The National Hockey League playoffs start Tuesday and you can watch all the action on our seaside Pub’s big screens. Don’t forget to wear your Canucks jersey for 20% off your food bill during all Canucks playoff games.
Here’s a quick rundown on some things to look for in each opening-round series, listed in order of Game 1 start time (all times PT):
#8 MINNESOTA WILD at #1 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, 5:00
Potentially the most lop-sided series in the West, the Blackhawks just have too much skill up front. However, this Chicago team lacks the grit of their Stanley Cup champion team in 2010.
#5 LOS ANGELES KINGS at #4 ST. LOUIS BLUES, 5:00
This should be a long, grueling series going 6 or 7 games. The defending champ Kings have the edge up front; the Blues on defense.
#7 DETROIT RED WINGS at #2 ANAHEIM DUCKS, 7:30
This should be a great series. The Wings are a popular upset pick, as they won two games in Anaheim during the strike-shortened season, and were playing well down the stretch. Detroit does lack brawn and toughness (which the Ducks have), something that has hurt them in the playoffs in the past.
#5 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS at #4 BOSTON BRUINS, 4:00
This old school, Original Six matchup could get nasty and feature the most penalty minutes of any first round series, but can the Bruins weak power play take advantage of their chances?
#8 NEW YORK ISLANDERS at #1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS, 4:30
The Penguins are the heaviest favourites of all the first round series. Marc-Andre Fleury could be a question mark in the Pens net as the playoffs progress, so that’s something to keep an eye on. Isles star John Tavares is seeing his first NHL playoff action.
#6 SAN JOSE SHARKS at #3 VANCOUVER CANUCKS, 7:30 (note: Games 2-5 start at 7:00)
Goaltending is big in any playoff series, but it will be HUGE in this one. The Canucks need Cory Schneider healthy and on top of his game versus Antti Niemi (who is 6-2 in lifetime playoff series). Of the 16 teams in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s mug, only the Bruins and Rangers had a worse power play than the Canucks this season.
#7 OTTAWA SENATORS at #2 MONTREAL CANADIENS, 4:00
With the Habs Carey Price currently struggling, the Senators get the edge in net. This should be a long, close series; expect a lot of 2-1 games (and some overtimes). The birth of a new rivalry?
#6 NEW YORK RANGERS at #3 WASHINGTON CAPITALS, 4:30
8-1-1 in their last ten games, the Caps enter the playoffs as the league’s hottest team, just ahead of Pittsburgh and Chicago. This matchup features Washington’s 3rd-best offense versus New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, one of the top goalies in the world.
Full first round schedule linked here.