If only the Wild knew that Coach Todd Richards was going to take the fall anyway, Chicago would have no opportunity to defend their Cup. Oh well, they didn’t and the Hawks do.

Goalie Most Likely to Halak the Playoffs:

9. Nashville

Meet Pekka Rinne, if you have not already. He’s a 28-year-old Finn who was drafted in the 8th round in 2004 who finished second in the NHL in save percentage and third in goals against average. In many ways, Rinne is microcosm of the Predators franchise. Not heralded but he has grown to be very effective in a gradual manner and a player who has unfortunately never won an NHL playoff series. Nashville, despite its five previous appearances, is still looking to get on the board with a Stanley Cup playoff series win. I was secretly hoping they would play the Phoenix Coyotes so that one of those franchises could win their first. The way their team is run by Coach Barry Trotz and GM David Poile is worthy of an award yearly. They continue to lose their best players and stay competitive. You could make a playoff team out of the players they’ve lost over the last 5 years:  Mike Sillinger, Brendan Witt, Greg Johnson, Yanic Perreault, Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Peter Forsberg, Paul Kariya, Marek Zidlicky, Dan Hamhuis, Greg Zanon, Alex Radulov, and Jason Arnott to name 14. Those guys were almost entirely replaced by in-house (read: cheaper) players. They are hard-working, plucky, and hungry. No team wants to play Nashville.

The sad thing is that Nashville and Anaheim are meeting in the first round. It will be a phenomenal series. I wish both teams could get into the second round. It reminds me of the Kings and Canucks series from 2009 where I was convinced that those two first round opponents were 2 of the 4 best teams in the conference.

Peaking at the Right Time Sleeper:

8. Anaheim

I would like to take a break from these rankings to confess my man-crush for Teemu Selanne. The Finish Flash had 80 points in 73 games as a 40-year-old and that does not even begin to tell the story of his season. Selanne scored numerous huge goals while the Ducks were chasing a playoff spot embodied by his 3 goals and 2 assists in a 5-4 win over the Avalanche on March 28th with Anaheim on the outside looking in. Just when I thought I was so full of admiration for Teemu that I could not possibly take another drop, he drops the gloves against Brad Richardson of the Kings in the final regular season game of the year. Did he win? Who cares? A 40-year-old sniper with more goals (637) than penalty minutes (565), without saying a word, told his teammates that it’s playoff time and time for everyone to sacrifice. Tony Esposito has done a lot for hockey yet his drafting of Darrin Shannon over Selanne as the Penguins GM in 1988 allegedly because he did not want to draft European players is one of two reasons he is responsible for setting back the Pens for years. The other is more personal to my Dad and I when he would not sign Guy Lafleur during his 1988 comeback. Young Mario Lemieux wanted his idol to be his winger but Esposito would not have Lafleur on the roster so Guy signed with Rangers. This action denied my Dad and I the chance to see his all-time favorite hockey player and mine as linemates and condemned Lemieux to having Bob Errey, in a previous life a hockey player before moving on to butcher the English language on local Penguins telecasts, on his wing.

Back to the Ducks, I feel badly that I went 297 words without mentioning Corey Perry. His hot streak is also responsible for the late season surge and his off the board Richard Trophy win was a great story. Perry played in the shadow of linemate and team captain Ryan Getzlaf for years yet he started making noise in a good way while a key member of Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics. Perry was known as more of an agitator and even his worst critics now have to give his game respect. The main concern with Anaheim is their goaltending situation. Twitter whipping boy Dan Ellis is the current #1 with usual starter suffering from vertigo, Jonas Hiller, possibly ready to return. Hiller has some playoff bona-fides and his return would solidify the Ducks as a playoff landmine for anyone.

The Wounded Veterans Waiting Their Savior Who May Not Come:

7. Pittsburgh

The Penguins have done a valiant job without Sidney Crosby and Evegni Malkin, two former scoring champions lost to injury. Malkin is not coming back, that’s a given yet Crosby’s return could swing the balance of power in the playoffs. Coach Dan Bylsma has enhanced his reputation more than Tommy Lee when that Pam Anderson tape came out this past season by willing this team to 100 points (not to mention a good turn on HBO’s 24/7). The only guy in Pittsburgh who had a better season was goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Known for being a fragile soul, Fleury fought off a rough start to be the team MVP. Hard to believe that Brent Johnson, the NHL’s version of Gus Frerotte (if he’s your back-up, it’s a great sign for your team but if he’s the starter, that’s bad news), almost stole the starter job from the Flower early in the season.

The Penguins have become a scrappy underdog after a few years of being the NHL’s dreamboats. Without Crosby or Malkin, previous supporting players like Kristopher Letang and Tyler Kennedy have stepped to the forefront. Even the artist formerly known as Alex Kovalev, who was nice enough to take number 72 instead of his normal 27 just to let us know he isn’t the same player, has shown occasional signs of life. The expectations are tempered however if we see Sidney Crosby walking down the runway for a game, the Penguins instantly get pushed to the front of the line. The Penguins management have been playing mind games with the way they’ve had Crosby practicing and making vague comments about his return. Without Crosby, they are one of the 4 or 5 best teams in the East. With Crosby, they could win it all. Yes, he’s that important.

The Yeah, But…Favorites:

6. Philadelphia

Let’s jump in our time machine back to 1994, the Philadelphia Flyers were a deep team who struck fear into the rest of the NHL yet there were question marks about their goaltending. Returning to the present, the Philadelphia Flyers are a deep team who strike fear into the rest of the NHL yet there are question marks about their goaltending. Is Sergei Bobrovsky more like Robert Esche or Michael Leighton? Garth Snow or Brian Boucher? Geriatric John Vanbiesbrouck or Geriatric Sean Burke? Take your pick. The forwards are strong, the defense is top-heavy but still above average (if Chris Pronger is normal healthy, elbow throwing, puck stealing-self) , and goaltending is again the issue.

Two other factors working against Philadelphia: fatigue and a weak finish. The Flyers were a juggernaut through the first half of the season yet lost the #1 seed in the East to the Capitals and were pushed by the hobbled Penguins for the Atlantic Division crown. Philadelphia struggled down the stretch going 3-4-3 in their final ten games and fatigue is a legitimate reason. The Flyers had a draining run as an 8 seed who overcame a 3-0 deficit to make the Finals before bowing out to the Blackhawks in OT of Game 6. Hockey players are finely tuned athletic machines who can break down. The high level of hockey in the playoffs will run teams into the ground in time. Philadelphia has a large task in front of them if they wish to advance in the 2010 Playoffs.

5. San Jose

The Sharks made the Conference Finals last season due to great performances by Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle. Pavelski, Ryan Clowe, and super rookie Logan Couture are going to be offensive forces this year for San Jose. You notice I did not say Joe Thornton. Big Joe had his moments of good (12 points in 15 games)  and bad (-11 rating). Thornton’s playoff reputation precedes him and to a lesser degree linemates the de-captained Patrick Marleau and First Team All-Douche Dany Heatley. Quick tangent on Heatley, the guy was suspended for an obviously dirty hit on Dallas agitator Steve Ott and had the nerve to pop off about Ott having a new-found halo after his history of past suspensions. Dany, do you really want to bring up bad things from people’s pasts? Really?

The Sharks also have had the oddest goaltending year I can think of. Evgeni Nabokov was their longtime goalie who could never get over the playoff hump like the rest of the team and ended up taking the fall so San Jose signs Antero Niittymaki to be their new #1. Then things get weird when the Blackhawks walk away from the arbitration award given their Stanley Cup winning goalie Antti Niemi. With all the starting jobs locked up, Niemi takes a one year deal from the Sharks and outplays Niittymaki and in the process receives a three-year extension. Meanwhile Nabokov was signed to play with Detroit after spending half a year in the Russian KHL but is claimed on waivers by the New York Islanders and refuses to report to the lottery bound team, ending up in hockey exile. Anyway, the Sharks are a team that shrinks in big moments and I have no confidence that changes this season.

4. Washington

The heroes of HBO’s 24/7 did a great job of simmering most of the regular season instead of boiling over like past years when they were upset early in the playoffs. Alex Ovechkin was top 10 in scoring yet the Art Ross keeper never considered him a threat to be carved into his trophy. Ovechkin will never be mistaken for a great defensive player but his improvement in that area of the ice represents the commitment Washington made of playing the entire ice surface instead of just the offensive zone as they were accused of doing in the past. The Capitals battled through hot and cold streaks yet steadied long enough to win the top seed in the East. There is forward depth with proven crease crashers Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, and Jason Arnott which mesh nicely with danglers like Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. Arnott has been a huge addition in the room and unlike many of his teammates, has a successful playoff track record. The Capitals are viewed by many as “Sharks-West” in terms of their perennially great regular seasons capped by playoff disaster. If Jack Bauer was threatening their families unless they were absolutely truthful, I would think many coaches would rather play Washington in the first round over the other top seeds in the East because of this mental instability….and the goalie situation, of course.

Give the Capitals credit, they have stood by the company line of going with their young netminders. When veteran like Tomas Vokoun were thought to be available, Washington stood behind the three-headed goaltending monster of Semyeon Varlamov, Michael Neuvrith, and Braden Holtby. Ultimately it could be the decision that undoes their Stanley Cup run. Neuvrith is the favorite to start their series against the Rangers but you wonder how long of a leash he has. Jose Theodore had a sparkling regular season in 2009-10 then was pulled after two games in favor of Varlamov and the Caps fell in 7 to Montreal. The goalies have not made this an easy situation for Coach Boudreau either by allowing some soft goals and generally not distinguishing themselves from one another. This has not been exclusively the fault of the goalies as the “defense” played by Mike Green and company was suspect at times. The additions of grizzled vet Scott Hannan, rookie John Carlson, and recently acquired and injured Dennis Wideman should provide relief. Boudreau and the Caps are on trial this year. If another flame out happens, expect the coach to be fired and possibly even a pitch for Vokoun or Bryzgalov in free agency.

Built for May and June:

3. Detroit

Pavel Datsyuk is a wizard. I’m pretty sure he talked to Jimmy Page about how to trade your soul to be the best at your craft. He’s got the YouTube goals, he’s unbelievable at the whole game, and if I were to have a hockey playing son I would say “watch this guy and do exactly what he does”. Datsyuk doesn’t win scoring titles and he’s starting to lose his speed but his smarts put him on another level. Pavel averaged over a point a game despite some injuries and the attention he pays to defensive zone play. Plus, the guy has a quirky Russian sense of humor which is always endearing. Henrik Zetterberg is the same type of player without the flashiness of the Datsyukian dekes (yes, he has his own adjective). Zetterberg also looks like Jake Gyllenhall which goes in the minus column. Oh, so back to hockey. The Wings are an older team yet Datsyuk, captain Nicklas Lidstrom, and company can still get it done. The only guys who seem to have dropped off dramatically in play are Chris Osgood, Tomas Holmstrom, and Brian Rafalski from the action I’ve seen this year. The regular season is a formality for them. Detroit becomes a different team in the playoffs and those guys can turn it around with a strong performance. Coach Mike Babcock is a beauty, the exact type of guy you would expect to be an old school Canadian hockey coach that lives for this time of year. Babcock gets the most out of his stars and journeymen like Dan Cleary, Drew Miller, and Ruslan Salei. Those types always seem to play their best hockey with the Red Wings.  Babcock has even semi-restored the image of Todd Bertuzzi.

Jimmy Howard had his maiden voyage into the post-season last year where he was a little uneven. His predecessor Osgood had the uncanny ability to raise his game in the playoffs. Howard has not developed that, it’s possible he may never. It gets redundant to say how important goalies are, that doesn’t make it any less true. In an odd way, this is a big year for the Red Wings because they could reassert their dominance over teams like the Canucks and Sharks in the West.

2. Boston

I waited until last to type this one up because I don’t want to gush too much about Boston. I probably still will. The mix is there to win the Stanley Cup. They have the mix of embarrassment and fire following the Flyers coming back from a 3-0 deficit in last season’s playoffs against them. Need inspiration? Look to concussed superstar Marc Savard who was their top player prior to collisions with Matt Cooke and Matt Hunwick. The cruel irony is that Savard was known as a petulant but skilled player who just didn’t “get it” who really turned it around to become a good teammate and legitimate force in the past couple years. Continue the feel good storyline with the bounce back seasons from some of their top players: Tim Thomas took back his starting job from young Tuukka Rask and put up stellar numbers that make him the Vezina Trophy favorite, Milan Lucic emerged from an injury and production plagued year to score 30 goals (up from 9 last season), and Mark Reechi at 43 years of age increased his point total to 48 while playing 81 games. This team is a Disney movie waiting to happen.

The Bruins also made a couple of savvy acquisitions to bolster their chances. The long rumored Tomas Kaberle trade from Toronto may not have paid immediate dividends yet his presence should prove invaluable in the post-season. Nathan Horton has 2011 Mike Cammallieri written all over him and if he gets hot in the playoffs, look out. Even guys like Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly represent under the radar moves that got responsible players into the Bruins lineup. Youngsters Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin are ready to contribute if necessary. Boston is dangerous and starting off against their rival Canadiens is a good way to get the adrenaline running.

Prohibitive Favorite: 

1. Vancouver

Top to bottom, the most talent in the league. They have twin brothers who each won a scoring title the last two seasons, a goalie my buddies and I referred to as “the Cheat Code” when playing Playstation 2 games, and a group of unheralded but solid defensemen. Their third line of forwards could be the top line on many teams. The weight of expectations and a rabid fan base in on their shoulders. The Vancouver Canucks fans have suffered through years of heartbreak and ZERO Stanley Cups. The Cup has not been won by a Canadian team since 1994. When Montreal gets knocked out, most of Canada will be backing the Canucks and at the very least covering them extra. They have to perform.

If it doesn’t work this season, GM Mike Gillis should check the interest in either prize prospect netminder Corey Schneider or unthinkably Roberto Luongo. Luongo was the Team Canada goaltender for the gold medal win however it would not be a stretch to say they won in spite of him. If the Canucks get knocked out early this year where the offense is loaded, the defense is solid top to bottom, and Luongo is in net, guess who will be blamed? This is a career altering playoffs for Bobby Lou. The Canucks are supposed to win and just like quarterbacks in the NFL, the goaltenders often get too much credit when their team wins and too much blame when their team loses. This is what Luongo wanted in 2006 when he was dealt from Florida to the Canucks. Vancouver quizzically named him captain then promptly took away the “C” so he could focus on his own game. If he cannot win with all these factors in his favor, many will believe he simply cannot win. Roberto Luongo, you are on the clock. Good luck, paisan.

Since no one asked me yet…

Round 1: VAN over CHI in 5, SJ over LA in 6, PHO over DET in 7, NAS over ANA in 7; WAS over NYR in 6, PHI over BUF in 5, BOS over MTL in 7, PIT over TB in 6

Round 2: VAN over PHO in 6, NAS over SJ in 6; WAS over PIT in 7, BOS over PHI in 5

Conference Finals: VAN over NAS in 7; BOS over WAS in 6

Stanley Cup Finals: BOS over VAN in 6