The NHL playoffs are already underway, which means in ice rinks across North America burly hockey players will be one step closer or farther from their childhood dreams of the Stanley Cup. The playoffs always bring an upheave of drama and storylines to the surface, and this season is no exception. Here are some stories that will be up
The Washington Capitals going for a repeat
As difficult as this feat is, their rival team, the Pittsburgh Penguins accomplished this just two years prior. The Capitals haven’t hit the breaks since their Stanley Cup win last season. Alex Ovechkin won the Rocket Richard Trophy this year with 51 goals, making it the eight time this superman on ice has had a 50+ goal season. The Capitals finished the regular season first in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 48-2-8. There doesn’t seem to be a “cap” for this team, and it’s always entertaining to watch the triple threat of Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana take on the post-season.
The Capitals play Game 1 vs the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Moneyline: Capitals +120 Hurricanes -140
Puckline: Capitals +1 (-263) Hurricanes -1 (+300)
- Is a second time the charm for the Toronto Maple Leafs vs the Boston Bruins?
The Leafs and Bruins meet again in the Eastern Conference first round. The Bruins defeated the Leafs in seven games last season after Toronto came back from a 2-0 and 3-1 deficit in the series. The Bruins also won three of the four games in regular season play against the Leafs, and seem to be Toronto’s never-ending kryptonite over the past decade, also sending the Leafs home in the first round in 2013. However, this year’s playoff matchup sings a different song for the Leafs. With the addition of John Tavares on the roster, Leafs fans have high hopes that this will finally be the year the Leafs make a run for the cup.
Tavares had a career-high in goals (47) and points (88). He’s played for the Islanders three times out of his nine seasons with his past team, with 11 goals and 11 assists in 24 games. Tavares coming to Toronto means he’s playing with the pride of his hometown team on his back, and along with a stacked roster of Austin Matthews and Mitch Marner and seasoned coach Michael Babcock, Leafs fans finally have hope that this post-season will be their best playoff run in recent history.
The Toronto Maple Leafs play Game 1 vs the Boston Bruins on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Moneyline: Leafs +125 Boston -145
Puckline: Leafs -1 (+295) Boston +1 (-263)
The Comeback Country
Canadian tams have been cursed from winning the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens took the Cup home in 1993. This year has three Canadian teams in the playoffs to hopefully end the country’s 25-year drought: The Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames. Only five Canadian teams have gotten to the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1993, with the Vancouver Canucks being the most recent when they lost to the Boston Bruins. The loss caused a panic in the city, starting riots throughout the usually peaceful city that followed the final game of the series.
As hockey is beloved as “Canada’s game,” it’s only a matter of time until the Cup is back home. Having three of the seven Canadian teams in the playoffs gives the country one of their best chances to win it all again. However, only time will tell if this curse is yet to be broken, the only thing for certain is that all of Canada will be watching, with hearts full of hope and a twinkle in their eyes.