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National Hockey League playoffs 2018: First round predictions | Will the Flyers upset the Penguins?

15 April, 2018, 00:57 | Author: John Swanson
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In single game, the tension is palpable, as any sort of mistake or stroke of luck can lead to agony or joy.

Many Flyers fans still talk about staying up extra late to watch the Flyers and Penguins battle in Game 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. Is THIS the Caps' year? And the Lightning, at one time flying around with abandon and looking like the best team in the league, are not at their peak as the playoffs start. The Predators lineup is filled with talent that most teams dream about, consisting of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, and P.K. Subban.

Nashville faces an opponent in the Colorado Avalanche that are similar in a sense to their postseason status in 2017, as they enter as massive underdogs, just like the Predators did against the Chicago Blackhawks. As coaches, sometimes you take it for granted because we've seen it a number of times over the course of a few seasons. Both of these teams were physical all game, with numerous scrums breaking out in front of the net, and the Kings' defense was stout while the Golden Knights' attack was relentless. This year's playoffs might be one of the most surprising ones yet as there are multiple teams that made the playoffs where no one expected them too.

While the Lightning did have the best record in the Eastern Conference, they finished slow.

The Penguins were very good on offense during the regular season as they ranked 3rd in the league in scoring at 3.29 gpg, while also ranking 1st in shots taken (34.4 spg) and 1st in power play conversions, converting on 26.2% of their chances. The two first-round foes never met in the National Hockey League playoffs when Minnesota had the North Stars (now in Dallas) or Winnipeg had the original Jets (now in Arizona). Expect the Jets to fly right by. "So for us it's focus in on that first period and we'll go from there". That concludes a run for the expansion-year Knights that includes a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in the first round and a 4-3 quarterfinal victory over the San Jose Sharks, whom the simulation says prevail 4-2 over Anaheim.

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Specifically, in the seventh game, the Jets take a 3-1 lead on Boston with a power play goal from Conn Smythe victor Patrik Laine. Those of you who remember what channel CNBC is on DirecTV are invited to email me that information. Well, at least the finish was overwhelming, and it was thrilling from a Boston point of view while it was brutal from Toronto's perspective.

That Penguins team looked nothing like the Penguins juggernaut which showed up for Game 1, Round 1 on Wednesday night.

All-Star Game - By the third period, this looked more like an All-Star Game than a playoff game. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are lead by a three-headed monster of youth.

10 - Postseason shutouts by Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in his career.

The Flyers and the two-time defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins were separated by just two points in the regular season. "When it's us or it's them, that's how you find those rivalries".

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Lots of optimistic Golden Knights fans bet on the team to win the Stanley Cup before the season started, when odds were about 200-1.

The Devils have nearly the same problem as the Blue Jackets, depth scoring.

From the Metropolitan Division we have our usual players, as the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are likely set up for yet another second round matchup. Philadelphia hasn't won a playoff series since it beat the favored Penguins in six sometimes chaotic games in 2012.

A dozen Penguins have scored, with Zach Aston-Reese and Riley Sheahan the only forwards not to score against the Flyers. Sean Couturier (76 points), and Jakub Voracek (85) also had career years, while the top defensive pairing of Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere combined for 106 points. Rust is one of Pittsburgh's depth players who contributes constantly.

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