Playoff hockey is arguably the most entertaining post season that pro sports has to offer.
Players fight through injuries that would normally leave them sidelined for weeks, refs are more lenient with penalties, and the fans are there to create an atmosphere unlike any other.
The best of seven series format allows lower ranked teams the opportunity to push the best to the very edge of elimination.
All for a trophy that the winning team never gets to keep.
Despite all this, the first week of the NHL playoffs has seen its fair share of blowouts this year.
Six of the eight series in the first round currently feature a team with no wins. One team, the Los Angeles Kings, faces elimination in their next game. The Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals are the remaining teams that have yet to acquire a win.
Washinton has managed to lose both games in the final period after holding a strong lead from the very beginning of the game. On paper, the series looks like a blowout, but the last-minute comebacks by the Columbus Blue Jackets have been extremely entertaining to see unfold.
Anaheim, New Jersey, and Toronto have all been busts. In their defense, they are all versing extremely talented teams in the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins respectively.
As all of the series shift to the losing team’s home arenas momentum will shift into their favor but it might not be enough to crawl out of the hole that they have all dug themselves into.
The series scores have not been the only form a blowout though. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers have renewed their rivalry in the first round. Pittsburgh currently leads the series 2-1 but every game has been high scoring. Game one ended with a final score of 7-0 in favor of Pittsburgh, game two was 5-1 in favor of Philadelphia, and game three was 5-1 in favor of Pittsburgh.
The Winnipeg Jets are leading the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in a hard-hitting matchup. Despite being one of two close series in terms of standings, the games haven’t been very entertaining.
Even with the amount of blow outs, the teams that were expected to win have been winning. I wasn’t expecting to see as many series sweeps like we could potentially be seeing.
The second round should have the Nashville Predators facing off against Winnipeg and San Jose facing the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference. The Eastern Conference should be Tampa Bay against Boston and Pittsburgh against Columbus.
Depending on how long the different series go the second round could begin as early as midway through the week of April 22.