Round 1 of the NHL playoffs is always amazing, because there’s so much going on every day, and each game gets more important than the one before it. For the second game, there’s a huge difference between a series tied at 1-1 and one team with a 2-0 lead. Then the next game becomes even bigger, as the difference between 2-1 and 3-0 is monumental. There are multiple games every night, and it’s awesome.
I’m here to say, though, that the best is yet to come. I’ve ranked some of the best potential match-ups we could see, biased off of storylines and entertainment value. Obviously we won’t see them all, but I’m sure we’ll see some of them. Here they are:
The Penguins/Capitals rivalry has been replaced by Penguins/Bruins. Sorry Ovi… it’s not fun anymore if you go 2 years without a win. The Bruins and Penguins have some serious bad blood. There was the Thornton/Orpic incident when ended in a last minute victory for the Bruins. The ending of that game was very close to the March 2013 game where Bruins were up 2-0 with 6 minutes left in the game only to get beat in regulation. Pro tip: Watch these game all the way to the end.
9. Redwings/Blue Jackets
You know what this would mean, right? It would mean that there would be 4 teams who were classified as “West” last year as the last 4 standing. Wrap your head around that for a minute. Sorry, East.
8. Blue Jackets/Avalanche (or Stars)
Teams that have been awful the last few years playing for the Cup would be great for hockey. Gotta love the underdog story.
The top dogs meeting for the Cup doesn’t actually happen very often. It would also be a battle to see which old guy gets a Cup, Iginla or Selanne.
Can you imagine the craziness? Martin St. Louis playing Steven Stamkos. The “Did he make the right choice” narrative would be buzzing, and most of the hockey world would secretly like to see the Lightning get past them just for that “haha” factor.
The hate between these two teams just keeps getting bigger. The Sharks seem to be the team that always gets so close but can never get over the hump, and the Ducks are the team of Destany with Teemu playing is last season.
What more can I say? A classic rival that always produces a good series.
3. Penguins /Flyers
In 2012, The Penguins had one of the biggest emotional meltdowns I’ve ever seen. It was a disgrace to watch them throw hissy fits and worry more about a cheap shot than actually playing hockey. These teams hate each other, and it makes for some great entertainment as long as you’re not a fan of either team. Games tend to be close, rough, and end with goals in the last minute. Goalies choke, stars crumble, and we get to see an entertaining mess.
2. Ducks/Sharks, Bruins/Canadians/ Penguins/Flyers ALL AT ONCE
It can totally happen. I guess Hawks/Aves to go with them would be ok too, right?
1. Blackhawks/ Red Wings
This obviously would be the best SCF match-up of all time. This year would be the best time for it to happen, since they’re still bitter rivals despite the Wings being moved to the East. This HAS to happen while the rivalry is still hot. Ok, Wings probably won’t get out of the first round, but still… if they did… it would be a showdown for the ages. I hate to use the word “epic” but it would be fitting for this situation.
Teams that didn’t get mentioned
Sorry Wild, Kings, and Blues. It’s not like I’d rather study fulfillment services information than watch you play hockey, it’s just that you don’t have the greatest storylines or emotional impact on me. Maybe Kings/Bruins would be kinda cool, cuz they were recent champs or something? Blues… uh… Redwings I suppose. And Wild/Flyers would have the whole Bryzgalov thing, which is nice.
What did I miss or completely forget about? Where was I totally wrong? Did I get anything right at all? Let me know!